After genuflecting before Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Mexico), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), spoke at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights in Queens, New York on Saturday.
“Luis [Gutierrez],” Cantor said, “the leadership you’re providing through thick and thin right now as we try and navigate these very tough political times in choppy waters. My hat is off to you. I’m very grateful.”
Cantor compared the current immigration debate in the United States to the experience Jews have had for thousands of years.
“When I say ‘our people’ I mean our people do. And it is also testament to what the country is testament to but the way I look at it, as an American Jew, and it is different. And I say that, because first of all, as a people for thousands and thousands of years didn’t belong anywhere. We didn’t have a homeland. A couple of thousands of years exiled from the land of the Israel,” Cantor said.
Cantor went further saying, “I imagine somewhere in the DNA it works on you and develops a sense of longing and so when you look at the history of this country–this country was the first country to do what Luis Gutierrez said yesterday when he said this country was always there with a helping hand. This country, and first by President George Washington, took a stand to say the Jews will be welcomed–will be welcomed as citizens–full citizens, equal citizens–of this country.”
After reading Kevin MacDonald’s The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements, I believe an honest appraisal of the immigration mess we find ourselves in today — particularly the events that led up to the 1965 Immigration Act — cannot be accomplishd without accounting for the dynamics of MacDonald’s thesis, particularly the evidence he puts together in “Jewish Involvement in Shaping US Immigration Policy” (Ch. 7 of the book which is available for free here.) Some extended quotes from this chapter of MacDonald’s book:
Immigration policy is a paradigmatic example of conflicts of interest between ethnic groups because immigration policy determines the future demographic composition of the nation. Ethnic groups unable to influence immigration policy in their own interests will eventually be displaced by groups able to accomplish this goal. Immigration policy is thus of fundamental interest to an evolutionist…
The Jewish involvement in influencing immigration policy in the United States is especially noteworthy as an aspect of ethnic conflict. Jewish involvement in influencing immigration policy has had certain unique qualities that have distinguished Jewish interests from the interests of other groups favoring liberal immigration policies. Throughout much of the period from 1881 to 1965, one Jewish interest in liberal immigration policies stemmed from a desire to provide a sanctuary for Jews fleeing from anti-Semitic persecutions in Europe and elsewhere. Anti-Semitic persecutions have been a recurrent phenomenon in the modern world beginning with the Russian pogroms of 1881 and continuing into the post–World War II era in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. As a result, liberal immigration has been a Jewish interest because “survival often dictated that Jews seek refuge in other lands” (Cohen 1972, 341). For a similar reason, Jews have consistently advocated an internationalist foreign policy because “an internationally-minded America was likely to be more sensitive to the problems of foreign Jewries” (p. 342).
There is also evidence that Jews, much more than any other European-derived ethnic group in the United States, have viewed liberal immigration policies as a mechanism of ensuring that the United States would be a pluralistic rather than a unitary, homogeneous society (e.g., Cohen 1972). Pluralism serves both internal (within-group) and external (between-group) Jewish interests. Pluralism serves internal Jewish interests because it legitimates the internal Jewish interest in rationalizing and openly advocating an interest in overt rather than semi-cryptic Jewish group commitment and nonassimilation, what Howard Sachar (1992, 427) terms its function in “legitimizing the preservation of a minority culture in the midst of a majority’s host society.” Both Neusner (1993) and Ellman (1987) suggest that the increased sense of ethnic consciousness seen in Jewish circles recently has been influenced by this general movement within American society toward the legitimization of cultural pluralism and minority group ethnocentrism. This trend toward overt rather than the semi-cryptic forms that have characterized Judaism in twenti-eth-century Western societies is viewed by many as critical to the continuity of Judaism (e.g., Abrams 1997; Dershowitz 1997; see SAID, Ch. 8).
Ethnic and religious pluralism also serves external Jewish interests because Jews become just one of many ethnic groups. This results in the diffusion of political and cultural influence among the various ethnic and religious groups, and it becomes difficult or impossible to develop unified, cohesive groups of gentiles united in their opposition to Judaism. Historically, major anti-Semitic movements have tended to erupt in societies that have been, apart from the Jews, religiously or ethnically homogeneous (see SAID). Conversely, one reason for the relative lack of anti-Semitism in the United States compared to Europe was that “Jews did not stand out as a solitary group of [religious] non-conformists” (Higham 1984, 156). Although ethnic and cultural pluralism are certainly not guaranteed to satisfy Jewish interests (see Ch. 8), it is nonetheless the case that ethnically and religiously pluralistic societies have been perceived by Jews as more likely to satisfy Jewish interests than are societies characterized by ethnic and religious homogeneity among gentiles…
Indeed, at a basic level, the motivation for all the Jewish political and intellectual activity reviewed throughout this volume is intimately linked to fears of anti-Semitism. Svonkin (1997, 8ff) shows that a sense of “uneasiness” and insecurity pervaded American Jewry in the wake of World War II even in the face of evidence that anti-Semitism had declined to the point that it had become a marginal phenomenon. As a direct result, “The primary objective of the Jewish intergroup relations agencies [i.e., the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the ADL] after 1945 was . . . to prevent the emergence of an anti-Semitic reactionary mass movement in the United States” (Svonkin 1997, 8).
Writing in the 1970s, Isaacs (1974, 14ff) describes the pervasive insecurity of American Jews and their hypersensitivity to anything that might be deemed anti-Semitic. Interviewing “noted public men” on the subject of anti-Semitism in the early 1970s, Isaacs asked, “Do you think it could happen here?” “Never was it necessary to define ‘it.’ In almost every case, the reply was approxi-mately the same: ‘If you know history at all, you have to presume not that it could happen, but that it probably will,’ or ‘It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when’ ” (p. 15). Isaacs, correctly in my view, attributes the intensity of Jewish involvement in politics to this fear of anti-Semitism. Jewish activism on immigration is merely one strand of a multipronged movement directed at preventing the development of a mass movement of anti-Semitism in Western societies.
P. 245, where the immigration stances of jewish neoconservatives (e.g., the likes of Eric Cantor) is discussed:
Because liberal immigration policies are a vital Jewish interest, it is not surprising that support for liberal immigration policies spans the Jewish political spectrum. We have seen that Sidney Hook, who along with the other New York Intellectuals may be viewed as an intellectual precursor of neoconservatism, identified democracy with the equality of differences and with the maximization of cultural diversity (see Ch. 6). Neoconservatives have been strong advocates of liberal immigration policies, and there has been a conflict between predominantly Jewish neoconservatives and predominantly gentile paleoconservatives over the issue of Third World immigration into the United States. Neoconservatives Norman Podhoretz and Richard John Neuhaus reacted very negatively to an article by a paleo-Conservative concerned that such immigration would eventually lead to the United States being dominated by such immigrants (see Judis 1990, 33). Other examples are neoconservatives Julian Simon (1990) and Ben Wattenberg (1991) both of whom advocate very high levels of immigration from all parts of the world, so that the United States will become what Wattenberg describes as the world’s first “Universal Nation.” Based on recent data, Fetzer (1996) reports that Jews remain far more favorable to immigration to the United States than any other ethnic group or religion.