Friday, May 16, 2008

Where Nativism meets Anti-Semitism

The Iowa meat-packing plant raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday, May 12, 2008, has attracted considerable attention, not the least for the fact that a plant that employs 400 undocumented workers must have some knowledge regarding their undocumented status. It is a given that enforcement by ICE is heavily weighted against the workers and in favor of employers. So what makes this case different? One difference is the number of immigrants. How could the owners be blind to so many undocumented workers. Another reason for media attention are allegations that the employer actively colluded with the employees to circumvent the law. Never mind that agricultural employers have been doing this for as long as Mexicans have been harvesting crops in this country. Then there is the issue of the plant’s ownership.

Agriprocessors Inc. meatpacking plant, in Postville, Iowa, is a Kosher meat-packing plant owned by Aaron Rubashkin and managed by his family. The Rubashkin are orthodox Lubavitcher Jews and were conspicuous in the largely Lutheran community of Postville. Reporters in the Des Moines Register, an excellent newspaper, indicate that the owners may face criminal charges as a result of the ICE raid on the Postville plant. More on this aspect of the story later.

As is usual in this kind of story, the comment sections of the newspapers and blogs have been filled with the usual vitriol against the “illegal” workers caught up in the ICE raid. The nativist community may not enjoy broad support but as a pack of hyenas they certainly yap louder than any other group. This was to be anticipated. What is interesting is what this tells us about the high priests of nativism.

The website is mission central for nativists. The VDare website publishes all manner of racist and nativist vitriol by such well known racists as Steve Sailer, Jared Taylor, Patrick Buchanan, Peter Brimelow, amongst others. The site is quite proud of its racist diatribes. VDare regularly trumpets the fact that it is the “true conservative” voice and that the faux establishment conservatives have caved in to political correctness by refusing to entertain the idea that blacks may genetically inferior and less intelligent than “whites.” Despite this far right orientation, the site hosts FOX commentators, Patrick Buchanan and Michelle Malkin. FOX continues to feature Buchanan, despite his association with such an avowedly radical and racist hate organization. So what was VDare’s take on the ICE raid at Postville?

VDare featured a piece by the notorious racist, Steve Sailer that trotted out all of the old anti-Semitic stereotypes. (Sailer gathers most of his material from secondary sources but quotes it as gospel.) The Lubavitch Jews were “rich,” they engage in “sharp elbowed business practices” typical of the “mercantile minorities” and, just like the Mexicans that they hired, they “had no interest in integrating into Postville,” insisting on segregating themselves. The Jews, “stomp up the street hunched over, talking in a foreign language and looking straight through them when greeted.” “[T]hey screw the gentiles and the Jews.” Postville, Iowa, is, according to Sailer, “a town that has been taken over by a Hasidic Jewish sect, the Lubavitchers, and the third world illegal workers from Mexico and Eastern Europe that they have imported to work at their meat processing plant and are dumping on the community.”

The Hasidim kept to themselves, did things their own way, and basically had no interest in integrating into Postville. And why would they? Their laws are strict, their mission clear, their community defined by race and religion. They are not interested in watermelon socials or coffee klatches at the diner. Their little boys do not swim with their little girls, are not educated together, and do not go on play dates with goyim. Small-town Iowans, on the other hand, are very friendly. They know each other’s news, they support each other’s businesses, they wish each other Merry Christmas, they want you to feel at home. They don’t like that the new townspeople stomp up the street hunched over, talking in a foreign language and looking straight through them when greeted. They really don’t like it when one of the newcomers drives around town with a 10-foot candelabra strapped to his car playing music at full volume for eight consecutive winter nights.”

Contrast this to the “American-style society” that existed before the Hasidic invasion. The good Lutheran folk of Postville were humble, friendly, small town, “goyim” who engaged in watermelon socials or coffee klatches at the diner. “Small-town Iowans, on the other hand, are very friendly. They know each other’s news, they support each other’s businesses, they wish each other Merry Christmas, they want you to feel at home.”

Reports that contradict Sailer’s and VDare’s anti-Semitic point of view are “Jewish media pimping.” For the nativist camp the Postville raid could not be a happier confluence of events: exploitative Jews, “illegal third world workers,” and good hard working Lutheran small-townspeople. Everything a racist could hope for in one nice package delivered by the good folks at ICE.

From news reports, it appears that the owners were engaged in illegal and fraudulent practices. But why attribute this to their religious and ethnic status? No such group blame is forthcoming to the good anglo farmers who have engaged in the very same practices for decades. For the nativist it is important to stoke hatred against scapegoat minorities; this is what animates their movement. What is more perplexing is why the mainstream media continues to give these nutwings any credence? Perhaps, deep in their collective psyche they share some of the racist notions espoused by VDare and its stable of racists.

VDare, Steve Sailer Blog, (May 15, 2008).

“Experts see charges for plant's managers,” By Jennifer Jacobs, Des Moines Register (May 15, 2008).

f you liked this post, don't forget to subscribe to my RSS feeds. Or you can
get my posts delivered to your inbox directly, by subscribing to my feeds by email.


Billie B said...

"What is more perplexing is why the mainstream media continues to give these nutwings any credence?"

Why? Because even a stopped clock is right twice a day. You can criticize them on other than illegal immigration, but judging by the lack of support of illegal immigrants by the general public, they appear to be on the same sheet of music. Look at the May Day marches. Some say that the failure of the marches is due to fear of ICE, but that doesn't explain why few citizens took part, after all, they have nothing to fear. One could conclude that most of the previous marchers were illegal immigrants, without much citizen support at all.

ragemail said...

Billie b, not entirely sure what your point is. If you meant to say that the mainstream media continues to employ avowed racists like Buchanan because there is a kernel of truth to what they say, then I would ask why don't they find mainstream, moderate commentators to make these points? Why is it that the anti-immigrant community is peopled with such a great array of nutwings? And if the stopped clock of the nutwing community is right 1% of the time, what about that one percent is correct: their hatred? their calls for massive expulsions? their calls for harassment of the Latino community? As for the wider community and its level of support for immigrants, I have no doubt that there is some resentment towards immigrants. This is to be expected in hard times. But do they share the hatred and vitriol of extremists like Sailer or Michele Malkin? I seriously doubt that and I would think that you would not want to live in a country where such radical and hateful attitudes were the norm. Thank you for posting.