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.

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Read more at Washington Post

More about: Affirmative action, American society, Quotas

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy