From Ch. 7 (“Jewish Involvement in Shaping US Immigration Policy”) of Kevin MacDonald’s The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements.
It should be noted as a general point that the effectiveness of Jewish organizations in influencing U.S. immigration policy has been facilitated by certain characteristics of American Jewry that are directly linked with Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy, and particularly an IQ that is at least one standard deviation above the Caucasian mean (PTSDA, Ch. 7). High IQ is associated with success in a broad range of activities in contemporary societies, including especially wealth and social status (Herrnstein & Murray 1994). As Neuringer (1971, 87) notes, Jewish influence on immigration policy was facilitated by Jewish wealth, education, and social status. Reflecting its general disproportionate representation in markers of economic success and political influence, Jewish organizations have been able to have a vastly disproportionate effect on U.S. immigration policy because Jews as a group are highly organized, highly intelligent and politically astute, and they were able to command a high level of financial, political, and intellectual resources in pursuing their political aims. Similarly, Hollinger (1996, 19) notes that Jews were more influential in the decline of a homogeneous Protestant Christian culture in the United States than Catholics because of their greater wealth, social standing, and technical skill in the intellectual arena. In the area of immigration policy, the main Jewish activist organization influencing immigration policy, the AJCommittee, was characterized by “strong leadership [particularly Louis Marshall], internal cohesion, well-funded programs, sophisticated lobbying techniques, well-chosen non-Jewish allies, and good timing” (Goldstein 1990, 333). Goldberg (1996, 38–39) notes that presently there are approximately 300 national Jewish organizations in the United States with a combined budget estimated in the range of $6 billion—a sum, Goldberg notes, greater than the gross national product of half the members of the United Nations.
…Although playing virtually no role in the restrictionist position in the congressional debates on immigration (which focused mainly on the fairness of maintaining the ethnic status quo; see below), a component of the intellectual zeitgeist of the 1920s was the prevalence of evolutionary theories of race and ethnicity (Singerman 1986), particularly the theories of Madison Grant. In The Passing of the Great Race Grant (1921) argued that the American colonial stock was derived from superior Nordic racial elements and that immigration of other races would lower the competence level of the society as a whole as well as threaten democratic and republican institutions. Grant’s ideas were popularized in the media at the time of the immigration debates (see Divine 1957, 12ff) and often provoked negative comments in Jewish publications such as The American Hebrew (e.g., March 21, 1924, 554, 625).
Grant’s letter to the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization emphasized the principle argument of the restrictionists, that is, that the use of the 1890 census of the foreign born as the basis of the immigration law was fair to all ethnic groups currently in the country, and that the use of the 1910 census discriminated against the “native Americans whose ancestors were in this country before its independence.” He also argued in favor of quotas from Western Hemisphere nations because these countries “in some cases furnish very undesirable immigrants. The Mexicans who come into the United States are overwhelmingly of Indian blood, and the recent intelligence tests have shown their very low intellectual status. We have already got too many of them in our Southwestern States, and a check should be put on their increase.” Grant was also concerned about the unassimilability of recent immigrants. He included with his letter a Chicago Tribune editorial commenting on a situation in Hamtramck, Michigan, in which recent immigrants were described as demanding “Polish rule,” the expulsion of non-Poles, and use of only the Polish language by federal officials. Grant also argued that differences in reproductive rate would result in displacement of groups that delayed marriage and had fewer children—a comment that reflects ethnic differences in life history strategy (Rushton 1995) and clearly indicating a concern that as a result of immigration his ethnic group would be displaced by ethnic groups with a higher rate of natural increase.
In Chapter 2 I showed that Stephen Jay Gould and Leon Kamin have presented a highly exaggerated and largely false account of the role of the IQ debates of the 1920s in passing immigration restriction legislation. It is also very easy to overemphasize the importance of theories of Nordic superiority as an ingredient of popular and congressional restrictionist sentiment. As Singerman (1986, 118–119) points out, “racial anti-Semitism” was employed by only “a handful of writers;” and “the Jewish ‘problem’ . . . was a minor preoccupation even among such widely-published authors as Madison Grant or T. Lothrop Stoddard and none of the individuals examined [in Singerman’s review] could be regarded as professional Jew-baiters or full-time propagandists against Jews, domestic or foreign.” As indicated below, arguments related to Nordic superiority, including supposed Nordic intellectual superiority, played remarkably little role in Congressional debates over immigration in the 1920s, the common argument of the restrictionists being that immigration policy should reflect equally the interests of all ethnic groups currently in the country. There is even evidence that the Nordic superiority argument had little favor with the public: A member of the Immigration Restriction League stated in 1924 that “the country is somewhat fed up on high brow Nordic superiority stuff ” (in Samelson 1979, 136).
Nevertheless, it is probable that the decline in evolutionary and biological theories of race and ethnicity facilitated the sea change in immigration policy brought about by the 1965 law. As Higham (1984) notes, by the time of the final victory in 1965, which removed national origins and racial ancestry from immigration policy and opened up immigration to all human groups, the Boasian perspective of cultural determinism and anti-biologism had become standard academic wisdom. The result was that “it became intellectually fashionable to discount the very existence of persistent ethnic differences. The whole reaction deprived popular race feelings of a powerful ideological weapon” (Higham 1984, 58–59).
Jewish intellectuals were prominently involved in the movement to eradicate the racialist ideas of Grant and others (Degler 1991, 200). Indeed, even during the earlier debates leading up to the immigration bills of 1921 and 1924, restrictionists perceived themselves to be under attack from Jewish intellectuals. In 1918 Prescott F. Hall, secretary of the Immigration Restriction League, wrote to Grant, “What I wanted . . . was the names of a few anthropologists of note who have declared in favor of the inequality of the races. . . . I am up against the Jews all the time in the equality argument and thought perhaps you might be able offhand to name a few (besides [Henry Fairfield] Osborn) whom I could quote in support” (in Samelson 1975, 467).
Grant also believed that Jews were engaged in a campaign to discredit racial research. In the introduction to the 1921 edition of The Passing of the Great Race, Grant complained that “it is well-nigh impossible to publish in the American newspapers any reflection upon certain religions or races which are hysterically sensitive even when mentioned by name. The underlying idea seems to be that if publication can be suppressed the facts themselves will ultimately disappear. Abroad, conditions are fully as bad, and we have the authority of one of the most eminent anthropologists in France that the collection of anthropological measurements and data among French recruits at the outbreak of the Great War was prevented by Jewish influence, which aimed to suppress any suggestion of racial differentiation in France” (pp. xxxii–xxxiii).