Skip to comments.No Debate Please, We're Jewish; The Dangers of the Immigration Blacklist
Posted on 04/07/2009 12:54:51 AM PDT by rmlew
Not long ago, I was leading my normal life as a policy analyst for a Washington think tank. I was writing an op-ed I hoped this paper might publish opposing Progress by Pesach, a campaign by Jewish organizations promoting amnesty for illegal immigrants and ending worksite immigration enforcement. I argued that legalizing millions of illegal aliens is to be complicit in overthrowing the rule of law, and increasing immigration at a time when the economy is hemorrhaging jobs displays callous disregard for the most vulnerable among us.
But Ive set that aside. The issue pales in comparison to another: A stealth campaign to blacklist dissenters from the goals of Progress by Pesach, starting with my think tank, the Center for Immigration Studies, and me personally. The objective is to silence independent thinkers in the American Jewish community who are trying to promote honest debate over our nations immigration policy.
The embodiments of this McCarthyite effort are Gideon Aronoff, President of HIAS, and attack-dog research from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The first shot in the Jewish community was a secret note from HIAS to the editors of Jewish newspapers starting off with This note is not for publication in bold letters and warning them against publishing anything opposing the Progress by Pesach campaign. An attempt to kill the First Amendment, the murder weapon, appropriately enough, was fitted with a silencer. Several editors naturally committed to free speech and robust debate were so appalled they alerted me to the message.
Another note, signed by Aronoff himself, embroiders the screed, employing language betraying a conspiratorial mentality. He describes my speeches as efforts to penetrate the Jewish community. This mindset underlies Aronoffs belief in his own press releases, which irrationally allege that my group, CIS, along with two other miniscule organizations, stopped comprehensive immigration reform in June of 2007. That bill lost because it was hugely unpopular with the American people, and thus with senators facing re-election in 2008. Yet Aronoff sees a Protocols of the Elders of Zion-like conspiracy.
The poison e-mails were apparently also sent to Jewish organizations, because shortly after the blacklist effort was launched, a New Jersey chapter of Hadassah cancelled my scheduled talk, and my requests for an explanation were met with embarrassed reticence by my hosts. Finally, they confessed they were ordered to cancel by the Legal Department at Hadassahs National Office. Lest you think this paranoid, understand that I have spoken to dozens of Hadassah chapters across America and at synagogues, Jewish Community Centers, at local chapters of other Jewish organizations, and elsewhere in the community where my message is enthusiastically received. In fact, that enthusiastic reception is undoubtedly the source of the problem.
The charges against CIS and me are politically motivated lies. HIAS recycles the SPLCs claim that a retired doctor from northern Michigan, described as a white supremacist, founded and funds CIS. Both assertions are false. This individual has never played any role in CIS, officially or unofficially. End of story.
The allegation that CIS is white supremacist is obscene, preposterous, false. Peruse the hundreds of publications on CISs website www.cis.org none contains an iota of racism. CISs board is headed by Peter Nunez, a former U.S. Attorney, and includes the president of the Greater Miami Urban League and the former head of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
Aronoff and SPLC cant play anything straight. The quote their research attributes to me is a misquote twisted out of context. Im supposed to have said, Immigration threatens the American people and Western Civilization. In fact, I was speaking of the Islamization of Western Europe and, potentially, America. The actual comment addresses Muslim immigration in an age of Jihadism, not immigration per se.
The absurdity of the lies lubricating this blacklist campaign is especially apparent considering my own background. After more than 20 years as a professor of English and Victorian Studies, I embarked on a second career in public policy. I was Director of Education at the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, the first-ever Jewish Vice President at the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the National Affairs Director at the American Jewish Committee, then Executive Director of the American Anti-Slavery Group, and finally at CIS.
Im not a fearful person, but whats happening is frightening not for me personally, because Ill be fine either way, but for our community. The question before us is not about which immigration policies we should support. Rather, this: Will the Jewish community be an open forum for competing ideas, or will we surrender to a new McCarthyism? If this blacklist campaign succeeds, we will have permitted cynical opportunists to destroy the intellectual integrity and vibrancy of debate within our community. We will have succumbed to lies and debased ourselves. It is a categorical imperative to defeat it.
# # #
Dr. Stephen Steinlight Senior Policy Analyst Center for Immigration Studies 1522 K Street, N.W., Suite 820 Washington, DC 20005-1202
Dear editor This note is not for publication. In the next few days, you may receive an op-ed piece staking a position against Progress by Pesach, a campaign launched recently by a large coalition of national and local Jewish groups who favor comprehensive immigration reform. If this op-ed comes from an author who works either at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) or the Center for Immigration Studies, it is important for you to know the origin of these groupsthey were founded and are funded by an individual in Michigan who is a white nationalist and foments nativist groups. Attached is a press release that HIAS distributed several weeks ago and pasted below is a link to the Southern Poverty Law Centers press release on three anti-immigration groups, including FAIR and CIS. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.http://www.jewcy.com/post/post_not_publication
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It's amazing how often leftist organizations in general go under deceptive names to fool people into supporting them financially and politically.
I don't know much about what they do today, but your first thought was correct, they date to the late 19th century wave of Jewish immigration. Needless to say there's no pressing need to assimilate Jewish immigrants today, so they've probably found something else to justify their existance, but they've been around for a while. If you make horseshoes or buggy whips, you go out of business when you're no longer viable, if you're a social organization you simply redefine yourself.
I have been against idiotic immigration policies since 1992 when I worked for Pat Buchanan. And I’m Jewish.
HIAS helped families I know emigrate to the US after WW II. These were good people. I don’t know what HIAS is up to now.
The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society is indeed over 100 years old, founded in an era where they did important and necessary work in helping Jewish immigrants migrate from Europe to the US and get assimilated to their new land. They were active as well when an acute need arose for European Jews during the Nazi era and then post WWII. They continued along that path for Soviet and other Eastern European Jewish immigrants to the US and Israel in the last few decades of the 20th century.
But now, undoubtedly because the need for their services for Jewish immigrants has waned, they need something else to do. So they have internationalized their reach to offer aid to all immigrants and refugees, apparently including illegals in the US, where they rail against law enforcement action and instead boast about promoting their idea of "immigration reform," which appears to be nothing short of amnesty.
What's behind their program, in their perverse logic, is that they are applying "Jewish values" to the American immigration problem. And they are using occurence of the upcoming festival of Passover to exploit their push for what appears to be something possibly even more accomidating to illegals than the defeated McCain-led immigration bill of 2007 entailed. How does Passover and "Jewish values" come into play here? Believe it or not, they analogize the "oppressive" US government today to Egypt under the Pharoahs and the illigal aliens in the US to the enslaved Jews of ancient Egypt - strangers in a new land! Never mind that the Jews of ancient Egypt were sold into slavery there and today's illegal aliens in the US willfully come into the US against our laws. Or that the Jews of Egypt had no employment opportunities other than serve the regime. But this is how devoid of reasoning the Jewish Left and those that run some of these organizations nowadays are.
As we have indicated in the posts below, this HIAS is a social organization whose days of usefulness as a Jewish organization have pretty much passed - at least for now. So they have nothing more helpful to do than join their buddies on the left in taking up the cause for shamnesty for illegal aliens in the US. And when Steinlight was perceived as a threat, they went ballistic against him.
What in the world does the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society have to do with non-Jewish immigration???
The Southern Poverty Law Center has no more credibility than the KKK, the American Communist Party, or the Mafia. The co-founder of the SPLC, Morris Dees, is a shyster and a scoundrel. The SPLC is currently in cahoots with the National Council of La Raza to undermine our immigration laws and to push for amnesty for illegal aliens. Any group or organization that dares speak out against illegal immigration gets placed on the SPLC’s infamous “hate groups” list.
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