Immigration and Nation Building

Immigration and Nation Building

Australia and Israel Compared

Monash Studies in Global Movements series

Edited by Andrew Markus and Moshe Semyonov

This insightful study explores the growth of the two largest post-industrial immigrant nations since the Second World War – Australia and Israel. Almost one in four Australians were born outside the country, more than one in three Israelis.

Chapter 5: Immigration and Public Opinion

Andrew Markus and Rebeca Raijman

Subjects: development studies, migration, politics and public policy, international politics, public policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, labour policy, migration, urban and regional studies, migration


Andrew Markus and Rebeca Raijman INTRODUCTION In the modern era, especially since the middle of the twentieth century, the arrival of immigrants has become a widespread phenomenon characterizing advanced industrial countries. These countries have experienced a dramatic increase in the number of foreign-born citizens and the emergence of new ethnic communities that changed the ethnic character of their societies (Soysal 1994; Pettigrew 1998; Castles and Davidson 2000). The development of the new communities has been accompanied by tension and anti-immigrant sentiment, which has varied over time and according to place (see, for example, Quillian 1995; Pettigrew 1998; Scheepers et al. 2002; McLaren 2003; Coenders et al. 2004; Lahav 2004; Kunovich 2004; Semyonov et al. 2006). While opposition to ethnic and racial minorities may be entrenched over long historical periods, heightened conflict is activated or triggered in specific circumstances, particularly in periods of economic difficulty or uncertainty, shifts in the pattern of immigration, accelerated social change and times of military conflict. There are two arguments that are used to justify discrimination against ethnic and racial groups: the first is one of economic threat; the second is threat to identity or national character. While conceptually different, the arguments are typically interlinked and overlapping (see, for example, Curthoys and Markus 1978; Markus 1995; Quillian 1995; Esses et al. 2001; Semyonov et al. 2002; Raijman et al. 2003; Raijman and Semyonov 2004; Kunovich 2004). In regards to the first argument, citizens with low social and economic status may fear that increased immigration will result...

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