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Is Multiculturalism Good For The Jews?

Here are excerpts from an important essay by Dr. Stephen Steinlight:

Is the emerging new multicultural American nation good for the Jews? Will a country in which enormous demographic and cultural change, fueled by unceasing large-scale non-European immigration, remain one in which Jewish life will continue to flourish as nowhere else in the history of the Diaspora? In an America in which people of color form the plurality, as has already happened in California, most with little or no historical experience with or knowledge of Jews, will Jewish sensitivities continue to enjoy extraordinarily high levels of deference and will Jewish interests continue to receive special protection? Does it matter that the majority non-European immigrants have no historical experience of the Holocaust or knowledge of the persecution of Jews over the ages and see Jews only as the most privileged and powerful of white Americans? Is it important that Latinos, who know us almost entirely as employers for the menial low-wage cash services they perform for us (such a blowing the leaves from our lawns in Beverly Hills or doing our laundry in Short Hills), will soon form one quarter of the nationís population? Does it matter that most Latino immigrants have encountered Jews in their formative years principally or only as Christ killers in the context of a religious education in which the changed teachings of Vatican II penetrated barely or not at all? Does it matter that the politics of ethnic succession ó colorblind, I recognize ó has already resulted in the loss of key Jewish legislators (the brilliant Stephen Solarz of Brooklyn was one of the first of these) and that once Jewish "safe seats" in Congress now are held by Latino representatives?

Luke says: Jesus Christ, don't let the goyim read this. I loved that line about Jewish sensitivities enjoying "extraordinarily high levels of deference" and Jewish interests receiving "special protection."

Stephen writes: Not that it is the case that our disproportionate political power (pound for pound the greatest of any ethnic/cultural group in America) will erode all at once, or even quickly. We will be able to hang on to it for perhaps a decade or two longer. Unless and until the triumph of campaign finance reform is complete, an extremely unlikely scenario, the great material wealth of the Jewish community will continue to give it significant advantages. We will continue to court and be courted by key figures in Congress. That power is exerted within the political system from the local to national levels through soft money, and especially the provision of out-of-state funds to candidates sympathetic to Israel, a high wall of church/state separation, and social liberalism combined with selective conservatism on criminal justice and welfare issues.

Luke says: He's saying that Jewish money is our power.

Stephen writes: It is also true that Jewish economic influence and power are disproportionately concentrated in Hollywood, television, and in the news industry, theoretically a boon in terms of the formation of favorable public images of Jews and sensitizing the American people to issues of concern to Jews. But ethnic dominance in an industry does not by itself mean that these centers of opinion and attitude formation in the national culture are sources of Jewish political power. They are not noticeably "Jewish" in the sense of advancing a Jewish agenda, Jewish communal interests, or the cause of Israel. And television, the Jewish industry par excellence, with its shallow values, grotesque materialism, celebration of violence, utter superficiality, anti-intellectualism, and sexploitation certainly does not advance anything that might be confused with Jewish values. It is probably true, however, that the situation would be worse in terms of the treatment of Jewish themes and issues in the media without this presence.

Iíll confess it, at least: like thousands of other typical Jewish kids of my generation, I was reared as a Jewish nationalist, even a quasi-separatist. Every summer for two months for 10 formative years during my childhood and adolescence I attended Jewish summer camp. There, each morning, I saluted a foreign flag, dressed in a uniform reflecting its colors, sang a foreign national anthem, learned a foreign language, learned foreign folk songs and dances, and was taught that Israel was the true homeland. Emigration to Israel was considered the highest virtue, and, like many other Jewish teens of my generation, I spent two summers working in Israel on a collective farm while I contemplated that possibility. More tacitly and subconsciously, I was taught the superiority of my people to the gentiles who had oppressed us. We were taught to view non-Jews as untrustworthy outsiders, people from whom sudden gusts of hatred might be anticipated, people less sensitive, intelligent, and moral than ourselves. We were also taught that the lesson of our dark history is that we could rely on no one.