High Noon to Midnight
Does Current Immigration Policy
Doom American Jewry?

Dr. Stephen M. Steinlight

(extended version)

Click here for Backgrounder version


Among the articles of faith in the slowly waning culture of secular liberalism that have passed for and often served as a substitute, ersatz religion for many mainstream American Jews, the most vulnerable tenet at present is belief in “generous legal immigration,” the euphemism for open-borders immigration in the policy lexicon of the national American-Jewish public affairs agencies. This is not to accuse them of out-and-out double-talk and hypocrisy so much as engaging in intellectual and moral trimming, followed by self-deception and denial. Having repeatedly failed to persuade the National Immigration Forum, to which virtually all belong, to distinguish between legal and illegal immigration, they took the path of least resistance and chose to remain in any case, made their peace, lowered their eyes, and convinced themselves they could get away with blurring the distinction between illusion and reality.

That they continue to pay lip-service to a bogus totem and equivocate about an issue of enormous importance is not only deplorable as a matter of principle, it is also increasingly untenable as a matter of policy: it puts them fundamentally at odds with their own long-term institutional values and interests, undermines the position of the American-Jewish community, and, what’s more, greater and greater numbers of American Jews from the leadership on down see the sophistry for the transparent charade it is. Survey research, plus a weight of anecdotal evidence, reveals a significant change in attitudes among American Jews at the grassroots level, with a plurality in public opinion polls taken in the two years following 9/11 favoring lowered immigration and some 70 percent the introduction of a secure national identity card.

While the same survey conducted in the last year by Market Facts Inc. – the findings were released many months ago – indicate some slippage backwards towards traditional opinion (old habits die hard and the impact of 9/11 may already have started to lessen), with 15 percent favoring increased immigration, 43 percent believing it should remain the same, and 41 percent wanting it lowered, the same survey revealed that some 55 percent believe that Muslims are the most anti-Semitic group in the United States.

Given a barrage of media attention to Islamic anti-Semitism over the past two years this is an extraordinarily low statistic, and a finding is worth pausing over. It is only explicable in light of the Jewish obsession with appearing tolerant towards groups perceived as “Other” by the dominant culture, especially non-whites and non-Christians. Many are loath to see Muslims as antagonists, despite evidence of pervasive virulent Islamic anti-Semitism. Had the same question been asked of virtually any other group in America regarding which population most hates Jews, far higher percentages surely would have identified Muslims. One hopes it will not require another act of major domestic terrorism to cause the same respondents to draw the appropriate cause-and-effect connections; bolder, more concerted efforts of the ground, including advertising in the Jewish and secular press, can accomplish this end, as would the founding of an entity specifically devoted to awaking America’s Jews to the danger.

My experience on the ground in congregations across America shows that very few Jews possess anything remotely resembling knowledge and understanding of the history of Jewish immigration itself, immigration policy, including the scale of current immigration or the engines that drive it, and frequently all that is required to effect enormous changes in attitude is to apprise them of data that is indisputable. Simple facts can prove transformative.

When I began my efforts at the grassroots level, the Jewish media spoke of attitudes within the American-Jewish community as “monolithic” in support of open-borders immigration. Now it is commonplace to describe the situation as one in which “a raging debate is going on” (I quote the Forward). If so much could have been accomplished principally by one individual with occasional support by others, it is clear what an ambitious, concerted effort might achieve. Opinion regarding this issue is volatile, based on little other than nostalgia, and up for grabs. One can not undo the sentimental attachments of decades or belief in powerful mythologies at one stroke; but they can be shaken and unhinged by concerted, continuing effort, and significant enough numbers can be detached from this loyalty to make a political difference. Perhaps most important, among the community’s organizational leadership enthusiasm for this dangerous anachronism is a mile wide and an inch deep.

It should be noted for the historical record that my doubts about open borders had their origins in the powerful misgivings about it expressed by my beloved mentor at the American Jewish Committee (AJC), Sam Rabinove of blessed memory, AJC’s Legal Director of many years and one of the giants in the court struggles of the Civil Rights era (his amicus in Bakke was one of the most widely-cited in the Justices’ decisions), as well as the conscience of that agency, not to mention one of the most respected figures working in Jewish organizational life in the 20th century. In those days a dyed-in-the-wool left/liberal, I was taken by surprise by Sam’s repeated expressions of anguish and disgust over the intellectual dishonesty of Jewish organizations’ remaining in the National Immigration Forum, knowing what they all know about that organization’s naked identity politics, its contempt for the rule of law, and its visceral anti-Americanism. On one memorable occasion as we left a meeting of the National Immigration Forum, Sam turned to me with and said, “What on earth are we doing here?”

Among Jewish leadership, the inevitable collision between allegiance to received opinion and the recognition of hard urgent new realities had begun, if sotto voce, before 9/11, but that tremendum greatly accelerated the process by revealing in the most terrible way the nexus between the anarchy that has passed for immigration policy and immigration law enforcement and the savage assault on the innocent lives and national security of the American people. Much has occurred in its wake to drive the point home about the dangers Jews and all Americans face. In the wake of 9/11 came the war against Islamist terror that began in earnest in Afghanistan and continued with the toppling of the regime of Saddam Hussein and the ongoing struggle in that fractious “country” at nation-building. All the while, major news story after news story has covered the radical upsurge of anti-Semitism in the Muslim world (President Mahathir Muhammad’s speech at the Islamic summit, one that might have been ghost-written by Joseph Goebbels or even, as Omer Bartov has pointed out, Adolph Hitler himself, left a searing impression (as did the standing ovation it received from 57 leaders of Muslim states, in addition to President Putin), as have the crazed maunderings of Osama bin Laden and countless fanatical mullahs about Jews and Crusaders. Significant attention in both the secular and Jewish press has highlighted the extraordinary hostility to Jews and Israel within the leadership and citizenry of the European Union, and there has been almost continuous treatment of the emergence of the “New Anti-Semitism.” Given all this – plus the hatred of Jews manifested in such individual cases as the brutal and richly symbolic murders of Daniel Peal and Nick Berg; or in the terrorists attacks aimed at the residual Jewish presence in the Islamic patrimony such as the bombings of synagogues in Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey; the multiple ongoing investigations into the connections of American Islamic “charities,” national organizations and leaders (including some that Jews obsessed with dialogue briefly helped legitimate) to Jihadist anti-Semitic and anti-Israel terrorist groups – it has become very difficult to remain simultaneously credible and in a state of total denial.

“Facts are such horrid things,” says Lady Susan at the close of the epistolary novel that bears her name, Jane Austen’s first published fiction. Or, to borrow Milton Himmelfarb’s famous formulation about the origins of neo-conservatism, the American-Jewish community has been “mugged by reality.” In the contest between adhesion to a sentimental archaism and existential horror, only those willing to be perceived as purblind or suicidal do not eventually adjust to facts.

Thus, behind closed doors, Jewish leaders speak a very different language than in public. This is not entirely new with regard to immigration policy, but the disconnection between appearance and reality is much sharper now; it constitutes a veritable chasm. In private, they express grave concern that current immigration policy will prove politically and existentially ruinous to the American-Jewish community, as it has for the Jews of France and will inevitably for the Jews of Britain, indeed, throughout Western Europe. There is particular fear about the impact on Jewish life and security, as well as American support for Israel, of the rapid growth of the Muslim community in the United States, fueled almost entirely by current immigration policy (conversion to Islam plays a role as well, but as a cause of concern it is a distant second – except where shifting terrorist tactics are concerned.)

At the conclusion of many meetings with Jewish national leaders most have told me, several using the identical formulation, “You are 1000 percent right, but I can’t go out and say it yet.” While they have not yet found the civic courage to break with the traditional consensus – an act they know will jeopardize what remains of the unity of the old liberal coalition, create tensions with the Latino groups they are assiduously courting, as well as set them at odds with much of their rank and file, including some of their strongest supporters and biggest donors – they can see the Rubicon glinting in the distance, and many recognize that eventually they will have to cross it.

My personal experience of more than two years’ speaking on behalf of immigration reform as a Fellow of the Center for Immigration Studies, to overwhelmingly sympathetic, often packed audiences at dozens of congregations across the country – yes, with occasional, strong, even vitriolic dissent, including some from big shots and fat cats (I have, albeit infrequently, been called a racist and likened to David Duke) – as well in closed-door, off-the-record meetings with Jewish leadership at the highest levels in New York and in Washington confirms these are the ascending trends. Though my experience falls into that category we denominate “anecdotal evidence,” the fact is that I have spoken with more grassroots Jews about immigration policy than any other person in the United States. That there will be – as survey research consistently reflects – a lag time between people’s intellectual shifts and their emotional capacity to register it, speak it aloud and act on it – sooner or later, the two will become congruent.

The typical congregant at any one of the dozens of synagogues I have visited across America, frequently being invited as a “scholar-in-residence,” staying for a full weekend and thus having the opportunity to gain a firmer handle on what’s going on, is thrilled to hear a voice speaking from the podium in the sanctuary that is not mumbling political correctness, and that is prepared to say aloud what the great majority already think – but has yet to find the full confidence to speak.

This is not to say change will come quickly or painlessly. While virtually all the rabbis in the dozens of congregations where I’ve spoken have generously – and often courageously – made a point of agreeing with me in public and affirming their support of my views – and thus breaking with the policy line of their denomination as well as what one might have assumed was communal orthodoxy among their flocks – I have been bitterly attacked by a handful of die-hard leftists in the pulpit. Some see themselves not as my hosts but as my debating partners. There is and will be also strong resistance from many quarters in the organized community, not least of all from the professional domestic affairs staff of national Jewish organizations, a group that can be reliably counted upon to be far to the political left of the executive and lay leadership, whom they are adept at misleading and sabotaging.

There is special cause for concern about staff manipulation in those organizations that nominally grant lay leadership wide discretion in decision-making on policy while, in fact, professional staff effectively retains it, controlling debate by subtlety limiting options within internal discussion, card-stacking the evidence in the preparation of background materials, and having more “expertise” and thus intellectual authority than the membership. This tendency for staff to overstep its position, monitor, and even play the role of control officers for the executive and lay leadership will become stronger as the Jewish community increasingly questions its automatic support for the Democratic Party and its candidates, a process that may well reach a watershed with the upcoming Presidential race. It is not beyond possibility that the President, who received a scant 17 percent of the Jewish vote in 2000, may conceivably garner 30-40 percent of it this time around. While it is by no means clear this will come to pass – Jewish support for Democratic candidates is tenacious and opinion polls suspect – a shift of this magnitude is not impossible and it might even influence the outcome in such crucial swing states such as Florida, Ohio, and Missouri.

The most telling piece of evidence of the stubbornness of Jewish organizational adhesion to the open borders camp, perhaps the staff/lay dynamic described above, as well as tenacious organizational maintenance of the status quo in the face of accumulating evidence of dissent in the ranks, is the letter sent by eleven Jewish national organizations to members of the Senate as recently as May 28, 2004. The letter seeks “immigration reform” (read amnesty) that would make conditions easier for illegal aliens by the passage of legislation to “address immigration issues, including bills to aid farm workers immigration needs and ease education burdens for undocumented immigrant students.” Thus, at the top of the communal pyramid all would appear unchanged, but the base is increasingly restive. For the time being – indeed for as long as it is tenable – the propensity among leadership will be to circle the wagons and reaffirm the traditional position, hoping the mere organizational line-up will overawe the opposition; the reasoning is as understandable institutionally as it is shortsighted as a matter of policy.

The issue of immigration remains bitterly divisive among Jews, and which organization welcomes costly internal strife? At a luncheon several months ago following an address at one of New York City’s wealthiest and most prominent synagogues, board members clashed head-on and savagely over my presentation, with the president of the congregation, one of those who accused me of being a racist, being attacked by a senior board member as being “the kind of Jew that sold out others to the Nazis.” The atmosphere was electric, and the dense toxicity that enveloped that room during the supremely uncivil “discussion” about my remarks might have been cut with an axe. Important segments of the leadership remain true believers in the dying faith, and will not give it up without a fight. But that change is inevitable is clear enough. The question, ultimately, is whether it will come too late to make a difference to the future of America and its Jewish community.

Though it will prove wrenching – philosophically and spiritually – to break with the old consensus, so wrenching many are effectively paralyzed by the very prospect right now, it must surely concentrate their minds wonderfully to know that continuing to uphold it endangers the values, power, interests, and perhaps even long-term viability of the community whose protection is their raison d’être, a criticism they are beginning to hear from a rising chorus within it. In their heart of hearts they recognize they risk a harsh judgment by history as those responsible for “losing America,” just as their predecessors have been rightly pilloried for their failure to do more to save European Jewry in the years leading up to and during the Holocaust. American-Jewish leadership is understandably at sea and agonized, experiencing profound vertigo as it seeks to chart a course within a reality that would appear to make sense only to a schizophrenic.

Fading Anti-Semitism
On one hand, the Jewish organizational leadership cadre holds influential positions within a community that feels a sense of belonging and inclusion unknown in the 2000-year history of Diaspora Jewry, as well as justifiable pride and not inconsiderable complacency stemming from the position it has achieved within American society. The American-Jewish community has attained success and acceptance beyond their forebear’s fondest dreams. Though only a small minority within the United States, American Jews are influential far beyond their miniscule percentage of the population. Not only are they, per capita, among the wealthiest and best educated of Americans, but they also hold significant political power as well as cultural influence. Nearly half the money spent in the presidential primaries in the Democratic Party comes from Jewish contributors, and in recent years Jewish presence at the highest levels of government has become routine. A majority of the cabinet members in the Clinton administration were Jews, and while there are none in the Bush cabinet, Jewish political advisors play key roles in national security, foreign, and military affairs. Had Al Gore become President, an Orthodox Jew would have been a heart-beat away from the nation’s highest office. In the upcoming Presidential election, if Senator Kerry wins, he will be the first chief executive with Jewish roots. Jews are concentrated in states with the highest votes in the Electoral College, and they vote at a higher rate than any other group of Americans, amortizing their otherwise limited demographic presence.

To repeat some of the well-known indicators of the Jewish community’s success, ten per-cent of the Unites States Senate is Jewish. Currently, the majority of the presidents at Ivy League universities are Jews, and faculties and student bodies at elite colleges and universities are typically 30-40 percent Jewish, often constituting a plurality at these institutions. Jews continue to form a high percentage of the membership in the learned professions (law, medicine, academia, scientific research) and among the chattering classes, i.e., among writers, journalists, and publishers of some of the nation’s leading national newspapers and periodicals, and as creators and disseminators of both high and popular culture. Though not necessarily representing Jewish interests or values, American Jews play the predominant role in Hollywood (nearly 70 percent of movie and TV producers and directors are Jewish), and thus shape much of the popular imagery central to the national life. Jews also hold key positions within many leading financial institutions in the country, especially within investment banking and the brokerage industry.

The principal cause, as well as a symptom of these successes, anti-Semitism has fallen to historic lows among the white Christians that still form America’s dominant cultural group; indeed what was once a significant factor in mainstream American life is now, at most, a peripheral phenomenon. A recent ADL study found that only some 12 percent of white Christian Americans hold anti-Semitic attitudes; this represents a 50-percent drop over just the past 30 years. Indeed, one of the leading factors contributing to the crisis in Jewish continuity is the fact that our neighbors like us, are prepared and often eager to marry us and have children with us. It’s important to emphasize this as Jews often find it hard to hear good news, even as their leadership is often capable of suppressing bad news, at least when it comes from politically correct quarters. Among the more significant examples of the “bad news” is that survey research has consistently shown high levels of anti-Semitism among Latinos, with percentages in the neighborhood of 47 percent holding hostile attitudes towards Jews. Moreover, this finding has remained stubbornly constant. It is cited in the major survey of inter-group attitudes Taking America’s Pulse conducted by the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1992 and again in a recent study sponsored by the ADL.

A risible but interesting indicator of how marginal anti-Semitism has become within the dominant culture is how candidate after candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination is “discovering” his Jewish roots, or, if he is not so lucky to have any, emphasizes the fact that his wife or wife and children are Jewish. In an earlier America, these candidate’s forebears thought it prudent to conceal their Judaism by changing their names or converting to Christianity; their descendants now see a distinct advantage in flaunting what their antecedents sought to hide.

Having cited these examples of the success of the American-Jewish community, one feels compelled to add a caveat to anticipate the responses such observations invariably elicit from anti-Semites and other neo-Nazis, fascists, paranoiac Jew-haters, fanatic Latino nationalists, and Islamist crazies, as well as from such protean political curiosities as Michael Lind, an often interesting political analyst who unfortunately appears to have an unhealthy fixation with Jews. The last thing one wishes to do is provide this ilk further “evidence” to justify their hatred of or distaste for the American-Jewish community. When I discussed the admirable situation of the America’s Jews in my first CIS Backgrounder in 2001, this crowd chose to view my open avowals of the self-evident either as a rare glimpse into the arcane secret workings of the vast Jewish conspiracy, or saw their nutty, hair-brained analyses as having “outed” one of the key conspirators. In what constitutes a classic case of unconscious humor, they acted as if they were sleuths who had uncovered what I freely offered. (David Duke described me as “one of the most powerful Jews in America,” an assessment I wish had been shared by my former employers at the American Jewish Committee, and one I would gladly have shared with my mother had the source not been so scabrous.)

Perhaps most bizarre, Michael Lind feigned shock and dismay that the Jewish community uses its economic position and resources to advance its political agenda, sounding like nothing so much as the outraged, newly arrived virgin in the whorehouse, a stock character in Western comedy since Roman times. One would have thought the connection between money and political power had never been previously explored; but one doesn’t need to know the work of Sir Lewis Namier: all that’s needed is what one famous tabloid calls an inquiring mind. No, Virginia, there is no conspiracy, and I am not, sad to say, “One of the most powerful Jews in America.” Rather, valuing hard work and education, with an accumulated store of inventiveness and intellectual energy maintained, indeed hoarded, within the stifling and oppressive confines of the largely ghettoized European societies which they abandoned or fled, with a facility for languages and cultural adaptability that their historical condition had forced upon them, free to advance within a society which became increasingly meritocratic as well as one in which anti-Semitism yielded quickly to tolerance and then full inclusion, Jews have achieved the American Dream by fair means. That the American Jewish community should be concerned, perhaps more than most others, with gaining and maintaining political influence and access should come as a surprise to no one that understands that powerlessness was key to the annihilation of a third of world Jewry in living memory.

Romanticized Image of Immigration
Yet for all its accumulated historical consciousness and above-average political acuity, the American-Jewish community, like any other, believes in myths, and these die slowly because they represent enduring values and ideals, not realities. The meaning and power of any myth does not derive from its demonstrability as fact, and the mythopoeiac power of the immigrant experience among American Jews will lose force only slowly. Of all the pieces of Americana that most middle-aged American Jews, at least, know by heart, one of the best known and most-cherished is that verse from the well-known poem inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free …”

That poem was written, of course, by a Jewish schoolgirl poet in New York in response to the persecution of Jews in Czarist Russia. For more than a century it has given expression to a highly romanticized image of the immigrant experience in America, one that has become iconic and all-encompassing despite its decided irrelevance to much it purports to represent. This quote has a great deal to do with refugees and asylum seekers, and they and the policy universe to which they belong are separate and distinct from that of immigrants and immigration policy per se. If American Jews are going to get this issue right, they need to disaggregate the two, something many Jews have failed to do intellectually or emotionally. For the truth is that Jewish immigrant experience far more closely parallels the experience of refugees and asylum seekers than typical immigrants – then or now. Jews have reason to get misty-eyed about what the Statue of Liberty stands for, but the same is not quite the case for the vast majority of immigrants who passed beneath it on their way to Ellis Island.

No group has ever exemplified, revered, and clung to this romanticized notion of immigration to the United States as much as the Jews who landed here in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and their descendants. My own forebears did not come on the Mayflower, nor were they among the small group of Jews who arrived in New Amsterdam aboard the St. Katerina from Recife, Brazil, 350 years ago and remained, the New World’s first permanent Jewish pilgrims. I’m a first-generation American. My father fled the pogroms that swept the Russian Empire during the Civil War that followed the Bolshevik Revolution. He was born in a small village in Ukraine outside Kiev, a city that was Judenrein by law; my maternal grandmother and her family had arrived some years earlier from Riga, Latvia.

Given the horror that engulfed those Jews that remained in Europe – including the many who might have been saved had the United States not substantially closed its doors to immigration in 1924 and slammed them shut entirely on Jews fleeing Nazism and the Holocaust in the 1930s and 1940s – the utter abandonment of the Jews by the Western democracies will resonate forever deeply within the consciousness of every self-identifying Jew, and particularly America’s grudging acceptance of a mere 1,500 refugees who were interned in Camp Oswego in Upstate New York – it is fair to say that no immigrant group has appreciated the blessings of being immigrants to America more than Jews. Against this backdrop, American Jews must now contend with one of the most intellectually and emotionally anguishing questions that has arisen in the entirety of their history in the United States: whether to support the continuation of the current great wave of immigration, though a more accurate metaphor for what is taking place now would be that of a continuous, pounding surf than a wave, that has now reached an historically unprecedented level, or exercise their still considerable political and economic clout to seek to curtail the current record influx.

With approximately 1.5 million legal and illegal immigrants entering and settling annually – by far the greatest number illegal – roughly equivalent to the population of Philadelphia – the United States now has the highest number of foreign-born residents in its history. As a percentage of the total population, the 32 million foreign-born, being strengthened continuously, are fast approaching and will soon surpass a level not seen since the first decade of the 20th century, and will in only a few years constitute the largest percentage of foreign-born residents in the nation’s history.

For American Jewry, the debate over immigration is a classic confrontation between the heart and head, nostalgia and foresight, illusion and reality. In their gut, many American Jews feel that substantially reducing the level of immigration betrays the legacy of their parents and grandparents. There is a strong communal aversion to the notion of kicking the hands on the rung of the social ladder beneath your own. But a growing number have reached the conclusion that to continue along these lines betrays their children and grandchildren. The danger arises because mass immigration is conterminous with the importation of mass anti-Semitism. It’s no accident that the rise of widespread and increasingly violent anti-Semitism in Western Europe and, to this point at a far lower level in America, tracks perfectly with mass immigration, especially that of Muslims. Mass immigration also tracks with, indeed, is the ultimate generator of, Balkanizing notions of extreme multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism was not invented on some particularly benighted college campus; nor did it fall from the sky: it is the direct outgrowth of the kind of mass, uncontrolled immigration the United States has been experiencing for decades. Having worked for more nearly a century through its communal organizations and in the context of inter-faith encounters to achieve an America largely free of anti-Semitism, it is difficult for American Jews to sit back and watch mass immigration, most of it the consequence of the wholesale violation of the rule of law, reverse that outcome.

However uncomfortable it is to grapple with the issue of immigration policy, both as Jews and as Americans, it is a political question American Jews cannot avoid. More than any other group of Americans, Jews have most at stake in how this policy plays out in the coming years. Perhaps counter-intuitively but right on the target, the immigration reform movement sees American Jews with their significant political power, wealth, substantial presence in the media and among opinion-makers to be the group that may have the capacity to break this conspiracy of silence in a society where issues of nationhood, sovereignty, race, ethnicity, and culture are infinitely more indelicate to speak of than sex.

That conspiracy is maintained by a curious alliance among the leadership of the major political parties, the ethnic lobbies, and Big Business. This conspiracy sees to it that despite that fact that every survey shows HUGE majorities of Americans favoring an outright moratorium on immigration – differing only whether the moratorium should be for five years or for 10 – their opinion does not register. Why not? The answer lies in who controls public policy debates in America. These “debates,” or, in this case, the lack of any genuine debate, is the result of a distorted, skewed, manipulated process dominated by those with the most to gain immediately and palpably, financially and personally, with respect to any given issue. Clearly, any alien, especially one from the Third World, experiences an incalculable gain upon entering the United States. The worker from Mexico that made five dollars a day will now make five dollars an hour. The ethnic lobbies that purport to speak on his behalf also gain by the appearance and often reality of a growing constituency. As do the employers of “cheap” immigrant labor – cheap for them, of course, though not for the American taxpayer, for whom this scenario represents the obverse of a “win/win” situation.

It’s been estimated that over the course of a lifetime, a typical illegal alien in California will use more than $75,000 in public services than he will ever pay in taxes. The education of the children of illegal aliens, the cost of the emergency medical services and healthcare they most typically use (the most expensive in a costly market), as well as the cost of a host of other direct and indirect services from which they benefit are paid for by the taxes of the American people. Similarly, the wages of American workers earning at the bottom third of the workforce have fallen by some 7 percent in a decade as a direct result of competition from illegal aliens. Still, the immediate tangible losses suffered by the average American citizens are not felt to be nearly commensurate with the very tangible and enormous material benefits gained by illegal aliens, their employers, and their self-appointed parasitic “representatives.”

Not a Right/Left Contest
Perhaps there’s a politically useful silk purse in this sow’s ear for those of us seeking immigration reform and converts to the cause among ever-over-anxious, too-eager to-be-loved and not-to-offend, politically progressive and socially liberal American Jews. The news that the battle over immigration is not a rightwing vs. leftwing battle tends to salve their consciences as they pursue their rational self-interests and those of America as a whole. It’s always a help to remind audiences at a synagogue event that the strongest proponents of open-borders immigration are the Wall Street Journal and the Chambers of Commerce. And why, pray, is this so, I regularly ask? Is it because the employers of sweated labor are in love with the gorgeous mosaic of ethnic diversity? It doesn’t take much to convince a largely liberal constituency the cause is greed, the desire for an unending supply of cheap labor to exploit in order to engorge their profits in the service sector and agro-business and depress wages across the board, all the while caring not a whit for any other consideration, whether political, cultural, or environmental. Among the considerations to be thrown overboard include American political democracy, including fundamental Constitutional principles, such as the bedrock concept of the nation state as comprised of a cohesive citizenry expressing its political will through democratic processes.

President Bush’s proposal for “immigration reform,” a disgraceful fraud that, if passed, will effectively amnesty some 10-15 million illegal aliens by transforming them into wage slaves, members of a new legal permanent underclass of Guest Workers in America – a policy idea that is an affront to the deepest ideals and values of American political and social culture from the Founders on, as well as constituting the death-knell of the American Dream of immigrant inclusion, upward mobility, and naturalization – will make it far easier to persuade Jewish progressives that open-borders immigration is not a cause that should continue to enlist their support. The transparency of the attempt to label this cynical, socially reactionary, money-grubbing ploy as an instance of “Compassionate Conservatism” is not selling well. Coming as it did, on the heels of Bush’s memo circulated by his Labor Department telling employers how they can avoid paying workers overtime, it is clear this represents nothing less than a massive assault on the American middle class in the interest of the wealthiest of the wealthy, as well as smarmy, lame-brained, ineffectual election-year pandering to the Latino lobby. It is also not lost on many American Jews – and we will keep it in the forefront of their consciousness of those that need reminding – that this amnesty will legalize the presence in the United States of what is estimated to be some 300,000 individuals from countries on the terrorist watch list! Given the President’s current low ratings in the polls, as well as greatly heightened concerns around domestic security – concern likely to be significantly amplified by the report of the 9/11 Commission, it is unlikely he will wage a full-court press on behalf of this unpopular plan.

According to a recent ABC news poll, more than half of Americans aren’t buying this attempted legislative murder of the American Dream, and recognize the cynical sham it for what it is: by a 2-1 majority they see it as an assault on the dignity and interests of American labor, as nothing more than a strategy to drive down wages. This survey also shows that support for real immigration reform is the ascendant trend; a similar survey conducted in 2000 showed Americans split on this issue; now a solid majority stands in opposition. Opposition is also broad and cuts across the spectrum, uniting political opponents. The Bush proposal – that guarantees the indentured servants legal status for only three years – has already been opposed by the National Council of La Raza for failing to provide illegal aliens everything as part of its strategy goal of political and demographic Reconquista; it is opposed by the AFL-CIO; it was even attacked by Governor Howard Dean during his failed race for the Democratic nomination (at only one press conference, however: at least his opportunistic populist political instincts saw opposition to this scheme as a winner); and by moderates and conservatives that are appalled by this surrender to and complicity in the wholesale violation of American law – one that will prove a powerful stimulus to further massive violation of law as such law-breaking is seen to carry rewards rather than consequence. And, of course, despite the assurances that these recipients of “compassionate conservatism” will go home after three years of being exploited, the example of Western Europe over the past thirty years tells us something quite different: guest workers never go home; they disappear into a society that seemingly has no means of keeping track of any one.

It is also being denounced by principled Americans of all political stripes that see this proposal for the enormous danger it constitutes to fundamental American principles: if enacted, Bush’s scheme would, at a stroke, transform the United States of America to the best approximation the modern world has ever known of the democratic ideal represented by the Athens of Pericles into Sparta, a hierarchical state with rigid social distinctions carried on the backs of a class of helots. Should this proposal be enacted into law, writers and poets should begin composing epitaphs for the American Dream.

The great majority at any gathering are also horrified to learn that in many states illegal aliens are voting, in direct contravention of the Constitution of the United States. These are citizens of foreign countries, in most case of Mexico, who obtain drivers’ licenses and have thus passed what now constitutes the ultimate test of inclusion: a driver’s license. That they have no loyalty to the United States, sense of belonging to the American nation, or evince no desire to naturalize are seen as mere formalities by those in positions of power willing to wink at this outrage. If you have a driver’s license you can vote; it’s just that simple. And as a direct result the American people are losing control over the destiny of their own country, at the same time that the ideal of membership and inclusion have been cheapened, sold to the lowest bidder.

The Demographic Handwriting is on the Wall
Of the manifold concerns about current immigration policy felt by all Americans and American Jews in particular, none is more disturbing than the manner in which it fuels Muslim immigration, making Islam the fastest growing religion in the country, forming an expanding anti-Israel and anti-Semitic constituency, and providing an ever-expanding sea in which terrorist fish swim undetected. The lead article in the May 14, 2003 edition of the Toronto Globe & Mail announced that Muslims now outnumber Jews in Canada. It noted that this dramatic demographic shift “could ultimately affect [Canada’s] position toward the protracted Middle East conflict.” The good news is that Canada is hardly a major player on the geopolitical stage. But what happened there in just the past decade should concern the 5.3 million Jews who live south of the 54th Parallel, as well as those who chart Israel’s course in the halls of the Knesset.

Muslim ascendancy in Canada is a harbinger of things to come in the United States, with potentially enormous impact for both American Jewry and American foreign policy. According to the 1991 Canadian Census, there were 25 percent more Jews in Canada than Muslims. Within a single decade that demographic advantage was obliterated. According to the 2001 census, the Muslim population of Canada exceeded the Jewish population by 75 percent.

Only recently news stories on CNN and ABC News reported a doubling of the Arab population in the U.S. in just two decades. Both news outlets suggest the number of Arabs alone (we are not now talking of Muslims in general) is already nearly 1.3 million, with the largest population in New York, followed by the Detroit suburbs. For virtually its entire history, Arab immigration to the United States was primarily Christian and lopsidedly Lebanese; now it is virtually all Muslim, with the immigrants’ lands of origin mainly Egypt, the West Bank, and Yemen.

That dramatic demographic turnaround in Canada, the U.S., and Europe can be accounted for by a single factor: immigration. Muslim immigration has or is dramatically altering demography in all these places, and with it, inevitably, the political landscape. This phenomenon has already had enormous – and frightful – impact on Jewish life in Europe, and has turned European foreign policy on the Middle East from one of even-handedness to one that is overtly anti-Israel, if not outright anti-Semitic or tolerant of it.

Symbolizing the transition was the EU’s failure to condemn the recent vile speech by the Malaysian Prime Minister. Or, perhaps even more shocking, witness the current moral and intellectual scandal of the EU’s rejection of the report it recently commissioned from the German Technical University on the dramatic upsurge of anti-Semitism in Europe. The report was rejected and labeled as “racist” because it identified by far the greatest numbers of perpetrators of anti-Semitic outrages as Muslim. The propensity of the willfully blind to shoot the messenger never seems to go out of style. The highly suspect follow-up study predictably came up with the politically-correct conclusion: the plague of violence was in fact the work of skinheads and Neo-Nazis. One is reminded of Claude Reines’ sardonic remark in Casablanca when he orders the Vichy police to “round up the usual suspects.”

The demographic change has caused European Jews to live under profoundly insecure and threatening conditions, something virtually unknown since the rise of fascism. Lest anyone imagine that hostility to Israel is only a factor among leaders of European governments or hostile elites, a recent survey conducted by the European Commission called “Iraq and Peace in the World” revealed that more ordinary Europeans consider Israel a threat to world peace than any other country. Asked whether certain countries posed a risk to world peace, Israel topped all other nations with 59 percent of Europeans answering in the affirmative, placing Israel ahead of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, and even North Korea. Among the 15-member union, only in Italy did fewer than 50 percent identify Israel as a threat, and leading the anti-Israel pack were Holland at 74 percent and Luxembourg at 66 percent. (The U.S. was identified by some 53 percent, the same number as North Korea.)

Because of sustained large-scale immigration, we’re on the threshold of a similar demographic shift in the U.S. Currently, some 5.3 million Jews live in the U.S., compared to approximately 4 million Muslims. Islamist groups often cite the grossly inflated and entirely spurious figure of 7 million. Such wild exaggerations have been their stock in trade; they have no research capacity and simply make up figures. None of which would represent a problem if such Big Lies weren’t ultimately accepted as truths, even among supposedly “reliable sources.” Thus when the Washington Post last year congratulated the “7 million strong American Muslim community” on the celebration of the Eid at the close of Ramadan, myth became reality.

This shift is a certainty because the exponential growth of the Muslim population is paralleled by a precipitous decline in the number of American Jews, in absolute terms and as a percentage of the overall population over the past 30 years; further, there is no reason to believe the factors that have caused this will be reversed. Only a decade ago we spoke of 5.8 million Jews; now we speak of 5.3. Jewish fertility is flat, well below replacement level; its population is aging; nearly half of all Jews intermarry, and all efforts to promote “Jewish Continuity” have thus far yielded zero results. The recent findings of the UJC Population Study confirm the worst fears of those anguished about this specter.

Unless the religious leadership of the American Jewish community takes a radical step and returns to ancient traditional Jewish practice – the seeking of converts from among non-Jews – a scripturally sanctioned practice made a capital offense by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine when he adopted Christianity as the official religion of the Eastern Roman Empire (a position embraced by the forward-thinking Allen Dershowitz as well as Dennis Prager) – as well as use the philanthropic resources made available to the failed and philosophically flawed effort at “Jewish Continuity” by also encouraging Jews to have larger families by establishing college accounts so more families will have 3 or 4 children – projecting 20 or 30 years ahead, Muslims will no longer need to exaggerate their numbers to have a major influence on both domestic and foreign policies.

Unlike Canada, or even Western Europe, the foreign policy of the United States matters enormously. The United States is not only the world’s sole superpower; it is also Israel’s only reliable ally in an increasingly hostile world. Without discounting the sincerity of many American Christians in their support for Israel, it would be naïve to believe that American politicians will not respond to an ever-growing Islamic voting bloc, one that will eventually far outnumber Jewish voters.

Whatever their manifold shortcomings, no one should ever underestimate the ability of American politicians to count – count votes and campaign contributions. As Muslim Americans become politically organized – and they are well on their way – politicians will certainly not ignore the votes and campaign dollars of a rapidly growing segment of the electorate. Unlike Latinos, Muslims naturalize and vote at higher than average percentages – 65 percent in the last Presidential race. And, like Jews, they are concentrated in states with large voting blocs in the Electoral College; they are everywhere Jews are.

Importing Anti-Semitism
It is not only Israel that will face increasing hostility and radically diminished American military, economic, and political support as Muslim immigration swells. The outbreak of violent anti-Semitism that has swept Europe in recent years has far less to do with that continent’s latent hatred of Jews by Christians than it does with the hatred for Jews among its young, poor, and alienated Muslim population.

As we’ve noted, more often than not, attacks on synagogues and desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Europe are perpetrated not by skinheads, but by young Muslims indoctrinated in the hatred of Jews by Islamist imams and preachers in the radical mosques that dominate Islamic life in Europe. Virtually every major city in Western Europe already has a central mosque, funded by the Saudis, that preaches Wahabbi doctrine, one of the most extreme, violent, atavistic, anti-Western forms of Islam. These mosques, that have spawned the likes of Zacharias Moussaoui and Richard Reid, double as recruiting centers and financial support networks for Muslim terrorist cells.

In the banlieues – the lawless ramshackle “suburban” slums that surround Paris and other major French cities – Jews and Jewish institutions are subject to repeated attacks by marauding gangs of Muslim hoodlums. (CNN recently reported that violent attacks on Jews in Paris come at the average rate of 12 a day.) Reminiscent of Germany circa 1930, when Hitler’s Brown Shirts ruled the streets while a timid government and press kept silent, governments and the media in Western Europe today turn a blind eye to Islamic anti-Semitism and violence out of fear of their growing political power and an adherence to political correctness. Chirac’s recent decision opposing religious freedom in the classroom – the banning of headscarves for Muslim girls, kepahs, and crosses, is not only woefully misguided and insufficient; it’s absurdly incommensurate with the scale of the problem – though it is clear from the recent pronouncements of France’s erstwhile friends among Islamic theocracies and within anti-Israel terrorist movements, such as Hezbollah, that it may well pay a price for this “assault on Islam.”

One would like to think these threats – some of which may be carried out in the form of terrorist acts committed in France – will lead to a reassessment by French authorities of the cynical policies they have pursued, but given its history of twisted if cleverly self-serving diplomacy, the French are likely to paper things over with their friends in the Arab world, including among its radicals and terrorists, rather than recognize that they are subjecting France, and especially the ideals of the French Republic, to a slow, painful, and shameful death. While the Muslim underclass is detested and discriminated against by increasingly xenophobic ordinary Europeans as well as the European elite, they and their unwelcome guests share a common hatred of American preeminence in the world, as well as the belief that Israel is a tool of an imperialist United States.

A chilling article in the June 2003 issue of Vanity Fair by Marie Brenner about the anti-Jewish violence in France describes the new reality facing Europe’s largest Jewish population. This was recently followed by a front page story along the same lines in the Washington Post.

Living amidst a Muslim population that now outnumbers it ten to one, and a political establishment that up till very recently could be described charitably as utterly indifferent to the wave of anti-Semitism sweeping the country, beleaguered French Jews are enduring conditions not witnessed in Europe for more than half a century. Although overt violence is less common in Great Britain – rioting second generation South Asian youth shouting “death to the Jews” in the Midlands a year ago may be a harbinger – Britain has become home to the most radical elements in the Islamic world; those who track the worldwide Islamist movement refer to the British capital as “Londonistan.” The recent arrest of the Mullah of the Finsbury mosque, who has been openly calling for the murder of Jews and Christians, because of his alleged link to Al Qaeda is welcome news, but this is merely the tip of the iceberg.

While it is admittedly risky to draw conclusions based on what’s happening in one country and applying it, wholesale, to another – the United States is not France, or Germany, or even Canada – it would be equally foolhardy to ignore what is happening abroad. Jews are not entitled to the luxury of assuming that what has already happened in Western Europe and is beginning to take place in Canada has no relevance to them. A people that lost one-third of its total world population in living memory due to powerlessness has no choice but to adopt a posture of high vigilance. Unless fundamental changes are made in U.S. immigration policy and enforced sooner rather than later, the same transformation will occur in this county, at incalculable cost to American Jews and their interests. Moreover, it will happen much more quickly than most might imagine.

As we’ve noted, the price of averting – or at least postponing – this outcome will be enormous cultural discomfort among American Jews and potentially a major political realignment as Jewish leaders will be forced to take positions that will further strain an already attenuated relationship with the liberal coalition that was forged under Franklin Roosevelt and reached its zenith in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s. It is not impossible that the frayed bond will tear apart and prove irreparable. This will constitute a full-blown identity crisis for the many Jews who have regarded political liberalism as a constituent element of their Judaism. But faced with the choice between loyalty to a largely broken alliance and their own long-term survival, the great majority of America’s Jews will make a rational choice.

Because of the way U.S. immigration laws work, an exponential growth in the Islamic population in the coming years is a statutory certainty. Having established a foothold in the U.S. over the past 30 years and attained citizenship, these relatively new Americans have the right to petition to bring large numbers of extended family members to this country. Current U.S. immigration policy entitles U.S. citizens to bring not only their nuclear families, i.e., spouse and unmarried minor children, but parents, adult children and their spouses and children, and adult siblings and their spouses and children. Moreover, over time, all of these extended family members can eventually bring a similar range of extended relatives here as well, in an unbreakable chain. What begins as a single immigrant can result in the immigration of an entire village. In fact, in some West Bank towns, as is the case with many villages in rural Mexico, as much as half the population either now lives in the U.S. or has U.S. citizenship.

Readers unfamiliar with the political bedfellows of AILA (American Immigration Lawyer’s Association) need to learn that its connections provide stunning evidence that it is far from a non-partisan, non-ideological professional association. It is a driving force behind these policies. It is both disturbing and revealing to know that Jane Butterfield, the President of AILA, was, for the greatest part of her career, the head of the American Solidarity Committee for Palestine, and has been a long-time supporter of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a group identified on the State Department list of terrorist organizations.

Demographic and economic realities within the Islamic world suggest we will face a tidal wave of Islamic immigration for the foreseeable future – unless some cut-off mechanism is put in place. Those ineluctable realities include a worldwide Islamic population of 1.3 billion people, most living in poverty-stricken and politically oppressive countries. A rare moment of political candor was the important recent speech by President Bush discussing the danger posed by the lack of democracy anywhere in the Arab world, one that even acknowledged the historical complicity of American policy in enabling Islamic tyranny.

Indeed, two-thirds of the poorest people on earth live in socially, economically, technologically, and intellectually fossilized Muslim societies. Given the chance to immigrate to a country like the United States, countless millions would jump at the opportunity – at the same time that they not only harbor hatred and contempt for American political institutions and American culture, but are also members of a religious and political culture much of which is currently under the dangerous delusion that it will, can, and must achieve global domination. Many of these immigrants – a decent percentage of whom might better be identified as infiltrators than immigrants – are part of a well-organized and extremely well-funded movement to subvert and destroy American institutions and the American infra-structure.

By contrast, the global Jewish population is estimated to be between 13-15 million – a mere one one-hundredth of that of Islam. One-third of all the Jews in the world already live in the United States, a third more live in Israel, while the remainder are spread mainly among First World nations where the political and economic forces that generally drive immigration do not exist. Thus, Jews have very little to gain directly from an open door U.S. immigration policy. And even in a worst-case scenario for the remaining Jews in the former Soviet Union, Latin America, and perhaps even parts of Western Europe, the existence of Israel, in spite of its security and economic troubles, guarantees a safe haven for any Jew who needs one.

Also, one byproduct of powerful Jewish political influence has been that persecuted Jews have been able to go to the head of the refugee line for resettlement in the United States. Under the Lautenberg Amendment, hundreds of thousands of Jews from the former-U.S.S.R. were able to enter the country, ahead of millions of other refugees who, arguably, faced greater persecution and danger in places like Central America and Africa. One of the potential casualties of the loss of political power could be the special consideration now afforded Jewish refugees.

Jews stand to lose a great deal more than any other group currently living in the United States from an immigration policy that brings millions of people from cultures that range from antipathetic to antithetic to Jews and the State of Israel. Muslim immigrants are certainly the most likely to feel savage hostility toward Jews at the moment and are intent on destroying Jewish political power in the United States as a pre-requisite for weakening Israel. Thus, this is most emphatically not the time for Jews to be reticent or “polite” for fear of antagonizing or offending Muslims: American-Muslim organizations have shown no such compunctions when it comes to Jews or to Israel – or the sensibilities or predilections of dyed-in-the-wood extreme multiculturalists who view the Balkanization of American society either with neutrality or favor. Jewish leadership must step up to the plate and speak frankly and courageously on behalf of the community they are supposed to lead and protect.

Common sense demands that the source of the danger be identified. Within the vast Islamic universe is a fast-spreading totalitarian political ideology whose name is Islamism, though some know it by other names – Jihadism, Salafǐ Islamism, Wâhhabiŝm, and the more generic term Fundamentalism. Nomenclature counts for nothing; the names make no difference; the phenomenon is broadly identical in philosophy and tactics, though there are minor doctrinal differences among its adherents from country to country as well as ethnic and personal rivalries. Its goal is world domination by Islam and the imposition of the harshest and most inhumane incarnation of rigid, unchanging, and unchangeable hide-bound Islamic law on all nations and peoples. It pursues its agenda through brainwashing, pie-in-the-sky theology for desperate people, intimidation, selective assassination, terrorism, political repression, and, on occasion – such as in Bangladesh when it declared its independence from Pakistan in 1971 – genocide; the murder of some two million Bengali men, women, and children, and the rape of hundreds of thousands of women by members of the Pakistani army, the local Islamists know as razakars, and thousands of madrassah students must not be permitted to disappear into the black hole of historical forgetfulness. The people of Bangladesh were, for the greatest part, pious Muslims; their crime was to wish to the separation of religion and government.

Islamism, like the European fascism it resembles in so many ways and from which it borrowed heavily in terms of attitudes to many questions, its paranoid vision of Jews among them, embodies the politics of the culture of despair – reflecting the catastrophic inability of every other movement in the Arab and Muslim world to bring power, a decent living standards, and prestige to the Islamic patrimony –especially the failures of secular nationalism and Pan-Arabism to take root in the 1950s and 1960s.

The modern Islamist movement began in Egypt in 1928 with the Muslim Brotherhood whose heyday spans the years 1930-1950 (its philosophical luminary being Sayyid Qutb); the two other seminal figures of 20th century Islamism are Mawlana Mawduddi (first of India and then Pakistan), founder of the fundamentalist Deobandi Movement with its political party and vast network of propagandistic madrassahs, and the Ayatolla Ruholla Khomeini in Iran. One could argue, however, that in essence, Islamism has always been a potent force within Islam; indeed, it has been its dark twin from the very birth of the faith, and not an aberration born in the 18th century as a product of the alliance from the 1760s on of the House of Saud under its then leader Muhammad ibn Saud and the fundamentalist Ibn Abd al Wahhab, founder of the Wahabbi movement. Nor does its origins lie in the work of Taqi al-Din ibn Taymiyya of the 13th century – though he heavily influenced it – who responded to the disaster of the destruction of the Abbassid empire by the Mongols by accentuating the earliest teachings of the Koran, the concept of Jihad, emphasizing piety over the literature of textual commentary that had formed a considerable body of Islamic thought for centuries and, perhaps most of all, the demand that temporal Muslim rulers subordinate themselves to a strict interpretation of the Koran. It was surely this “dark twin” that also stirred the Mogul conquerors of India to commit one of the greatest genocides in history: the Hindu Kush, or Hindu slaughter, which some historians have suggested produced a body count totaling near 8 million human beings. But one needs to go no further than the Koran itself, with its multiple suras, especially in the Medinan revelations, calling for the murder of infidels and the necessity of Islamic military and political global dominance.

In the 20th century, Islamism was repressed violently for decades by the secular nationalist regimes, mostly brutal corrupt dictatorships that flirted with the Soviet Union in Damascus, Baghdad, and Cairo (Sayyid Qutb was hanged in Egypt in 1966), but with the rise to power of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran it secured its temporal power base, followed by the coup that made General Zia ul Haq military dictator of Pakiststan, a great admirer of Mulana Mawdudi, whose party, the Jamat-e-Islami had been repressed under Zia’s predecessor Zulfikar Ali Butto. With Zia’s seizure of power, the Jamat-e- Islami found that its Islamist philosophy had achieved the position of the official ideology of the state, which Zia began to thoroughly Islamize in a series of measures begun in 1979. Once in the wilderness, the Islamist movement now ruled the key political power and religious powr centers of Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Some otherwise excellent scholars of the movement (Gilles Keppel, author of the superb study Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, being one) have made one signal error: arguing it has already crested. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This movement is gathering strength almost everywhere. Witness the recent resurgence of Shiite religious fanaticism in Iraq, epitomized in the rebellion of Muqtada Al Sadr’s Shiite militia in Karbala, Kufa, and Najaf (which may represent less of a renegade phenomenon than official opinion would have us believe) that may reignite what appeared to many to be the waning of the movement’s virulence in Iran; the New York Times only recently head-lined the story that the most secular Arab nation, Syria, now has a growing and vibrant Islamist movement. It is alive and well in Afghanistan in the “tribal areas” that hug the border with Pakistan, and it is a bomb or bullet away from re-taking control of Pakistan (how many assassination attempts can the apparently sincere Kemalist General Musharraf survive? Something of an enigma, his latest moves toward peace with India, lowering the temperature in Kashmir, and attacks on extremism in the Pakistani Parliament that led to an Islamist party walkout suggests his modernist gestures may be for real: so was Sadat.) It dominates the richest of all Arab states, Saudi Arabia, the most important banker for this movement, which is increasingly facing an internal violent opposition even more extreme in its Islamism than the Saudi monarchy itself, which it views as a sellout to the West; it governs in the Sudan, in Yemen, in Somalia, and rules the street in much of East Africa. It threatens to turn the largely moderate Islam of India into an increasingly militant one; it may well overthrow what had been a comparatively moderate Muslim society and regime in Bangladesh, one that is trying to avert the outcome by providing increasing quiet support to the Jihadists.

The Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star ran a story as recently as January 13 regarding an American Congressman’s visit with representatives of minority religions at the Dhakeswari National Temple, where he was informed that the country’s “minority religions are persecuted, oppressed and marginalized in society.” It has produced a body count of slaughtered innocents in Algeria that runs into the tens of thousands and threatens other regimes in the supposedly Europeanized Maghreb. Many were stunned to learn of the rise of an Al Qaeda-like terrorist network based in “moderate” Morocco that was responsible for the bloody Madrid bombing. Perhaps of greatest interest to those of us who track the correlation between lax immigration policy and the spread of Islamism, the Moroccan terrorists practice a doctrine known as Takfir wal Hijara, which is the advocacy of using immigration as part of a stealth strategy of establishing a Jihadist presence in the heart of the enemy: in Western Europe. Islamism is also gaining ground in the Caucasus; and there are Islamist insurgencies throughout South East Asia, from the Southern Thailand to the Philippines. A militant Albania and break-away Kosovo endanger not just little Macedonia, but pose an Islamist threat across the Balkans.

The fact is that if free and open elections were held tomorrow across the Muslim world, the pan-Islamists would likely take power in the great majority of states. And then, of course, there would be no more elections. This movement hates pluralism, individual rights, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, secular civil society, the separation of religion and government, the rule of law as we understand it in the West, human rights, women’s rights, gay rights, the rights of religious minorities, Christianity, the West in general and the United States in particular, and most of all it has identified Jews and Israel as its foremost enemies – enemies to be exterminated. Many scholars of contemporary movements in the Islamic world who are not Islamist or apologists for Islamism put the number of active adherents of this dangerous movement at between 100-300 million, with a majority of the non-activists cheering from the sidelines. It is a movement that has kept most of Islam in a pre-Enlightenment stage of development. The mentality within wide sections of the Islamic world is some 500 years behind the rest of humanity.

Do we need further evidence of Muslim hatred of Jews than the keynote address by the former “moderate” prime minister of Malaysia, who has compounded the original offense in a series of bizarre interviews since, including with the Israeli press? His speech at the World Organization of Islamic Nations repeated all the familiar canards of crazed, paranoid anti-Semitism: that the diabolically clever and all-powerful Jews run the world, control its banks, the IMF, world media, and even “invented” such ideologies as democracy, human rights, socialism, and communism as means of protecting their own interests. Worst of all, however, was the reaction of the other heads of State that filled the hall to overflowing. It wasn’t stony, embarrassed silence; they didn’t lower their heads and look away. They gave him a standing ovation, and those wildly applauding leaders included our friends and “allies” General Musharraf of Pakistan, King Abdullah of Jordan, the Egyptian President, the King of Saudi Arabia, our own newly-installed President of Afghanistan, Mohammad Karzai, and yes, Mr. Putin, “representing” Russia’s Muslims.

Will this movement achieve world domination? Of course it will not, at least by military means. But the patent absurdity and unreality of the goal does not lessen the danger is represents, nor should any one feel the least bit secure, let alone complacent. Nazism and Communism harbored similar delusions. Our final victory over them could not bring back to life the millions upon millions annihilated in their names, including 1/3 of all the Jews in the world nor the millions of Allied soldiers, including some 400,000 Americans as well as partisans throughout occupied Europe who gave their lives to defeat them. And how many of us really believe that 9/11 will be the last enormity to be committed on American soil? Our national leaders tell us again and again there is something like a 100 percent certainty that they will strike again, and powerfully. Some months ago another huge terrorist assault on the United States utilizing aircraft was reportedly uncovered and prevented, one that included attacks on nuclear facilities, major population centers, infrastructure, and national symbols.

The recent bombing in Madrid with its huge death toll (in excess of 200) underscores the continuing threat as well as its special character: the technical sophistication of its perpetrators and their wish to inflict maximum casualties on an innocent civilian population who are demonized by virtue of being infidels. Indeed, it is far more likely that the Moroccan bombers responsible for the slaughter in Spain were motivated by the belief that Spain is Islamic land – Al Andalus – and must revert to Muslim control rather than were reacting to the meager contribution of troops the Spanish government then in power had made to the occupation of Iraq.

While the Islamists are incapable of conquering the lands of the infidels through military means they have another extremely potent weapon in their arsenal, and we are not speaking of the terrorism that will almost certainly continue to plague the world for decades to come. The most potent weapon in their possession is demography: their capacity to slowly and quietly overwhelm and come to dominate non-Muslim societies through sheer strength of numbers. This is where the critical nexus between the Islamic dream of global conquest, beginning with their third historical assault on Western Europe, and irrational, self-destructive Western immigration policy reveals itself most dramatically.

Almost two months ago, London’s Daily Telegraph reported the predictions of a group of renowned demographers that France – the great capital of European secularism in Paris and an atrophying but still predominant traditional Catholicism in the countryside – will become a majority Muslim country within 20-30 years! Their reasoning was neither arcane nor their predictions hysterical: to the contrary, it was all terribly prosaic. All they did was plug the demographic facts into the standard formulae to come up with their results. Though the precise percentage of Muslims is hard to know for a certainty given the fact that the French government does not share the data it denies collecting on the race and ethnicity of its population, most demographers place the current figure somewhere between 18-25 percent. The fertility of the average French family is 1.2, while that of the average Muslim family is 4.6, with even higher birthrates among the black African Muslim population (almost 5). Among the most fertile sections of the population, young men and women ranging in age from 17-30, Muslims already constitute 35 percent. Intermarriage is also frequent, with the most prevalent pattern that of a French Catholic young woman marrying a Muslim man, converting to Islam, and then rearing a large family. A similar pattern is evident in Belgium, where in the schools of Brussels Muslim children far outnumber Belgian Christian youth.

Then there is the story of Pym Fortun and Dutch immigration. Pym Fortun was a gay Dutch professor of literature who became a vocal spokesperson in the immigration reform movement in the Netherlands because he did not wish to see the massive influx of a population who regard the killing of homosexuals as religiously sanctioned and who have shown little or no interest in assimilating into liberal Dutch society. He was, in short, vigorously opposed to tolerating intolerance. An opponent of his views assassinated him a little more than a year ago. But a backlash was brewing all along. Some six weeks ago the Dutch parliament passed a resolution barring all immigration to Holland for five years, including that of refugees and asylum seekers. Something similar is happening in Denmark, where the government has made it clear that Muslim immigrants are welcome in Denmark only if they are prepared to teach their children Danish, assimilate to the norms of Danish society, and balance their Islam with a strong sense of loyalty to their new homeland. Should they not follow this course, they will be strongly pressured to leave Denmark.

With these hopeful exceptions, however, the Europeans in the main continue to make a Devil’s bargain with the Islamic world for short-term financial gain and in order to buy a brief respite from trouble that makes the present moment resemble the Phony War more than anything else. While the Sitzkrieg continues, conditions on the ground are undergoing a vast transformation. Their own societies are undergoing a profound metamorphosis that is making them unrecognizable, and in ways they will come to bemoan, perhaps when it is too late to undo it.

They also risk engendering violent nationalist reactions on their own soil as their own dominant culture groups begin to strike back as they perceive their familiar world, interests, and most basic values threatened as the demographic balance reaches the tipping point. Whether or not they are fully aware of what they are doing, they are conjuring the ghost of Oswald Moseley, or at the very least that of Enoch Powell. One imagines that sooner rather than later there will be dozens of rightist demagogues in Western Europe giving their own versions of Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech. But unlike Powell, who was gazing at the distant future, they will be responding to what large numbers will perceive as an immediate threat to their way of life. Needless to say, it would be infinitely wiser for European countries to adopt sensible immigration policies now that will prevent the thorough Islamization of their societies and the rise of the Urabia journalists rather than risk civil war on their streets in the coming decades.

Muslim hatred of Jews is the greatest danger we face, but they’re not the only group now entering the United States en mass with troublesome views about Jews. Attitudes toward Jews in the Latin American societies that are the largest source of immigration today – some 60 percent of all immigrants come from Mexico and Central America – are steeped in a culture of theological anti-Semitism that has defied the post-Vatican II enlightenment of European and North American Catholicism. Nor have they any mitigating history of residential closeness to Jews, little knowledge and no direct or familial experience of the Holocaust, and they regard Jews simply as among the most privileged of white people in the United States; privileged white people who killed God. Speaking in support of a July 2002 congressional resolution deploring anti-Semitism in Europe, Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) noted dark clouds on the American horizon. According to Smith, “17 percent of Americans are showing real anti-Semitic beliefs and the ugliness of it. Sadly, among Latinos and African Americans, it is about 35 percent.” The ADL’s studies indicate that some 47 percent of Latinos hold strongly anti-Semitic attitudes.

It’s true that current Mexican disinterest in naturalization will protect America’s Jews to some extent for perhaps another decade or two; of the massive demographic bulge that entered the U.S. in the early 80s, fewer than 20 percent has become citizens, and of that number fewer still bother to vote. In the last presidential election, Jews outpolled Latinos in LA County! Will this sleeping giant awaken is one of the huge political questions everyone ponders. The Democrats will say nothing about immigration reform because they expect this demographic will join their ranks, and they don’t wish to run the risk of alienating it; and the Republicans will mostly say nothing because they get tons of campaign monies from the Fast Food Industry, the whole service sector, and Agro-Business and don’t want to alienate them. The timetable for the demographic transformation will be greatly accelerated if President Bush’s “immigration reform” proposal, announced in January, is enacted.

Even if the powerful assimilative forces of American culture eventually prevail, as they did among previous waves of immigrants, it will take several generations, and it is certainly arguable that they will never fully succeed with Muslims unless an Islamic “Enlightenment” comes about, an extremely unlikely scenario given the benighted condition of much of the Muslim world and the fact that its proponents will be branded as infidels by traditional religious authorities – as they have always been – and targeted for murder.

Among the myriad mythologies that surround American immigration experience is the belief that the process of assimilation magically transformed immigrants into English-speaking patriotic devotees of Jeffersonian democracy and tolerance virtually as soon as they set foot on these shores. This proposition is about as accurate as the notion that America’s streets were paved with gold. Assimilating millions of Irish, Eastern, and Southern European immigrants into mainstream Americans (people, who were not long ago called “ethnics” and today are loosely and ironically defined as “Anglos”) was a long and often painful process, and depended on a set a of historical conditions and cultural circumstances that have vanished.

The Jewish Immigrant Experience Was Atypical
Popular perceptions of immigrant experience in America have been oddly skewed because the story has been largely told by Jews about Jews. The Jewish narrative has come to be understood as prototypical when, in fact, it was unique. This has led to profound misapprehension of the more common pattern – an error that carries large consequences for immigration policy and attitudes towards immigrants –on the part of great numbers of people, Jews included, who ought to know better. Jews have always been the exception to the rule. Almost each critical aspect of their immigration experience – the reasons they emigrated to the U.S., their communal history in their countries of origin, and how they acculturated into America – is vastly different from the circumstances of almost every other immigrant group, Armenians excepted.

First and foremost, as we’ve noted, the Jews who arrived in the great wave of immigration at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries more closely resembled refugees and asylum seekers than immigrants. Though the quest for economic opportunity motivated many Jews to come to America, they came chiefly to escape religious persecution and political oppression. Unlike the substantial percentage of Italians, Poles, and the other Slavs who eventually returned to Europe, Jews migrated in only one direction. Given where they had come from and what they had left behind, often fleeing for their very lives, Jewish immigrants enthusiastically embraced the ideals of patriotic assimilation into American society (indeed too enthusiastically for those concerned with a loss of Jewish identity). Within a few years of arrival in the United States, Jewish immigrants mastered English. Within a generation, Yiddish was rarely, if ever, spoken by their American-born children.

Distinct, de facto and de jure, from the majority culture in every society in which they had previously lived, Jewish immigrants did not bring to America any lingering allegiance to their countries of origin or to the dominant political or religious culture or ideologies that flourished there (with the exceptions of socialism and Marxism, sympathies that evaporated within a few years following their arrival), as did almost every other group of immigrants. Having lived for centuries as minority cultural outsiders in often hostile societies gave Jews a distinct advantage over millions of people who were experiencing minority status for the first time. In places like Poland and Czarist Russia Jews had developed survival mechanisms that made the adjustment to America relatively easy.

In those countries, segments of the host Christian population, often semi-governmental bodies like the Black Hundreds in Russia, often sought to kill them; in America the host population was satisfied with keeping them out of their neighborhoods, professional associations, country clubs, and elite universities. Distinct as the Jewish immigrant experience was from that of other immigrants who came at the same time, it is even more different from that of today’s immigrants.

While the non-Jewish immigrants of a century ago also maintained strong emotional ties to their countries of origin, their societies and cultures were neither hostile to America nor obsessed with it, and they certainly did not blame America for their every problem. Much of the non-European world and virtually all the Muslim world was then part of the British, French, or Russian colonial empires; before the First World War America was not a great global power. And, of course, at the end of that conflict it was Woodrow Wilson in his uplifting if delusional Fourteen Points who preached against empire and advocated home-rule for many colonized peoples. Political circumstances and attitudes could not be more different now. Anti-American hostility is a hallmark of the societies from which most Muslim immigrants and many Latinos hail, and the values inculcated in people from a host of corrupt and brutal dictatorial regimes and quasi-fascist theocracies are very much at odds with those most Americans hold dear.

Between the worldview of the United States, indeed between the worldview of most non-Muslim nations and the Islamic one, is a much deeper, perhaps unbridgeable cultural divide that bears directly on the question of Muslim acculturation – this falls into the “Clash of Civilizations” thesis that has gained great strength in recent years. The very concept of the nation state commanding the loyalty of its citizens is a highly problematic one in much of the Muslim world, and not only because many of the countries that comprise it were drawn haphazardly on maps by European colonial diplomats and statesmen who were shockingly ignorant of the religion and the culture of the peoples under their sway, and whose “nation-building” in the Muslim world was largely secondary to and a mere offshoot of the rivalry for global power among them.

For much of the world’s Muslim population, the central organizing communal principle is not the polity of the state but the Umma, the world that is ruled by the laws of the Koran, not by any temporal ruler, set of secular constitutional principles, or territories denominated as countries flying different flags. It is no accident that when Osama bin Laden expresses his ideal of the right global order, he recalls the Caliphates and the Ottoman Empire – pan-national Islamic domains in which the unifying idea was Islamic religion and law, and in which the idea of the nation state had no place. It is arguable that it is impossible for a devout Muslim ever to be a patriot in a non-Muslim society.

Even among the Mexicans who comprise the dominant immigrant group in America today there is a strong tradition of anti-U.S. resentment and historical grievance. A widely-shared belief among many Mexicans is that the gringos are responsible for their chronic economic woes. Nor have they forgotten that a sizable chunk of the American Southwest was conquered by the United States in the Mexican War of 1846-1848. For some, the act of flooding America with their Mexican countrymen, legally or illegally, is part of an undeclared, low-intensity war of Reconquista. Because the two nations are joined by a long porous border – the longest on earth between a First World and a Third World country – continuous two-way migration inhibits any strong identification with the United States. When I worked as National Affairs Director at AJC I was, ipso facto, a board member of the National Immigration Forum, the main lobbying group for open borders, and the extent of the anti-Americanism and language of Reconquista was shocking even to one who saw himself in those days as a card-carrying liberal multiculturalist.

Perhaps the most important distinction between today’s immigrants and those of yesteryear is the absence of the tacit and overt pressures that eventually forced assimilation upon even the most reluctant immigrant groups. These forces have been weakened by the prevailing multiculturalist ideology that legitimizes and reinforces identity politics, the demise of Americanization programs that inculcated patriotic assimilation (multiculturalism denies the very existence or even desirability of a legitimate, cohesive American culture), the death of civic education, the rise of bilingualism, and the elimination of any obligation to do national service. As noted, it is massive immigration itself that creates Balkanizing multiculturalism; it did not fall from the sky.

Then there are the simple practical differences that carry gigantic consequences: the revolution in modern transportation and communications technology allows immigrants to maintain strong bonds with native lands, cultures, and languages – something not true a hundred years ago. As a result, many “immigrants” are in fact permanent resident aliens who live simultaneously in two societies but who naturally maintain primary loyalty to the cultural and political heritage of their countries of origin – the places where they were reared, had their early formative experiences, were educated, and socialized.

Thus, to assume automatically today’s immigrants will be as rapidly absorbed into the mainstream as were our parents and grandparents constitutes a one-legged leap of faith and very risky proposition. There is no reason to believe that the unique Jewish experience, unrepresentative even of an age when Americanization was upheld as the ideal, will be replicated in one in which that ideal is ridiculed and rejected by the practitioners of ethnic identity politics who work for an array of ethnic lobby groups and human relations organizations largely created and financed by a group of left-leaning, multiculturalist, major national foundations, the politically-correct professorate, and many influential mainstream media opinion-makers.

So much is different today: the immigrants are different; the country and its social institutions are different; the economy is different; the technology is different; and what is deemed normative is different. To believe the outcome will be the same under an entirely distinct set of conditions on the ground as well as in social and political constructs is not merely willful thinking: it is simply preposterous.

Trouble on the Home Front
While American Jews have an emotional stake in the survival and success of Israel, they have personal stake in anti-Semitism in the United States. Anti-Semitism is an immensely complex phenomenon attributable to a myriad of social, cultural, economic, political, psychological, religious, even metaphysical factors. But on a purely practical level, some very important distinctions are simple enough, as well as crucial; there is a great difference between harboring anti-Semitic sentiments, and feeling the license to act on them. In the Western democracies where the vast majority of Jews outside Israel reside, the degree to which anti-Semitism is felt and expressed is closely linked to immigration. As noted by the Anti-Defamation League – which dogmatically supports open immigration and routinely savages anyone who is critical of current U.S. immigration policies – Western Europe holds the dubious distinction of leading the world in anti-Semitic violence. Recent waves of anti-Jewish violence, ADL observes, “have tended to originate chiefly among Muslim immigrant circles in Europe, with extreme right groups jumping on the bandwagon.”

While overt acts of anti-Semitic violence are much rarer in the United States, they are not unheard of, and are increasingly perpetrated by Muslim youth. Nowhere in America has the resurgence of anti-Semitism more manifested itself, sometimes thinly disguised as anti-Zionism, than on college campuses. Anti-Jewish hate speech masquerading as anti-Zionism is commonplace on campuses all across the United State today, and has on a number of occasions crossed the thin line that separates free speech from incitement. Indeed, at the present time, the campus is the most inhospitable place for Jews and supporters of Israel in the U.S., something the national Jewish organizations have come to recognize. Hillel, the most typical institutional Jewish presence on America’s campuses, is belatedly addressing this by developing talking-points and backgrounders for Jewish students so they can defend themselves against assaults on Israel and Judaism by the growing numbers of politically active Arab and Islamist students. There is an active movement advocating the divesting of any university assets invested in Israel, and while it has not gained much momentum, with college president after president bravely rejecting the idea out of hand –Israel is not the moral equivalent of apartheid South Africa – it adds to the air of toxicity surrounding attitudes towards the Jewish state.

In May 2002, a small group of Jewish students and faculty, demonstrating on the campus of San Francisco State University in favor of a peaceful solution to violence in the Middle East, were surrounded by a much larger mob of mostly Islamic students who threatened them physically and taunted them with chants like, “Death to the Jews” and “Hitler didn’t finish the job.” Eventually, the trapped Jewish students and faculty had to be escorted to safety by the San Francisco Police. Far from mobilizing the university’s leadership to confront overt anti-Semitism, the incident was hushed up so as not to create tension with the campus’ large and militant Arab student population.

Similar incidents, in which Jewish students and supporters of Israel have been subjected to overt intimidation, have occurred all across the U.S. and Canada. On the campus of Concordia University in Canada, Muslim students forced the cancellation of a speech by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by threatening organized violence.

Only a few months ago, Nathan Scharansky was hit in the face with a pie on the campus at Rutgers, by a convenient Jewish idiot. Faculty committees across the country have worked to ban from their campuses scholars on the Middle East that are not deemed politically correct, Daniel Pipes being a key example. It also appears that Senators Kennedy and Harkin, as well as some eight other Senators, on the Committee that oversees appointments to the U.S. Institute for Peace, regard the poor, brilliant scholar Daniel Pipes as an unfit bigot because of his temerity to tell the truth about Islamism. Luckily President Bush has made a recess appointment.

To date, assaults on Jews and Jewish institutions have been far fewer than in Europe, but American Jews already live under a state of heightened threat. A visit to New York, home to America’s largest Jewish population, provides startling and irrefutable visual evidence that Jews no longer live in safety and security. Virtually every high-profile Jewish institution in New York is surrounded by concrete barriers to prevent car bombs from exploding too close to the building, while being checked by security guards and passing through metal detectors are now as routine a part of attending synagogue services as putting on a kepah, or skullcap. The sense of Jewish insecurity is by no means confined to New York. Throughout the country, in communities with a substantial Muslim presence, security is now a critical part of planning any sort of Jewish political or communal event – especially those intended to demonstrate support for Israel. A speech by an outside speaker known as a supporter of Israel or a critic of Islamism is sufficient to ensure an armed police presence.

Reality is beginning to dawn on many American Jews that something is amiss, although it still seems to be lost on some of the country’s most venerable Jewish organizations. There is a sad if also somewhat comic irony to the fact that legions of employees at organizations like ADL, the American Jewish Committee, and the Presidents’ Conference must pass through a gauntlet of concrete barriers, armed guards, metal detectors, and double bulletproof anterooms as they come to work each morning to protect them from radical Islamic terrorists, in order to spend their days studying and then disseminating reports on the “threat” posed by Evangelical Christians or the non-issue of Mormon conversion of dead Jews or the imaginary anti-Semitism that “The Passion of the Christ” did not produce. Meanwhile, the legislative affairs staffs of these same organizations are directed to lobby against the very immigration reforms that could minimize the danger.

In recent years – particularly since Sept. 11, 2001 – Jewish organizations have devoted increased resources and attention to the activities of radical Islamic groups in the United States. The web sites of most major Jewish groups are filled with alarming information about the activities of these groups, many with documented ties to those that blow Israeli schoolchildren to bits on buses and in pizzerias. Amazingly, however, these Jewish watchdog organizations fail to employ the most basic logic and ask the most obvious question: How did they get here? When will they stop kidding themselves and simply connect the dots? Not one of these groups has even been willing to examine the potential impact of mass immigration, including mass Muslim and Islamist immigration, on American Jewry, much less take a position calling for changes in U.S. immigration policy.

One of the most troubling phenomena that has been widely reported by people such as Steven Emerson, Daniel Pipes, and many others – including courageous dissidents within the Muslim community – though largely ignored by the mainstream media and the political establishment: many of the key “American” Islamic civic and charitable institutions that have sprung up in the United States over the past 30 years are little more than domestic incarnations of foreign Islamist political parties. Among the primary objectives the U.S.-based Arab and Muslim organizations are the undermining of Jewish political influence in the United States, the propagation of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, and the destruction of Israel.

Frequently masquerading as ethnic anti-discrimination organizations, such entities as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the American Muslim Council (AMC), the Muslim Student Association (MSA), and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) are either offshoots of or maintain close ties to some of the most radical terrorist groups round the globe. Many “mainstream” Islamic organizations have their roots firmly planted in the same bloody soil that spawned groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and even al-Qaeda. In addition, many American mosques, often built, maintained and controlled with money from the fundamentalist Saudi-based Wahabbi sect – serve as hosts to radical preachers from across the Islamic world who manage to slip through the notoriously lax U.S. visa issuance process. In one recent and particularly flagrant case, a mullah was arrested in Europe after boasting of having raised $20 million for Osama bin Laden at the El Farooq Mosque in Brooklyn.

As recently as January 12, 2004, it was reported in the New York Times that a prominent Muslim cleric, Fawaz Mohammed Damrah, who runs the largest mosque in Ohio, was arrested for concealing his ties to terrorist organizations when he entered the United States 10 years ago. In the language of the indictment, Damrah lied to immigration officials about his active involvement in religious persecution “when in fact he had previously incited and/or assisted others, including terrorist organizations, that advocated the persecution of Jews and others by means of violent terrorist attacks.” It is sadly true of many mosques in the United States that the Friday sermon is regularly used to preach the hatred of Jews. Dr. Martin Luther King once noted that Sunday morning was the “most segregated time in the week” in an America that has largely, thankfully, passed into history. It might be noted that in today’s America, in mosques all across the land, Friday afternoon is the “most hateful” time of the week.

The true nature of virtually all Islamic organizations in America is reflected by the fact that more than half of all Islamic “charities” operating in the United States have been closed down as a result of investigations launched after 9/11. These so-called charities, which had operated openly with tax-exempt status, were front groups that served as recruiting agencies and financial support mechanisms for Islamic terrorist organizations from all over the world. In some cases, these “charities” were found to be directly funding terrorism against Israel and compensating the families of terrorist bombers who murdered school children, diners, shoppers, and bus riders in Israel.

Concern over the nature and real agendas of Islamic organizations in America is hardly a parochial Jewish matter. The Muslim terrorists on 9/11 did not distinguish among Americans based on religion, or indeed any other factor; they slaughtered Americans of every background, and their hatred of America comes right behind their hatred of Jews – wherever they are found. Thus, a seamless confluence of interests (among them simple survival) unites all Americans – Jewish or otherwise – with regard to the danger represented by the Muslim-Islamist presence in the United States. That this is a national concern is made clear in a news story in the Washington Post of January 14, which concerns a request by the Senate Finance Committee to the Internal Revenue Service to provide it “confidential tax and financial records, including donors lists, of dozens of Muslim charities and foundations as part of a widening Congressional investigation into alleged ties between tax-exempt organizations and terrorist groups.” The request by the Finance Committee comes on the heels of two-years of investigations by the Treasury Department, the FBI, and other agencies of the federal government into Muslim “charities” with suspected ties to Al Qaeda.

Needless to say, such Islamist organizations as CAIR (Council of American Islamic Relations) are charging the investigators with bias and bigotry, of conducting a “fishing expedition” into the Muslim community rather than acknowledging that any problem exists. Among the “charities” and foundations of principal interest to the Senate Finance Committee are: the SAAR Foundation and associated entities; Global Relief, an organization whose founder has been deported; as well as the largest of all Muslim “charities” in the United States, the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, an organization that investigators believe is tied to the terrorist group Hamas. And it does not stop there; also under investigation for links to Islamist terrorism are the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, the Muslim World League, and the Islamic Society of North America.

This is not the appropriate context in which to engage in a full discussion about attitudes towards Jews in so-called classical Islam – we are focusing on what is referred to as political Islam. But it must be pointed out, as many of my friends and colleagues who grew up as orthodox Muslims across the Islamic patrimony have said to me in agonizing personal confessions, friends that went through madrassah education and then advanced learning in Islam in countries ranging from Morocco, to Egypt, to Bosnia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, that it is virtually impossible to be reared in classical Islam and not be educated to hate Jews – based on a literalist reading of the Koran, where many of the Suras concerning Jews are monstrously hateful, murderous, terrifying, as well as the literature of the Sunnah. These texts also regard Jews as a spiritually fraudulent entity – all the prophets and great figures of the Hebrew Bible, according to Islamic teaching, were Muslims, not Jews. No wonder Yassir Arafat, and old graduate of the Egyptian Brotherhood and far more a pan-Islamist than a Palestinian nationalist, denies any connection between Jews and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

It is hard to hear, and extremely painful to say it, but at his historical moment, barring an Islamic Enlightenment, arguably the only way to be a Muslim and not a Jew-hater is to be a lapsed Muslim or – if one continues to call oneself a Muslim and practice the faith – to conduct what is, in essence, a private and personal “reformation” and do what no devout Muslim would ever publicly confess: pick and choose among the content of Muslim holy scripture, then treat the Koran as the divinely-inspired work of human beings but not the literal word of God. This is happening everywhere, of course, whether among more moderate Muslims in such places as Morocco, especially among its Berbers, or among Turkish Muslims. But the act constitutes heresy according to all leading Islamic authorities. Such picking and choosing, leaving behind the rude and barbarous aspect of sacred text that reflects the barbarous historical conditions of its authors, is routine for the overwhelming majority of Christians and Jews in the world that view the New Testament or the Hebrew Bible as the divinely-inspired work of human beings, and thus as historically conditioned, and amenable to interpretation, emphasis, and de-emphasis.

But the status of the Koran among devout Muslims is different than that accorded Holy Scripture by virtually all Christians and Jews: the Koran more closely approximates what the Eucharist represents for religious Christians: it is the body of God, the direct word of God, and thus any interpretive enterprise, any effort to build a community of scholarly discourse regarding the continuing validity of outworn usages, is regarded as heretical, and heretics are still sentenced to death in Islamic societies.

Still, many are accomplishing this hopeful version of the Greater Jihad, the internal struggle for spiritual growth, but until religious and even secular authorities with the Islamic patrimony publicly embrace this shift, there will be no political counterweight to Islamism. One can only pray that in time, what I believe to be millions of silent reformations will find their public voice, and then there might be safety, as well as solidarity, in numbers. As my Muslim friends that are scholars of Islam remind me, the intellectual work of this reform was accomplished long ago – one sees it as early as in the 8th century “heresy” committed under the early Abbasid Caliphate that chose to view sacred text as Jews and Christians regard theirs: not as a living incarnation of the Divine nor as a fetish, but as the divinely inspired works of human beings, children of their time, and subject to limited historical understanding.

The intellectual work has been accomplished long ago; Muslims know precisely what to do. The impediment is the political power and ruthlessness of their enemies, the capacity and willingness of their enemies to forever stunt the growth of a great living breathing humane Islam through intimidation and murder, an Islam that that might yet have so much to offer to the world. Whatever the risks, these secret Muslims of the enlightenment must step forward, ignore the charge that will be leveled against them that they are engaging in takfir (impiety), an accusation that leads to excommunication from Islam in the eyes of “the faithful,” and save Islam from itself.

There are, of course, non-devout Muslim Americans that hail from Islamic societies that don’t support the radical agendas of those that purport to represent their interests in the United States. Some independent Muslim thinkers believe that such moderates form a silent majority within Islamic America. But if such a majority exists, their silence would appear to indicate assent rather than opposition – though it may also indicate self-censorship out of fear of retribution. With the exception of a tiny group of courageous American Muslims – mostly academics, journalists, and freelance writers – who have spoken out and condemned extremism, anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, the “Muslim Street” in the U.S. has yet to show its disapproval of this philosophical and political agenda.

As we’ve intimated, one reason so few American Muslims have publicly broken with the Islamist orthodoxy that increasingly dominates American-Muslim communal life is because these organizations, their members and fellow-travelers, employ physical intimidation, threats of violence, economic pressure, and foster shunning, enforcing conformity and isolating and destroying independent-minded Muslims. They have orchestrated fatwas by foreign mullahs against dissident Muslim secular intellectuals who have been forced to take refuge in safe houses; instigated death threats against such prominent religious moderates as the Sufi leader Sheik Hisham Muhammad Kabbani (whose movement, the Islamic Supreme Council of America, has 200 mosques); have organized boycotts against and then threatened the life of the wife of the Muslim publisher of a critically-acclaimed newspaper dealing with events in Pakistan; and routinely issue hysterical attacks against books and articles (which of course go unread) or speech that deals objectively with any aspect of Islamic history, politics, belief, or practice.

Of course it is incomparably worse throughout the Islamic world, where courageous independent Muslim thinkers are routinely murdered by Islamists; their body count in only the last few decades runs into the hundreds of thousands. This has not silenced luminaries like Mehmet Aydin in Turkey, Ali Asghar Engineer in India; Abdel Rahman Lakassi in Morrocco, Bassam Tibi in Germany, Rashid Ahmad Jullundri in Pakistan, or Muslim believers in pluralism and freedom of conscience associated with the Ibn Khaldún Society founded and led by the fearless Khalid Durán. One hopes the day will dawn when their work and that of American-Muslim scholars like Radwan Masmoudi, Sohail Hasmi and others will find a larger and larger audience and end the intellectual fossilization of Islam and the war between Islam, democracy, and pluralism. But that day lies in the distant future; our first responsibility now is protecting America from the Islamism that produced 9/11 and targets “Jews and Crusaders.”

I should note, in anticipation of the inevitable charge that I am a racist or a xenophobe, that my dear moderate Muslim friends, many who go by the name “Freethinkers,” are equally adamant about opposing large-scale Muslim/Islamist immigration at time when extremism is so rife among the populations seeking entry to the United States. The adherents of those movements pose not only a danger to the Constitutional values and democratic pluralism they came to American to find, but they also poses a direct physical danger to these courageous dissident Muslims. Those of us seeking to curtail the anarchy that passes for current immigration have, and will find, many allies among intellectuals from the Arab and larger Islamic patrimony that wish to create a new Islam under American circumstances, and do not wish to be stopped dead in their tracks – or shot dead – by members of the benighted masses that enter this country, socialized only to hate pluralism and free thought.

The Potential Loss of Political Influence
It would be an understatement to say that American Jews have achieved unprecedented political power and influence in the United States. We have already cited a good deal of the evidence. This power and influence stands as testament to how successfully Jews, who represent just above 2 percent of the U.S. population, have assimilated (in the most positive sense of that word) into the American political, cultural, and economic mainstream. It also stands as a tribute to the openness and the tolerance of the vast majority of the American people who have come to accept Jews as full-fledged Americans who happen to practice a different religion.

Living at the high noon of Jewish political power, it will strike some as alarmist and counter-intuitive to suggest that the sky may be about to fall. Yet that is precisely what may happen within the next 20 years. The Jewish population of the United States is about to be eclipsed by an ethnic group whose interests are in direct conflict with those of American Jews and many of whose leaders and members are openly hostile to Jews. The American constitution, the basic integrity of the vast majority of the American population, and the professionalism of American law enforcement may militate against the kind of anti-Semitic violence taking place in France and elsewhere in Europe; they will at least slow down its progress. What those two intangible attributes will not be able to prevent, however, is the loss of political support for Israel that would doom the Jewish state to complete political isolation.

Without minimizing the effectiveness of lobby organizations like AIPAC and other American Jewish organization in steering U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction, it must be noted that for many years they have been pushing on an open door. Once the old Arabist crowd at the State Department and the several notably anti-Semitic Secretaries of State and members of the diplomatic corps departed the scene, except for politicians on the extreme left or right who have an ideological antipathy for Israel and are generally unsympathetic to the Jewish community, support for Israel and high levels of deference towards the concerns of the American-Jewish community has been a political no-brainer. It has brought substantial benefits and no downside.

The fact is that the celebrated “Jewish lobby” won battle after battle by simple default. A politician who supported Israel could count on the backing of Jewish voters in his home state or district. Even if there were no Jewish voters back home to speak of, there would always be Jewish money available to support the campaigns of Israel’s friends in Congress. The political benefits of supporting Israel, combined with what was often a genuine empathy for a reliable American ally and the region’s only democracy, has resulted in a U.S. foreign policy – though it has had its ups and downs – that has generally tilted in Israel’s direction for 40 years.

What’s been missing from the political equation was a strong counter-veiling force. There has never been a significant constituency that has felt as strongly opposed to Israel as American Jews have felt in favor of Israel. There has certainly never been an anti-Israel constituency that was motivated enough to organize politically, form political PACs, and vote for or against a candidate based on his or her stance on Middle East policy. Now there is, and it is growing very rapidly and as a direct result of current immigration policy.

According to an October, 2002, Zogby poll, half of Arab-American voters state that Mideast policy is a “very important” consideration in determining their vote. The feeling is most intense among the growing pool of Arab voters who were born outside the United States, with nearly 60 percent of that cohort assessing the Mideast conflict as “very important.” The more established, U.S.-born Arab population is heavily Christian, while Arab immigration over the past 30 years has been predominantly Muslim. Thus, the fastest growing segment of the Arab American electorate is the segment that feels most intensely about and opposes U.S. policy in the Middle East. In a report on Arab-American polling results commissioned by Abu Dhabi Television after the 2000 elections, the Zogby Polling organization noted, “While recent immigrant Arab-Americans, in fact, show greater intensity of concern [about U.S. policy in the Middle East], the depth of concern of the first, second and third generation Arab Americans is still impressive.” In other words, the Arab-American electorate is growing rapidly; the largest growth is taking place among people who feel a deep, emotional stake in the Arab-Israeli conflict; and the depth of that feeling remains intense even after several generations in the United States. Additionally, Arab-American voter participation – 62 percent in 1996, 65 percent in 2000 – is substantially higher than that of the general population, adding even more weight to their growing numbers.

Even after Muslims outnumber Jews in the United States, Jews are likely to maintain a political advantage for a time by virtue of the fact that they are well entrenched in the “old boys” network in Washington and other centers of power. Israel will also continue to enjoy strong support from millions of Evangelical Christians who see the Jews’ return to the Holy Land – and their continuance there – as part of the biblical prophecy that presages the Second Coming. And not only that; the tens of thousands of Evangelical Christians that travel regularly to Israel have also developed warm personal relations with individual Israelis and a love for the country. Certainly their theology is what primarily motivates them, but they also form natural, prosaic human attachments.

The clock will eventually run out on such advantages. The fastest growing religious group in America, Muslims are organizing politically to promote their interests. Ironically, they often cite Jewish political organizations as their model for wielding influence in the United States. Demography plus money equals political power. American Jews, in a good economic year, typically contributes about $600 million to Israel. By contrast, the Saudi regime spends about $5 billion annually to promote “Islamization” around the world. To further underscore the imbalance in resources, the $600 million American Jews sent to Israel was equaled by what the Saudis spent last year alone in Bosnia, a country of 1.5 million people. Though foreign regimes cannot, by law, pump money into domestic U.S. political races, Saudi and other Arab oil money can mount huge indirect campaigns aimed at influencing U.S. public opinion and policy. Combined with a growing and highly motivated Islamic voting bloc in the U.S., the demography + money equation will inevitably work against strong political support for Israel.

In addition, social liberals who tend to be most supportive of open immigration will also find that a growing, influential, and socially conservative Muslim population is at odds with their most cherished allegiances. Church-state separation, sacred to secular liberals, is anathema to the Islamic clerics who run the vast majority of mosques and religious schools in the United States. Social liberals, and no cohort in America is more socially liberal than Jews, will also find fierce Islamist opposition to freedom of expression, women’s rights, abortion rights, and gay rights. There is also little if any tolerance from these quarters for speech and writings that are deemed offensive to Islam, or the Prophet. Even if they cannot impose official censorship against blasphemers, the experience of Salman Rushdie in Europe stands as an object lesson of the sort of self-censorship that can occur when an offended minority group vents its righteous indignation over words and ideas that they find highly objectionable. The informal censorship imposed by fear of reprisal by fanatics can be just as effective a mechanism to control free expression as state power.

Muslim and Arab political PACs are springing up all across the country preparing for the day when their numbers make them a force to be reckoned with. The defeat of two strongly pro-Palestinian House members in bitterly contested Democratic primary races in 2002 is being used as a clarion call by Arab and Muslim American groups to redouble their political organizing efforts. In analyzing the defeats of two black Southern Democrats, Earl Hilliard (Alabama) and Cynthia McKinney (Georgia), James Zogby, president of the Arab-American Institute noted that “Arab-Americans have substantial political resources and allies and we can work to overcome the impact of these setbacks.” Prominent Arab and Muslim Americans must avoid the kind of political “foolishness” that led a leader of the self-described “mainstream” American Muslim Council to stand in front of the White House and declare his support for Hamas and Hezbollah while the video cameras were rolling, cautions Zogby. That leader, by the way, Mr. Allamoudy, is now under indictment for laundering money for terrorist organizations.

In addition to political strength derived from their own increasing numbers, the Arab and Palestinian cause has the backing of a coalition of aggrieved minority groups who see themselves and Muslim Americans as victims of an oppressive power structure. They also enjoy strong backing among foreign policy multilateralists plus anti-globalists, like those who took to the streets to oppose U.S. action in Iraq, who want to see international matters – like the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict – left to bodies like the United Nations.

Upsetting the Status Quo
There is something analogous to religious faith among American Jews in the Constitution as the ultimate protector of our rights and security in the United States. Certainly the Constitution is the most enlightened governing treatise ever devised by human beings. But in the final analysis it is still just words on a piece of paper. Many nations have had enlightened constitutions, expressing lofty ideals and, nevertheless, turned on the Jews and other minorities. France is the perfect example.

What sets the United States apart from other societies in which Jews live and have lived over the centuries is the nexus between the principles asserted in the Constitution and the American people themselves. The protections of the Constitution would mean nothing were it not for a population that has believed in it, bled for it, and struggled with itself to see to it that its principles are applied to all who live in the United States. The Constitution has made the American people what they are, but the American people make the Constitution a living, breathing document.

American Jews have also been blessed to live in a society where the contagion of anti-Semitism has never been as deeply rooted or as widespread as it is in much of the rest of the world. This is attributable to many factors, but it is primarily a tribute to the social and cultural forces that have shaped the nation. No country has ever been completely free of anti-Semitism, but since the middle of the 20th century, the United States has come as close as any society ever has.

Nevertheless, change is well underway. Unceasing large-scale immigration, unprecedented in its magnitude and duration, is in the process of reshaping the nation. By the middle of this century, the United States will become a nation without a majority ethnic population, a situation that is not necessarily problematic by itself, though it will undoubtedly represent a challenge to social cohesion. Infinitely more worrying, strong multicultural forces are simultaneously deconstructing in theory and in fact the ideal and reality of a dominant, common culture, one that links Americans of all racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. During this volatile transformation period, the balance between group identity and a larger sense of national belonging has swung decidedly in the direction of tribal identity among many new immigrants. Many of these new cultures being introduced to the multicultural “salad bowl” harbor long traditions of anti-Semitism, and in the case of Muslims, are in direct conflict with Jews over issues that command the deepest emotional allegiances of both communities.

Perhaps this prognosis is too gloomy and it will all work itself out for the best in the end. Perhaps the assimilative forces that liberated last century’s European immigrants from their deeply rooted anti-Semitic prejudices will succeed in tempering the animosity of Muslim and Latin-Catholic immigrants. But if American Jewish leaders are going to continue to support this sort of mass immigration, or at least tacitly accept it, they must understand and honestly acknowledge the risks. And they must stop acting like ghetto Jews and confront the dangers of Islamism in this country openly and with confidence. They will find their concerns, as well as their well-being, are supported by the great majority of Americans. They can and should have greater confidence in their Christian neighbors.

Should the day come when Jews find themselves disempowered, vulnerable, and threatened 20 or 30 years from now in a very different America, the one thing Jewish leaders as well as ordinary American Jews must never be allowed to say is, “We didn’t see it coming.” The historical record of America’s major Jewish organizations in confronting the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust is cause for shame; at the very least it is cause for a considerable measure of humility and a far greater willingness to re-evaluate long-held positions in the face of new realities.

Two stories from those terrible years suffice: in the summer of 1939, when the St. Louis stood offshore with its desperate cargo of German-Jewish refugees, symbolizing for all the world the plight of Jews seeking to escape the devouring maw of Nazism, the American Jewish Committee was unable to assemble its Executive Board to meet because the members could not be troubled to interrupt their summer vacations. Then there was the celebrated meeting of Jan Karski, the heroic Polish Christian officer and courier of the Home Army (Armija Krajowka) who had been twice smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto, as well as the Majdanek Concentration Camp so he could see with his own eyes and record with precision for posterity the annihilation of the Jews of Poland, risking only his own life in doing this, but also that of his entire family.

Those who have seen Claude Lanzmann’s magisterial documentary film Shoah will recall the elderly Karski in the film’s opening sequences, a man so overwhelmed with pain and recalled agony he can barely speak. He relates his meeting with F.D.R. who could not be made to show the least interest in the terrible, earth-shattering message he was bringing back from hell to the “normal” world. What is less well-known is his equally ill-fated attempt to deliver his message to the most prominent court Jew of the day, Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter. When Karski completed his long narrative of what he had seen, one filled with carefully observed details in which he concentrated on fact after fact in order not to be accused of seeking to overwhelm with emotion, Justice Frankfurter turned to him and said, ”Sir, I do not believe a single word you are telling me.”

Today’s leaders of those same organizations should humbly recall this vast historic catastrophe – as well as the total and utter failure of their predecessors as guardians of the Jewish people – as they look at this issue, consider the future, and ponder the choices they can evade no longer.