From the Mailbag
On Jews And Immigration, Here's What Gives
Answering my question about Jews and immigrants, reader Ira Mehlman argues the central point may be brutally simple: "current mass immigration policies are harming the interests of American Jews."
At least over the past several decades, Jews in the United States have experienced a phenomenon that is unique in the history of the Diaspora: We have lived in a society that, on balance, can be described as philo-Semitic. Mass immigration is introducing large numbers of new people to American society who hold far less favorable opinions of Jews. As Raphael Magarik notes in his follow-up blog, Hispanics, the largest immigrant group in the U.S., are far less inclined to support Israel than the American population generally.
That antipathy is not limited to Israel. A 2011 survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League reported that “42 percent of foreign-born Hispanics hold anti-Semitic views.” For the ADL that seems to be a problem to be solved through outreach efforts. What the Workmen’s Circle poll suggests is that for a growing number of American Jews, it seems like a problem they’d rather just avoid.
Magarik speculates that the support of the mainstream Jewish organizations for large-scale immigration is a way for them to burnish their “progressive” credentials at a time when Jews are feeling less welcome in progressive circles. The diminishing support among American Jews for mass immigration indicates that there are things they value more than feeling welcome in the shrinking progressive tent.