Quotas and Racial Classifications Have Divided American Society

In the universities and in the job market, America’s systems of racial and ethnic quotas have generally harmed Jews—whether by a design a century ago or in the name of helping other groups today. For precisely this reason, Ruth Wisse has argued that American Jews ought to oppose the efforts of colleges like Harvard to exclude Asian Americans. Behind such discriminatory policies are governmental systems designed to sort U.S. citizens by race, which are the subject of a new book by David E. Bernstein. George Will begins his review by citing an example of a Jew named Steve Lynn, who, unusually, benefitted from a quota:

His business qualified as a minority business enterprise because his ancestors were Sephardi Jews who fled Spain centuries ago, making him, in the government’s squint, Hispanic. Your government decrees that immigrants from India are Asians but their cousins from Afghanistan are White. In America’s benighted days of yore, hearings and trials determined racial identities (octoroon, quadroon, etc.). In today’s America, such determinations are progressive because they protect the integrity, such as it is, of affirmative-action programs.

In 1977, to facilitate gathering racial and ethnic data, the government promulgated racial and ethnic categories, but stipulated that they should not be “determinants of eligibility for participation in any federal program.” This was promptly ignored, and has been exacerbated by the American tradition of self-identification. Soon a scramble was on to win victim status, and to deny that status to groups which, if they clambered aboard the gravy train, would leave less gravy for the supposedly more deserving.

The racial/cultural/geographic/whatever spoils system is now so entrenched, it is too late for what would encourage a shared national identity: complete separation of race and state. Meaning, government abstention from racial and ethnic classifications.

Today’s ever-more-arbitrary system vindicates Bernstein’s warning that such classifications are “self-fulfilling”: they encourage people to think of themselves not as individuals but as members of grasping grievance groups. Young people are taught this unattractive orthodoxy at colleges that celebrate a “diversity” that is skin-deep.

Read more at Washington Post

More about: Affirmative action, American society, Quotas

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy