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Kevin MacDonald - Was the 1924 Inmmigration Cut-Off Racist

Kevin MacDonald - Was the 1924 Inmmigration Cut-Off Racist

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VDARE.COM - http://www.vdare.com/macdonald/040619_1924_immigration.htm
June 19, 2004
Was the 1924 Immigration Cut-off “Racist”?
[Also by Kevin MacDonald: Thinking About Neoconservatism ]
When Dr. Stephen Steinlight firstadvocateda change in the traditional Jewish support for open borders, his reflexive loathing of the 1920s legislative cut-off that ended the FirstGreat Wave of immigration (seetimeline) overwhelmed the logic of his argument.He described the cut-off as
“evil, xenophobic, anti-Semitic,”
“vilely discriminatory,”
“vast moral failure,”
“monstrous policy.”
And he dismissed the vast majority of pre-1965 Americans as a
“thoughtless mob”
because they supported a near-completemoratorium on immigration.Three years of arguing with Jewish groups about immigration reform have apparently notchanged Steinlight’s mind on this point. In his most recent monograph,his only reference to the 1924 Act is that
“tens of thousands”
of Jews might have been saved from theHolocaust
“had the United States not closed its doors…”
The 1924 immigration cut-off enjoys analmost uniquely  bad press. Other examples:
* As an alert VDARE.COM reader recentlyspotted, even Governor Richard Lamm, immigration reformer hero of theSierra Club insurgency, conceded in an NPR debatethat the 1924 legislation was motivated by bigotry.* In a panel discussion on immigration on MSNBC’sScarborough Countrylast winter,RandallHamud,an Arab-American activist, responded to Pat Buchanan, who had praisedthe effective 1924-1965 immigration moratorium:
“He forgets that the earlierrestrictions on immigration were racist-driven.”
But were the 1920s restrictions
? What, exactly does that mean? Andcould it be that the opponents of those restrictions had their own ethnic motivations?Motivations still to be found today?Stephen Steinlight is a usefulstarting pointbecause he is quite frank in his belief that theonly legitimate consideration for immigration policy is his interpretation of Jewishcollective interests.
In my research on Jewish involvement in shaping immigration policy, I found that the organized Jewish community has been the most important force favoring unrestrictedimmigration to the U.S. In doing so, the various entities involved have consistently actedto further their own perceived collective interests—interests that are arguably in conflictwith those of the majority of Americans.We shouldn’t blanche at the thought of bringing up the issue of  ethnic interests. We all accept that African American leaders like Jesse Jackson are pursuing their perceivedethnic interests. No one would deny that the Mexican-American pro-immigrationactivists advocating open borders are pursuing their ethnic interests. But somehow it’sinappropriate or “racist” to bring up the fact that Jews and, yes, Europeans have ethnicinterests too. And they are all equally legitimate.By the time Jewish organizations and Jewish legislators sustained a (temporary) defeatover the 1921 and 1924 legislation, they had been at the forefront frustrating theimmigration restrictionists for over 30 years.By 1905, a strong element of American opinion had turned against immigration.Even ethnic and religious groups that stood to gain by immigration, such as the Irish, wereambivalent, and anyway were poorly organized and ineffective in influencing policy.At the time, pro-immigration activism was widely seen as a Jewish movement. Universityof Wisconsin sociologistEdward A. Rossstated in his 1914 book,
“The systematic campaign in newspapers and magazines to break down allarguments for restriction and to calmnativist fears is waged by and for one race. Hebrew money is behind the National Liberal Immigration League and itsnumerous publications. From the paper before the commercial body or the scientificassociation to the heavy treatise produced with the aid of the Baron de Hirsch Fund, the literature that proves the blessings of immigration to all classes in Americaemanates from subtle Hebrew brains.”
Throughout the entire period from the late 19
century to their eventual victory in 1965,Jewish pro-immigration efforts were characterized by strong leadership, generousfunding, sophisticated lobbying techniques, well-chosen non-Jewish allies, and goodtiming. The most visible Jewish activists, such asLouis Marshall,were intellectually brilliant. They were enormously energetic and resourceful in their crusades on behalf of immigration as well as other Jewish causes.This full court press exerted by Jewish organizations included intense and chilling
scrutiny of immigration opponents, such as SenatorHenry Cabot Lodge,and of  organizations like the Immigration Restriction League. Lobbyists in Washington alsokept a daily scorecard of voting tendencies as immigration bills wended their waythrough Congress. They engaged in intense and successful efforts to convince PresidentsTaft and Wilson to veto restrictive immigration legislation.Much of the effort was done more or less surreptitiously so as not to fan the flames of anti-Jewish sentiment. (Open anti-Jewish feelings were fairly common during this period,stemming from resentment at Jewish upward mobility, the great numbers of leftistpolitical radicals in the immigrant Jewish community, and dislike of the newcomers’perceived strong ethnic sense.) Jewish organizations supplied the funding for pro-immigration organizations such as the National Liberal Immigration League and theCitizens Committee for Displaced Persons. Non-Jews from eastern and southernEuropean countries were recruited to protest the effects of restrictionist legislation onimmigration from those areas.Why members of the Jewish community, which over so many centuries demonstratedsuch determination to preserve its distinctiveness, should have been so demonstrablyactive inpreventing the preservation of the nation in which they find themselves, is an interesting question.My hypothesis, advanced in several academicbooks: it is part of an evolutionary strategyaimed at advancing Jewish interests. As Leonard Glickman of theHebrew Immigrant AidSocietyhas put it memorably:
“The more diverse American society is, the safer
(“Community Questioning Open Door,” by Nacha Cattan,
November 29,2002).Of course, this does not involve all Jews, and some consciously reject it. But positiveattitudes and activism aimed at ending the pre-1965 ethnic homogeneity of the UnitedStates have been typical of the entire Jewish political spectrum and all of the main Jewishactivist organizations. These efforts were the driving force in favor of liberalizedimmigration up to the 1965 sea change in immigration law. This pattern continues intothe present.In the 1924 debates, the anti-restrictionists invariably alleged that their opponents saw theissue primarily in terms of 
They complained that restrictionistsviewed themselves as a superior ethnic group and argued that this view was immoral, andfurthermore had no scientific basis.Imputing motives of racial superiority had some plausibility because such ideas werecertainly in the air. For example, in his popular book 

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