From the Editor
What Gives on American Jews and Immigration?
The Workmen’s Circle has just a released a new poll about the Jewish vote. A couple of tidbits: American Jews are more hostile to Palestinian leaders than they are supportive of Israeli ones. A whopping 78 percent of American Jews think the Palestinians “seek Israel’s destruction.” (A lousy way to phrase thequestion since it conflates turning Israeli into a secular binational state with driving the Jews into the sea). But by a margin of 45 to 22 percent, American Jews also believe that “the Israeli government wants to prevent the emergence of a Palestinian state,” which is to say, they believe that Benjamin Netanyahu is lying. By a margin of 40 to 22 percent, American Jews also want Israel to freeze settlement growth. (Many yids can’t make up their mind). In other words, most American Jews fall somewhere between AIPAC and J Street, a finding that’s consistent with other polling.In other news we already knew, American Jews are wildly liberal when it comes to sex. They overwhelmingly support gay marriage and abortion rights. They’re a lot less enthusiastic about immigration. A slight plurality opposes “the U.S. government making it possible for illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens.” On immigration, in fact, American Jews are slightly to the American Jewish leadership’s right. I think Steven M. Cohen, who conducted the poll with Samuel Abrams, has noticed this waning Jewish support for immigration before. It’s intriguing, and depressing, given that many Jews still valorize their Ellis Island roots.Not quite sure what explains this. I’d suspect that anti-immigrant sentiment is highest near the border and among the Anglo working class, since such populations most often compete with immigrants for services and jobs. But Jews aren’t well represented in either cohort. If you can crack the mystery of Jewish nativism, email us at [email protected], and we’ll post your answer.