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US Jewish official defends double standard: In Israel, immigrants ‘challenge Jewish character of the state’

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on 28 Comments

Two weeks back we picked up Daniel Sieradski’s great reporting showing that American Jewish organizations are very liberal in their support for illegal immigrants in the U.S. but become reactionary when the issue is illegal immigrants to Israel.

Well earlier this week Sieradski posted a twitter argument about the story that he had with Jeremy Burton, head of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, a member organization of the JCPA, a national body that lobbies on behalf of the Jewish community.

I have picked up most of the argument below. Fabulous. Hat’s off to Sieradski for exposing the transformation of Jewish political thought when it comes to Israel. Dialogue begins with Jeremy Burton commenting on a Haaretz post on the subject:

  1. What @haaretzonline writer fails to frame is that we apply different benchmarks to having a say on our country’s issues than on Israel’s.

  2. mobius1ski
    Got anything to back that up, Mr. JCRC? RT @BurtonJM: No. RT @haaretzonline: Are #U.S. #Jewish organizations hypocrites on immigration?

  3. BurtonJM
    @mobius1ski See my follow up tweet. You cant equate domestic US & Israel on via-a-vis Jewish orgs positions on this.

  4. BurtonJM
    @mobius1ski Immigration is a moral, economic & security issue. Our sense of “agency” to speak on it differs in our country & in Israel.

  5. mobius1ski
    @BurtonJM When your organization quotes the Torah re: “the stranger in your land” it’s talking about ISRAEL not the USA.

  6. mobius1ski
    @BurtonJM and if we don’t have agency to speak about this issue in israel, then why do we have agency to speak about conversion, etc.?

  7. BurtonJM
    @mobius1ski vis-a-vis Israel, mainstream Jews will talk about the moral issues, but will defer on the security issues.

  8. mobius1ski
    @BurtonJM really? u.s. jews defer on security? really, so when the gaza disengagement happened and all these jewish orgs were against it…

  9. BurtonJM
    @mobius1ski Fairly open US immigration supports & sustains the immigrant character of our nation.

  10. mobius1ski
    @BurtonJM and israel’s not an immigrant nation?

  11. BurtonJM
    @mobius1ski Non-Jewish immigration to Israel has the potential to challenge the Jewish character of the state.

  12. mobius1ski
    @BurtonJM that’s the same thing white nationalists say about immigration to the u.s. and its effect on the whiteness of america

  13. mobius1ski
    @BurtonJM that’s what you guys are REALLY afraid to talk about – the bottom line is tacit support for ethnocracy & thus discrimination

  14. BurtonJM
    @mobius1ski All of which is to say that the nuances of US & Israel are different & it is simplistic thinking to accuse orgs of hypocrisy.

  15. BurtonJM
    @mobius1ski And we Jews, by & large, dont support the American whiteness argument

  16. mobius1ski
    @BurtonJM you don’t support the white supremacist argument in the u.s., but you support the jewish supremacist argument in israel

  17. BurtonJM
    @mobius1ski Israel is a nation of Jewish immigrants & you know it. Are you just trying to twist words & facts?

  18. mobius1ski
    @BurtonJM i’m not twisting anything, you’re the one twisting yourself into knots trying to explain away your org’s indefensible hypocrisy

  19. BurtonJM
    @mobius1ski Always good to go with name calling. Very mature way to discuss a serious issue.

  20. mobius1ski
    @BurtonJM where did i call you a name, jeremy?

  21. BurtonJM
    @mobius1ski Calling my/communal orgs “hypocrites” general would be seen as name calling.

  22. mobius1ski
    @BurtonJM calling your org’s position hypocritical isn’t calling you a name, it’s making a basic factual observation

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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28 Responses

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      June 22, 2012, 6:03 pm

      Yes.

      And it was the same in the civil rights movements. Tons of Jews who paraded with blacks were true and genuine believers in the cause. But there were also a lot of opportunists (and I’m talking about the higher echelons now, not the grassroots) and this was evidenced by the quick abandonment of blacks post-1968 as Jews moved en masse into upscale white neighbourhoods and suddenly ‘the enemy’ became the friend.

      Same is true on immigration. A lot of it is just fluffy talk about ‘tikkun olam’ for the higher echelons while if you actually get a few of them truly honest, as your quote illustrates, it’s all about fear and trying to minimize the white population as to spread out the ‘risk’ of another Holocaust so that no population dominates one way or another.

      And taken from Sieradzki’s feed:

      you don’t support the white supremacist argument in the u.s., but you support the jewish supremacist argument in israel
      Daniel Sieradski
      5 days ago
      ReplyRetweet
      BurtonJM
      @mobius1ski Israel is a nation of Jewish immigrants & you know it. Are you just trying to twist words & facts?

      How is he twisting anything? Daniel is clearly understanding that the white supremacist argument of being against non-white immigration is shockingly racist and reactionary and very few Jews overall and none in the establishment supports that. But Israel is a special case, as always, and suddenly the politics of racial hysteria and blood purity is deadly serious.

      This is just another episode in much-needed but often-neglected debate of what Zionism actually means. Beinart talks aloof and in vague terms about ‘frictions’ but on issue after issue it’s a direct conflict. After all, nationalism based on blood(with religious elements fused in there for the sake of it) is not actually the hallmark of liberalism. And that’s why the conflation of Judaism and Zionism is so dangerous. Because when you stop and think about it, why should white nationalism be forbidden and Jewish nationalism should be allowed? There should be one standard. And I prefer the liberal one, not the nationalist one.

      But it’s clear that I’m in the minority position when compared to the Jewish organizations in America who bath shamelessly in hypocrisy on the issues as African migrants get rounded up because Israel ‘belongs to the white man'(according to the interior minister). Clearly something Jewish organizations support – but only in Israel.

  1. American
    American
    June 22, 2012, 1:08 pm

    Of course it’s hypocritical. Burton is another example of the Pilpul Truth argument—whatever is good for the Jews is the unchallengeable moral right and exception to everything.
    Doesn’t matter to them the rest of the world is floored by the obvious hypocrisy.

  2. hophmi
    hophmi
    June 22, 2012, 1:37 pm

    And a demonstration of why people like Dan have to be careful, because inevitably, the arguments he makes will be misused here to undermine Jewish political self-determination. Dan is a Zionist.

    Does anyone deny that immigration issues differ from country to country?

    Look, it’s simple. Let’s inundate Egypt with black African refugees and see how society reacts. There are 83m people in Arab Republic of Egypt; tens of thousands of African refugees shouldn’t be a problem for them.

    What’s that? The refugees come through Egypt? And Egypt shoots at them as a matter of policy?

    What’s that? Leftists don’t care about Arab human rights violation and societal racism in Arab countries?

    • annie
      annie
      June 22, 2012, 1:54 pm

      inundate? are we talking .5 % or what?

      Egypt shoots at them as a matter of policy?

      not the vast majority of them. i assume that was a question.

      Does anyone deny that immigration issues differ from country to country?

      not that i know of. i think it is particularly obvious in an ethnic racist state. who would deny that? why do you bother asking?

    • Light
      Light
      June 22, 2012, 2:14 pm

      No, Hophmi the issue here is the hypocrisy of American Jewish organizations that overwhelming support liberal and open immigration policies in the US at the same time they support repressive and racist immigration policies in Israel.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        June 22, 2012, 3:05 pm

        Oh, stop with this nonsense.

        1. American Jewish organizations have not indicated that they support any particular Israeli policy. Not heavily criticizing something is not the same as supporting it. As I’ve pointed out a number of times now, many AJ orgs have indeed criticized the policy, particularly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA). HIAS deals with immigration more closely than any other big American Jewish org, and the JCPA focuses on domestic policy. So there isn’t any hypocrisy here.

        2. Not every country has the same immigration policy. Israel is not the US. Neither is England or France or Holland. The issue of refugees and economic migrants moving from underdeveloped countries to developed countries is one all Western countries are dealing with in some respect. Nativist movements are hardly exclusive to Israel.

        Like most here, you offer no critique of Egypt, which has a policy of shooting these people on site if they’re caught crossing the border.

      • Light
        Light
        June 22, 2012, 7:56 pm

        “American Jewish organizations have not indicated that they support any particular Israeli policy”

        Hophmi, it was documented here the other day. Look it up. My local Jewish Federation is firmly controlled by the StandWithUs crowd when it comes to anything related to Israel. They have never criticized any Israeli policy.

      • MLE
        MLE
        June 23, 2012, 2:20 am

        Crossing the border into Israel, meaning theyre shooting Africans who are attempting to leave Egypt. So the Israeli government got Mubarak to set up a policy where the Egyptians do their dirty work.

        Don’t try to tell me they’re shooting at the borders of Sudan and Libya, because those borders are so porous the Egyptians don’t even bother. The only time I hear about them shooting Africans in the Sinai, which really only points to another destination.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        June 23, 2012, 5:18 pm

        Mubarak is not in power. It is a symptom of Arab racism toward black people.

      • tree
        tree
        June 23, 2012, 6:31 pm

        It is a symptom of Arab racism toward black people.

        Many Arabs are black. Many blacks are Arab. Many Egyptians are black and Arab. Its a symptom of your bias that you think that Egyptian police shooting at refugees crossing out of Egypt into Israel is “symptom” of Arab racism towards black people.

        From 2008:

        In a report released Wednesday, US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) says a disturbing new Egyptian policy has arisen seemingly in response to Israeli pressure on Cairo to control the flow of migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers across the border. They call it a policy of “shoot-to-stop.”

        “Egyptian border police are using lethal force to stop refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers from crossing into Israel,” says Bill Van Esveld, author of the HRW report. “That is a violation of the standard under international law, which Egypt is held to: if you do not need to use lethal force to protect human life, that you don’t.”

        ….

        Haroun’s death occurred just weeks after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met to discuss the border issue. After the meeting, Israel announced it would return migrants and asylum seekers to Egypt, which promised to treat them humanely. Activists say many returnees were never heard from again.

        Mr. Van Esveld says such returns are illegal under international law, and that the group faces inhumane treatment.

        http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2008/1113/p06s03-wome.html

        BTW, according to Wikipedia, there are 2 million Sudanese living in Egypt.

      • MLE
        MLE
        June 25, 2012, 5:37 am

        SCAF is and most of the policies Mubarak set up are still in place.

        a lot of white people in Arizona are racist towards hispanics, but they don’t shoot the ones who are going BACK in Mexico

      • MLE
        MLE
        June 25, 2012, 5:42 am

        I’m not going to deny Arab racism towards blacks because it exists but they’re not shooting at black people coming into Egypt, they’re shooting the ones crossing the borders into another country.
        Only Israel trolls fail to grasp this pretty open and shut case as to why Egyptian police officers shoot at people trying to leave, while there is little effort to stop them coming in.

      • blg432
        blg432
        June 22, 2012, 3:10 pm

        Havent you heard, Light? “It is simplistic thinking to accuse orgs of hypocrisy.”

        Why? um.. well. ahem. :cough:

      • ColinWright
        ColinWright
        June 23, 2012, 2:15 am

        That’s because while they like a nice, docile Guatemalan gardener here they can all too readily sympathize with the desire of Israeli Jews not to have blacks there.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      June 22, 2012, 2:18 pm

      “Does anyone deny that immigration issues differ from country to country? ”

      Yes, and the issue in israel and among it lackeys in the rest of the world, is the fact that the refugee conflict with the ethno-religious bigotry at the heart of zionism. That’s what this story is pointing out: that disgusting notion that occupied Palestine is “white man’s” country.

      “Leftists don’t care about Arab human rights violation and societal racism in Arab countries?”

      No, this is the idiocy that you never seem to get: we care about human rights, period. And we are critical of any violation of them, by Arabs or by Israel. But the issue here is Israel’s response, especially in light of the pogroms they had there recently, so the comments are addressing that. You, on the other hand, seem to care about human rights only so far as israel benefits by being excused for its bad acts.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        June 22, 2012, 4:49 pm

        “s the fact that the refugee conflict with the ethno-religious bigotry at the heart of zionism. That’s what this story is pointing out: that disgusting notion that occupied Palestine is “white man’s” country.”

        Eli Yishai does not speak for the entire country, much as you wish he did to make life simple for you. Anyone who looks at the demographic and racial makeup of Israel knows what a ridiculous statement that is.

        “we care about human rights, period. ”

        No, you don’t. You care about POLITICS.

        “And we are critical of any violation of them, by Arabs or by Israel. ”

        No, you aren’t. Your record is one of focusing on one country.

        “But the issue here is Israel’s response, especially in light of the pogroms they had there recently”

        Pogroms? There was a riot. That is a “pogroms.” A pogrom is a riot where the police stay on the sidelines.

        “You, on the other hand, seem to care about human rights only so far as israel benefits by being excused for its bad acts.”

        I care about it everywhere and criticize the lack of it in more places than you do.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        June 22, 2012, 6:57 pm

        “Eli Yishai does not speak for the entire country”

        As a Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of the Interior, he, in fact, does speak for the entire country. That’s pretty much one of the functions of that type of position.

        “Anyone who looks at the demographic and racial makeup of Israel knows what a ridiculous statement that is.”

        Yeah, let’s look at it: One ethnic group has exclusive lock on power and uses it to side-line the small percentage of non-Jews who are permitted to vote in that country within its de-facto borders and to keep the rest as vote-less subjects of military law. If they want to use the term “white man” to describe this ethno-religious apartheid, who are we to tell them how to express their bigotry?

        “No, you don’t. You care about POLITICS.”

        HA! No, politics is the art of the compromise. One of my many faults is that I am not so good at such things. I stand by principles, not compromise. So, no, I don’t much care for politics. Indeed, if I were, I doubt that I would spend my time discussing this issue here.

        “No, you aren’t. Your record is one of focusing on one country.”

        On this site, I primarily focus on israel’s crimes, sure. But that’s because this site is devoted to that conflict and I believe that the israelis are primarily responsible for it. And who said that this was the only place I’ve expressed my opinion on things. (And it’s not like I haven’t been critical of the Arab world and the Palestinians, as necessary, as well.)

        “A pogrom is a riot where the police stay on the sidelines.”

        And what do you call it when a leading figure in the ruling party, such as Danny Danon fans the flame of bigotry, which breaks out in a riot, where hundreds rampage?

        And did the police “stay on the sidelines”? When israelis go against Palestinian protestors, people are shot (with rubber bullets if they’re lucky) and blinded with tear gas cannisters shot directly in their faces. And that’s not rioters, but merely protesters. So if all they did was arrest a few poeople as a result of the Tel Aviv race riots, then, yes, they were staying on the sidelines.

        “I care about it everywhere and criticize the lack of it in more places than you do.”

        False. For generations the very israelis who you defend have been stripping the human rights from the Palestinians and you don’t give a damn. So don’t give me this bullshit about you caring about it “everywhere.”

        When you, without equivocation, call for the immediate evacuation of every israeli to behind the green line or the immediate and unrestricted right for the people in occupied territories to be given the right to participate in the government that controls their lives, then you can say care about it “everywhere.” But you won’t because you’re a god damned Arab-hating bigot.

    • American
      American
      June 22, 2012, 3:23 pm

      “will be misused here to undermine Jewish political self-determination. “…hoppie

      Why don’t you explain to us what the hell Jewish political self determination is?
      Is there anything to this political ‘determining’ besides having a Jewish ethno-religious ruled country government that privilages Jews over non Jews and steals whatever it needs or wants for it/themselves?
      Come on, explain it to us.

    • Inanna
      Inanna
      June 22, 2012, 10:39 pm

      Even simpler – let’s support the human rights of all people and not the violations of their rights by all regimes, including the Israeli regime. When you can bring yourself to do that hophmi, then you can talk to us about hypocrisy. Too bad you can’t see your own.

    • clenchner
      clenchner
      June 23, 2012, 5:41 pm

      @ Hophmi: Why do you think Dan is a Zionist? Isn’t his argument evidence precisely that he is not a Zionist?

  3. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    June 22, 2012, 3:22 pm

    RE: “Non-Jewish immigration to Israel has the potential to challenge the Jewish character of the state.” ~ Jeremy Burton

    DAVID DUKE AND OTHER WHITE SUPREMACISTS MIGHT WELL SAY: “Non-White immigration to the U.S. has the potential to challenge the White character of the country.”

    ALSO SEE: “How white were the Israelites? Facial reconstruction may be surprising”, By Ofri Ilani and Haaretz Correspondent, 11/14/08
    Israeli anthropologist claims the subjects of the Kingdom of Judea looked more like black Africans.
    LINK – http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/how-white-were-the-israelites-facial-reconstruction-may-be-surprising-1.257245

    AND SEE: “80 refugees are rounded up as Israel’s Interior Minister declares, ‘this country belongs to the white man’”, by Allison Deger, Mondoweiss, 6/12/12

    (excerpt) . . . The roundup is part of a larger policy to deport all of Israel’s asylum seekers, drafted by Interior Minister Eli Yishai who said earlier this month that Israel is for “the white man.” Speaking to Maariv on June 3, 2012 the minister said: “Muslims that arrive here do not even believe this country belongs to us, to the white man,” continuing that he is prepared to use “all the tools to expel the foreigners, until not one infiltrator remains.” The program was also endorsed by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. . .

    SOURCE – http://mondoweiss.net/2012/06/80-refugees-are-rounded-up-as-israels-interior-minister-declares-this-country-belongs-to-the-white-man.html

    • Bumblebye
      Bumblebye
      June 22, 2012, 6:46 pm

      Maybe Eli Yishai is buddies with these Afrikaaner converts who live in the West Bank settlement of Susiya:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHP_KS5FenU
      The real Palestinian village of Susiya is threatened with imminent and total destruction.

    • YoungMassJew
      YoungMassJew
      June 23, 2012, 12:17 am

      Dickerson3870, your style of responding is unorthodox, but you always find a way to impress me by combining many stories from the past together to make a great point. Keep it up.

  4. radii
    radii
    June 22, 2012, 3:31 pm

    no American policy or official should ever advocate for anything other than democratic pluralism and equal rights … the notion of a “Jewish state” is antithetical to American values and laws

  5. talknic
    talknic
    June 24, 2012, 11:21 am

    The Freds, Hopmis & their friends who drop in and do such a great job of teasing out the illogical hypocrisy of their own arguments, is most welcome

  6. Stone
    Stone
    June 24, 2012, 8:57 pm

    Did anybody see this?

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/new-internet-site-identifies-employers-who-hire-african-migrants.premium-1.439999?localLinksEnabled=false

    I guess one could use some vigilantism to get back at some of the people who employ them. I seem to recall the Nazis telling the Germans which companies employed Jews as well.

    • Stone
      Stone
      June 24, 2012, 9:37 pm

      I meant to say the Nazis telling the other Germans. Forgive my error.

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