Dec. 31, 2015
by Ruth King
In Europe the influx of Moslem Arabs will only increase the growing anti-Semitism on the continent. Jews, in large numbers, are poised to leave. This will be a major blow to their host nations.
Please indulge me in a little ethnic pride.
Wherever they have alighted, Jews have had a disproportionate impact on every aspect of culture, the arts, science and technology.
Don’t believe me? Just go to the operas, concerts, hospitals, museums and research institutions throughout the United States—even in areas with a tiny Jewish population.
Mark Twain recognized this in 1897: “If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one quarter of one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning are also very out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world in all ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself and be excused for it. The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Persians rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greeks and Romans followed and made a vast noise, and they were gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, and have vanished.”
What Twain describes mystifies many commentators. For example, in 2013, in a lengthy interview with The New Republic, British biologist, author and atheist Richard Dawkins expressed his bewilderment at the disproportionate number of Nobel prizes won by Jews. Asked what he thought of it, he responded: “I haven’t thought it through. I don’t know. But I don’t think it is a minor thing; it is colossal. I think more than 20 percent of Nobel Prizes have been won by Jews.”
Dawkins was close. Since the Nobel was first awarded in 1901 approximately 193 of the 855 honorees have been Jewish (22%). Jews make up less than 0.2% of the global population.
In 2014 German born Petra Moser, an assistant professor of economics at Stanford, found that after 1933 the number of U.S. patents increased by 31 percent in fields in which those who had fled from Germany were prominent. She wrote: “German Jewish émigrés had a huge effect on U.S. innovation.” In an interview she explained: “They helped increase the quality of research by training a new generation of American scientists, who then became productive researchers in their own right.” Moser said she undertook this research because the effect of German Jewish émigrés is one of the big issues in America’s 20th-century economy. She added: “Everybody knows about the Manhattan Project and has a vague notion that getting these highly talented refugees was a big plus for American science.“
More recently, in September 2015, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron visited the Haifa Technion, the Israel Institute for Technology, and asked a group of French-born students if they would ever consider returning to France. As a Wall Street Journal article on French attempts to woo talent back from Israel notes, Macron’s “remarks point to an uncomfortable reality for the French government. Israel has become a nesting ground for precisely the kind of talent the Eurozone’s second-largest economy needs: budding tech entrepreneurs.”
What about the arts? The contribution of Jewish immigrants to the United States is enormous.
The Jewish writers, composers, performers, movie and theater impresarios who were immigrants or children of immigrants are literally too many to list. To name a few: Eugene Ormandy, Irving Berlin, Kurt Weill, Georg Solti, Bruno Walter, Lion Feuchtwanger, Joseph Roth, Franz Werfel, Hedy Lamarr.
Musical comedy, arguably the most original and popular American art form, simply would not exist without the countless Jewish composers and lyricists, most children of immigrants. Cole Porter stands out because he is the exception.
Some of the most popular Christmas songs were written by children of Jewish immigrants. “The Christmas Song (commonly known as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”) was co-written by Robert Wells, whose father was Jewish, and Mel Torme, whose parents were Russian Jewish immigrants. Walter Kent composed “I’ll be Home for Christmas” and Sammy Cahn and Julie Styne wrote “Let It Snow, Let It Snow.” Felix Bernard, born Felix Bernhardt to Jewish immigrants, wrote “Winter Wonderland.”
Everyone knows that Irving Berlin wrote “White Christmas” but how many are aware that “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” was based on a poem by Robert May, who was Jewish? The music was composed by his Jewish brother-in-law John D. Marks, who wrote other holiday standards, including “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree” and “A Holly Jolly Christmas.”
In Israel, the Jewish people created a democracy in a sliver of land disproportionately small and resource poor in comparison to the surrounding Muslim Arab world. Nonetheless, European immigrants will find a booming economy, amazing high tech and start-up companies that rival those in the West and cultural, scientific and social institutions which are among the most advanced in the world.
Au revoir and Auf Wiedersehen and Cheerio and Arrivederci and Adios to all that. With this exodus Europe will go down the brain drain its governments have encouraged and deserve.