Peter Beinart, former editor of Marty Peretz's New Republic, is puzzled by a new poll of Jewish voters:
They’re a lot less enthusiastic about immigration. A slight plurality opposes “the U.S. government making it possible for illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens.” On immigration, in fact, American Jews are slightly to the American Jewish leadership’s right. I think Steven M. Cohen, who conducted the poll with Samuel Abrams, has noticed this waning Jewish support for immigration before. It’s intriguing, and depressing, given that many Jews still valorize their Ellis Island roots.
Not quite sure what explains this. I’d suspect that anti-immigrant sentiment is highest near the border and among the Anglo working class, since such populations most often compete with immigrants for services and jobs. But Jews aren’t well represented in either cohort. If you can crack the mystery of Jewish nativism, email us at email@example.com, and we’ll post your answer.
My wacko nutjob guess is that American Jews tend to be fairly patriotic, certainly more so than Jewish media figures and leaders of Jewish organizations. Thus, average Jews are more likely to ask "But is it good for the Americans?" instead of only concerning themselves with "Is it good for the Jews?" as their spokesmen assume they should. In particular, Ellis Island Kitsch, while still going strong in the press, has to be getting a little old in real life.