WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2015 – You can call it one result of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 − also known as the Hart-Celler Act − a precedent-changing piece of legislation notably championed at that time by Sen. Ted Kennedy. *
In 1983, the Jewish Federation Council of Los Angeles and the city’s Board of Rabbis requested that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) reject an appeal for permanent U.S. residency by Indian cult leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.
At issue was Rajneesh’s vehement anti-Semitism.
In his book “The Mustard Seed,” the bhagwan wrote, “Jews are always in search of their Adolf Hitlers, somebody who can kill them – then they feel at ease. When nobody bothers them, then they are uneasy, the guilt follows. When you throw stones at Truth this is bound to happen, and even after twenty centuries of suffering, the Jews have not confessed that they did wrong.”
In her book “Flowers of Emptiness,” author Sally Belfrange, a former cult follower, said the bhagwan was prone to tell anti-Semitic jokes. “A couple of tigers are walking through the woods,” said the bhagwan, “when the second tiger pokes his nose in the first one’s ass. The first tiger says, ‘What’s the matter with you, you got the hots for me?’ The second tiger replies: ‘No, but I just ate a Jew and I need to get the taste out of my mouth.’”
An Associated Press report from 1983 reads, “The INS is reviewing Rajneesh’s request for permanent residency, but says allegations that he is anti-Semitic are not germane to the case.”
Two years earlier, Rajneesh purchased 64,229-acres of land known as Big Muddy Ranch in central Oregon. What started as an agricultural commune eventually grew into a town with its own police force, schools, malls and airport – a political polity under the sway of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.
Getting brainwashed devotees of his personality cult to elect him supreme leader was easy. Problems arose when Rajneesh and his lieutenants tried convincing the surrounding communities of independent-thinking Americans steeped in Western, Judeo-Christian traditions to join his project.
In 1984, Oregon’s Wasco County (where the commune was located) held elections that Rajneesh saw as pivotal to the expansion of his power in the state. And he hatched a plan.
The cult leader’s “plan was based on the hope that an election of county commissioners favorable to followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh could be obtained through a small turnout of regular voters and a strong turnout of Rajneeshees and some 3,000 homeless people brought to the ranch-commune,” said the Associated Press. “The plan to register the homeless went awry… when county officials, fearing voter fraud, halted new voter registrations and called state election officials to hold eligibility hearings.”
Oh, and authorities also investigated claims by informants that “an effort was made to contaminate the municipal water system of The Dalles” (the town with the highest population in Wasco County) to further drive down voter turnout.
That plot failed, but cult minions did manage to introduce Salmonella Typhi to salad bars at eight restaurants located in The Dalles, poisoning 751 residents, 45 of whom were hospitalized. Luckily, no one died.
The incident remains the worst bio-terrorism attack to have occurred in the United States.
Rajneesh later pled guilty to two counts of making false statements to U.S. immigration officials, paid a $400,000 fine and was deported back to India.
The plot’s unraveling brought an end to legal immigrant Rajneesh’s plan to sow the seeds of his mystical totalitarianism on American soil.
In the small Oregon town of Antelope stands a monument with a plaque that reads, “Dedicated to those of this community who throughout the Rajneesh invasion and occupation of 1981-1985 remained, resisted and remembered… ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’ (Edmund Burke).”
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s anti-Semitic ridicule was a tell, as they say in poker. It signaled his contempt for the Judeo-Christian traditions that inform the philosophical underpinnings of America’s natural-law principles, principles that proclaim the liberty of the individual over the whims of a single tyrant or the democratic majority.
It’s important to state that a significant portion of Rajneesh’s American followers were Jews. Many Gentiles and Jews alike wondered why they would find an openly anti-Semitic leader so attractive.
Author Win McCormack interviewed Rabbi Stephen Robbins, chairman of the Task Force on Cults and Missionary Efforts of the Jewish Federation Council of Los Angeles, who provided this insight: “Once you tear down people’s identities, they are open to being manipulated and controlled – which is what cults aim to do. If you turn someone’s identity against himself – if you get Jews to make fun of themselves – then the person’s identity is destroyed and you can step in an give that person a new identity.”
Today, the concept of American identity is a joke to the establishment leaders of both political parties. And assimilating new immigrants into American society is as unimportant to them as it was to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.
At many pro- amnesty protests, it was not unusual to see the Mexican flag carried by mobs of marchers. Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahoney publicly encouraged protesters to leave their Mexican flags at home because “they do not help us get the legislation we need.”
These leaders view native-born Americans as lumps of clay to be molded into compliant cultists, who, as Psychology Today once noted, “start their induction by trying to stop both individualistic and critical thinking – like the army, their job is the first to break you than remake you as one of them.”
But now, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has come along to give voice to those rugged American individualists who remain, resist and remember…“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
* As Wikipedia notes, “The Hart-Celler Act abolished the national origins quota system that was American immigration policy since the 1920s, replacing it with a preference system that focused on immigrants’ skills and family relationships with citizens or U.S. residents.” The effective thrust of Hart-Celler, as gradually amended over the years, has increasingly favored immigrants of non-European origin and has provided considerably less emphasis on admitting immigrants who fully endorse the founding precepts and values of the United States of America.