Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ann Coulter’s Jewish Problem
November 19, 2007
Ann Coulter probably wishes she had never said “We just want Jews to be perfected” on the Donny Deutsch show. The ADL was first in line to trace such ideas to a theological tradition that is anathema to Jews—the idea that the New Testament supercedes the Old.
But the best defense is a good offense, so Coulter apparently decided that she understands Jewish interests better than even the ADL. Maybe she’s right, but I don’t think she really understands how Jewish organizations like the ADL think about America.
Ann Coulter asks “How Long Before the A.D.L. Kicks Out All its Jews?” Her point is that the ADL is a leftist activist organization that is dangerous for Jews—dangerous because the left is “increasingly dominated by people conniving in the destruction of Israel.” The ADL also opposes public manifestations of Christianity but is in favor of appeasing Muslims in the U.S. by using the Koran to swear in public officials. It also promotes other leftist causes that she imagines are bad for Jews: gun control, gay marriage, illegal immigration — “You know, all the issues that have historically kept the Jews safe.”
Oddly, while she goes after the ADL for condemning critics of Muslim immigration, she can’t bring herself to oppose legal immigration in general. I suppose that even a “conservative” like Ann Coulter would not want to intimate that our present legal immigration policy is bad for anyone, much less Jews. Opposing legal immigration is so far beyond the mainstream that even Coulter can’t bring herself to condemn the ADL for being a major player on the pro-open borders lobby. Coulter seems to think that masses of illegals, mainly Mexicans, are bad for Jews, but there’s no problem importing masses of Africans and Asians as long as they aren’t Muslim.
But if all these peoples are to be allowed to immigrate (legally, of course) en masse to the United States, how does Coulter think that the Christian culture that she seems to think is so desirable can be maintained? Why just go after Muslims? The common sense of it is that our open borders immigration policy puts the entire culture in play. If Christianity is to have any special place at all, it will have to fight for it, and, given the demographic trends, its long term prospects aren’t good.
The fact is that Coulter has found a safe neocon niche that manages to condemn the Muslims without raising any really basic questions on the direction of our culture. She was a prime participant in David Horowitz’s pro-Israel inspired Islamo-fascism Awareness Week. While devoting his life to ethnic activism on behalf of Israel, Horowitz clearly draws the line at European-Americans having any sense of their own ethnic identity and interests. Obviously, that’s a line that Coulter is quite unwilling to cross as well.
But the deeper issue is whether Coulter is right that a rational understanding of Jewish interests would make them foursquare Republicans: “The survival of Israel is inextricably linked to the survival of the Republican Party and its evangelical base.” But the Israel Lobby is entirely bipartisan, and even if they wanted to, presidents since Eisenhower who have tried to influence Israel policy against the wishes of the lobby have been uniformly unsuccessful.
If the first Clinton Administration is any indication, the survival of Israel certainly does not depend on a Republican president. Bill Clinton’s Middle East policy positions were staffed by a long list of activists closely linked to the Israel Lobby, including Dennis Ross of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and former AIPAC official Martin Indyk. Indeed, during the Netanyahu years of Likud rule (1996-1999), "the American government seemed sometimes to be working for the Israeli Prime Minister as it tried to convince (and pressure) the Palestinian side to accept Israeli offers."
Hillary Clinton, the Democrat frontrunner, is a close second among all presidential candidates in support for Israel—trailing only Rudy Giuliani who has recruited a “who’s-who” list of neocon pro-Israel, anti-Iran hawks, including Norman Podhoretz, author of World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism.
Are the evangelicals really all that important? It’s remarkable how little influence evangelical Christians have in any other area of public life. They can’t seem to stem the de-Christianization that Coulter bewails; but then why should anyone believe that they are essential to U.S. support for Israel? As Mearsheimer and Walt show, the evangelicals, although certainly useful to the lobby, have far less impact than other parts of the lobby.
Coulter notes that “the ADL is more concerned with what it calls the ‘neo-Nazis’ and ‘anti-Semites’ in the Minutemen organization than with people who behead Jews whenever they get half a chance. It's only a matter of time before the ADL gets around to global warming.” What’s odd about this is that Coulter seems to think that the ADL’s concern about opposition to open borders is just another mindless irrational liberal exercise and as much a Jewish issue as global warming. But the reality is that Jews have always seen an ethnically and culturally homogeneous America as threatening to Jews. This is the subtext of the The Culture of Critique. As her neocon compatriot Elliott Abrams acknowledges, the mainstream Jewish community “clings to what is at bottom a dark vision of America, as a land permeated with anti-Semitism and always on the verge of anti-Semitic outbursts.” Abrams notes that Jews have taken the lead in secularizing America because of this fear. (My own interpretation is that it has more to do with aggressiveness; see also here). Jewish organizations were also the main force on behalf of the 1965 immigration law that put an end to the idea that America had any ethnic basis.
Nevertheless, besides Coulter and Horowtiz, it is certainly true that a growing chorus of Jewish voices have begun to argue that Muslim immigration is bad for Jews. Stephen Steinlight certainly stands out in this regard, stating, for example, “Privately [American Jewish leaders] express grave concern that unregulated immigration will prove ruinous to American Jewry, as it has for French Jewry, and will for Jews throughout Western Europe. There’s particular fear about the impact on Jewish security, as well as American support for Israel, of the rapid growth of the Muslim population. At the conclusion of meetings with national leaders, several told me, ‘You’re 1000 percent right, but I can’t go out and say it yet.’”
In fact, Steinlight even argues that massive immigration in general is bad for Jews: “Massive immigration will obliterate Jewish power by shrinking our percentage of the population — to a fraction of 1% in 20 years.”
Similar warnings by Jews have also surfaced in Europe where, arguably, the situation is much worse for Jews because of the existence of relatively alienated, unassimilated Muslim populations. Jonathan Sacks, Britain’s chief rabbi, warns that multiculturalism “promotes segregation, stifles free speech and threatens liberal democracy.” Britain's politics has been “poisoned by the rise of identity politics, as minorities and aggrieved groups jockeyed first for rights, then for special treatment. The process … began with Jews, before being taken up by blacks, women and gays. … [The effect has been] ‘inexorably divisive.’ ‘A culture of victimhood sets group against group, each claiming that its pain, injury, oppression, humiliation is greater than that of others.’”
But thus far, such warnings have fallen on deaf ears. I suspect that the ADL calculates that Muslim immigration has not impaired the power of the Israel Lobby and there is little reason to think that it will in the foreseeable future. In any case, Jewish attachment to a post-European America is a gut emotion that seems to go beyond rational calculation. As Steinlight notes:
The prospect of breaking with the old [pro-immigration] consensus is so wrenching many are effectively paralyzed by it, but it must concentrate their minds wonderfully to know that upholding it endangers the viability of the community whose protection is their raison d’être. They recognize they risk a harsh rebuke by history as those responsible for "losing America" — just as their predecessors have been pilloried for their failure to do more to save European Jewry in the years leading up to and during the Holocaust. American-Jewish leadership is experiencing profound vertigo as it seeks to chart a course through circumstances that appear logical only to a schizophrenic.
The Fanaticism of Ruth Wisse
November 6, 2007
Ruth Wisse, a professor of Yiddish at Harvard, first got on my radar screen with her 1982 Commentary article “The Delegitimation of Israel," described by historian Mark Gerson as “perhaps the best expression” of the neoconservative view that Israel “was a just, democratic state constantly threatened by vicious and aggressive neighbors.” I commented as follows:
The article stands out for its cartoonish view that the history of anti-Jewish attitudes can be explained with broad generalizations according to which the behavior and attitudes of Jews are completely irrelevant for understanding the history of anti-Semitism. The message of the article is that Jews as innocent victims of the irrational hatred of Europeans have a claim for “a respite” from history that Arabs are bound to honor by allowing the dispossession of the Palestinians. The article is also a testimony to the sea change among American Jews in their support for the Likud Party and its expansionist policies in Israel. Since Wisse’s article appeared…, the positive attitudes toward the Likud Party characteristic of the neoconservatives have become the mainstream view of the organized American Jewish community, and the liberal Jewish critics attacked by Wisse have been relegated to the fringe of the American Jewish community.
Things haven’t changed at all for Wisse. In a Washington Post op-ed promoting her recent book, Jews are again portrayed as history’s powerless victims. Wisse summarizes the history of Jewish economic behavior as altruistically providing goods and services to non-Jews at the price of being politically vulnerable. Such a view ignores competition between Jews and non-Jews over the middleman economic niche, and it ignores the common role of Jews in traditional societies as willing agents of oppressive alien elites. It also ignores the emergence of Jews as a hostile elite in European societies and in America beginning in the late 19th century: Yuri Slezkine’s aptly named The Jewish Century could not possibly be remotely factual if Jews were nothing more than politically vulnerable victims. Indeed, an increasingly important theme in my thinking about Jews, and particularly the Ostjuden (Jews deriving Eastern Europe), has been aggressiveness. (See also The SY's and the Ostjuden.)
Wisse’s view of Jews as altruistic middlemen even applies to Israel: “Israel still lived by strategies of accommodation, trying to supply its neighborhood with useful services and goods such as medical, agricultural and technological know-how.”
This is a grotesque gloss on the reality of Israeli aggression against the Palestinians and against its neighbors since the founding of Israel. Since Mearsheimer and Walt are bêtes noires for Wisse, it is worth pointing to some of the examples they provide: Israel is an expansionist state whose leaders were not satisfied with the original partition of 1948—a time when Jews comprised 35% of the population of Palestine and controlled 7% of the land. Israelis “continued to impose terrible violence and discrimination against the Palestinians for decades” after the founding of the state, including ethnic cleansing after the 1967 war and, according to Israeli historian Benny Morris, an occupation based on “brute force, repression and fear, collaboration and treachery, beatings and torture chambers, and daily intimidation, humiliation, and manipulation” (p. 100). Mearsheimer and Walt also point out the horrors of the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the wanton destruction of the bombing of Lebanon in the summer of 2006. They also show how Israel has aggressively promoted regime change throughout the region, using the power of the United States harnessed by the Israel lobby.
Wisse not only sees Israel as too timid, she argues that the Israel lobby in America is also weak. Her basis for this is that Edward Said, a Palestinian critic of Israel, held a position at Columbia University, and his right to speak out on Middle East issues was supported by some Jewish academics. Apparently for Wisse, the existence of even a few marginalized, powerless critics is a sign of the weakness of the lobby — never mind its stranglehold over Congress and presidents.
Despite bewailing the impotence of the lobby, she does see hope because of the intersection of Jewish and American interests: “The Arab war against Israel and radical Islam's war against the United States are in almost perfect alignment, which means that resistance to one supports resistance to the other.” That seems reasonable — except for the fact that, as Mearsheimer and Walt note, “the United States has a terrorism problem in good part because it has long been so supportive of Israel” (p. 64).
Wisse concludes as follows:
It is seductive to hope that by accommodating our enemies, we will be allowed to live in peace. But the strategy of accommodation that historically turned Jews into a no-fail target is the course least likely to stop ongoing acts of aggression against them. Indeed, anti-Jewish politics will end only when those who practice it accept the democratic values of religious pluralism and political choice — or are forced to pay a high enough price for flouting them.
What is most poisonous about this is that Wisse is completely blind to Jewish aggression, both on the part of Israel and on the part of the lobby. (Harnessing the power of the United States to effect regime change of governments that Israel doesn’t like is nothing if not aggressive — even recklessly so give the long history of charges of Jewish disloyalty.) In her view, Jews are surrounded by enemies who desire their destruction simply because of the morally superior qualities of Jews: Jews “function as a lodestar of religious and political freedom: The Jews' attackers oppose such liberties, and their defenders promote them.” She sees Jews as altruistic martyrs throughout history who will once again suffer martyrdom unless they eschew their altruism and become aggressive. Accommodation simply leads to more martyrdom, and this rationalizes even more aggression toward their enemies.
If there is anything beyond ethnocentric delusion in all of this, I think that behind Wisse’s aggressive stance is the belief that they can win, where winning is defined as removing the Palestinians from most of the West Bank, enclosing the Palestinians in walled-off Bantustans where conditions are so horrible that many will eventually emigrate, and establishing hegemony in the entire area.
It is hardly ridiculous for Israelis and their American supporters to think this way. After all, Israel is by far the preeminent military power in the region and can easily act to preempt the development of WMD by its enemies, including Iran. And as a nuclear power, it could inflict huge costs on any enemy who even contemplated destroying it. It also has the world’s one remaining military superpower completely at its bidding, so that it’s difficult to envision a worst case scenario in which Israel is decisively defeated.
Why should the Israelis give up anything when victory is in sight? And why give up anything given that the water has been so poisoned by 60 years of aggression and hostility that any concession at all, much less an impossible return to the 1967 borders, will be seen, as Wisse notes, as little more than weakness.
Of course, continuing its aggressive, expansionist policies means that Israel will remain an international pariah. But Israel is quite accustomed to that role, and the lobby has a long and successful track record in dealing with the fallout from charges such as “Zionism is racism,” at least in the West (which is all that really matters).
Unfortunately, the fanaticism and moral blinders of Wisse are not at all atypical among the more extreme elements of Israeli opinion and among their supporters in the lobby. The extremists are in charge and have been so at least since the 1967 war. Any attempt to make a meaningful withdrawal from the West Bank and Jerusalem and to allow a viable Palestinian state would produce a civil war among Israelis and likely provoke a strong response by the lobby on the side of the non-accommodationists like Wisse. The fate of the Oslo peace process, the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and the support by the lobby of the most radical elements within Israel certainly argue that there is little chance of a successful move in this direction. People like Wisse may not be entirely representative of the Jewish community either in Israel or in America. But their numbers are large, and they have created facts on the ground that make any kind of reasonable settlement impossible.
The SY's and the Ostjuden: Comparing Two Very Different Jewish Groups
October 30, 2007
Zev Chafets’s description of the Syrian Jewish community in Brooklyn fits almost perfectly with the theory and data in A People That Shall Dwell Alone. The SY's (pronounced ess-why), as they call themselves, are a hermetically sealed community that is deeply concerned with preserving its ethnic purity. They immigrated to the U.S. from Syria early in the 20th century and found themselves in a society that tended to break down the walls of separation.
Socializing with outgroup members or marrying them was not really an option in the Middle East where the norm is to form self-segregating groups that marry only among themselves. Disturbed at an increasing tendency to socialize with other Jews and even non-Jews, in 1935 the rabbis created “an iron wall of self-separation around the community.” At the heart of the wall was an edict against intermarriage: “No male or female member of our community has the right to intermarry with non-Jews; this law covers conversion, which we consider to be fictitious and valueless.”
This effectively cut out the conversion loophole. It reminds us that even though conversion was always a theoretical option in Judaism, it was not really a practical possibility in the Middle Eastern societies where Judaism originated. Social segregation into endogamous groups has always been the norm in the Middle East. As noted in a previous blog, conversion for the Orthodox who control Israeli practices is a grueling process.
The SY's are quite candid on the function of the edict. Jakie Kassin, a community leader, summarized it as follows: “Never accept a convert or a child born of a convert. … Push them away with strong hands from our community. Why? Because we don’t want gentile characteristics.”
It’s refreshing to see such unabashed concern with preserving his own ethnic characteristics from a respected community leader in this day and age. This is the sort of thing that can get a European-American ostracized and probably unemployed, especially if he or she has a publicly visible role in the media. It’s the sort of thing that The New York Times could be expected to be especially exercised about if such sentiments came from someone like me. But it appears here in The New York Times Magazine as barely more noteworthy than the fact that the SY’s live in Brooklyn.
Even other Jews are not accepted as kosher until their genealogy has been intensely scrutinized: “Any outsider who wants to marry into a Syrian family — even a fellow Jew — is subject to thorough genealogical investigation. That means producing proof, going back at least three generations and attested to by an Orthodox rabbi, of the candidates’ kosher bona fides. This disqualifies the vast majority of American Jews, who have no such proof.” Finding a non-Jew anywhere in the family tree is enough to prevent the marriage.
The SY community is also very collectivist. Businesses are family affairs, and children live close to their parents. Secular education is de-emphasized because it might lead the young away from the community. A young man who returned to the community after going to college notes, “It’s a magical place. … You come home from school and there are 10 women in the kitchen, your mother and aunts and cousins, cooking special Syrian delicacies. Every celebration is large, full of relatives.” And when he eventually leaves the community by marrying a non-Jew, his parents are unforgiving. He complains “My parents have sacrificed their relationship with me for the sake of the community.” It’s a “warm and loving community — if you follow the rules.”
Like all collectivist communities, there is a high level of social support and charity to the less prosperous: “Being an SY means never having to say you are hungry.” Social status comes partly by competing to contribute to SY charity. And with collectivism goes high fertility. SY’s “have large families, five or six children. And only a tiny fraction of our kids leave.”
So I certainly could have included the SY in several chapters of A People That Shall Dwell Alone. But I didn’t find anything that would be useful for The Culture of Critique. In fact, it's striking that "traditionally, the SY’s haven’t voted much, largely because of an aversion to showing up on government registries." Say what??? This runs quite contrary to the general Ashkenazi pattern of high rates of political participation. As John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt note in attempting to understand the power of the Israel Lobby, "American Jews are relatively prosperous and well-educated, and have an admirable philanthropic tradition. They give generously to political parties and have very high rates of political participation" (p. 140).
The SY's have become wealthy but they haven't entered into the power centers of American society. They eschew higher education, and have no role in the elite media. They are not involved in the legal profession, politics, or academic departments of social sciences or humanities. Although they tend to be hawkish on matters related to Israel, they have not been involved in creating the edifice that is the Israel Lobby.
One gets the impression that they want to make money and stay under the radar. This is probably how they survived for centuries in the Middle East. In fact, Jews in traditional societies often hid their wealth and controlled the behavior of other Jews so as not to arouse hostility from the surrounding peoples (see Separation and Its Discontents, Ch. 6). (The SY's are still peeved about an article appearing last year in The New York Times that disclosed the wealth of the community and its very heady property values.)
In other words, unlike the Ashkenazim, they have not developed an adversarial, competitive stance toward the people and culture of America. One can't imagine them becoming a hostile elite, as Ashkenazi Jews became in the Soviet Union. They have shown no tendencies toward developing a culture of critique that subjected Western culture to what John Murray Cuddihy termed "punitive objectivity. ... the vindictive objectivity of the marginal nonmember." Unlike their Ashkenazi brethren, they had no impact on Western societies in the 20th century. In this regard, they are much more like the Overseas Chinese than their Jewish brothers from Europe.
The Sephardim in Spain also showed signs of developing a hostile, aggressive and adversarial stance toward the traditional people and culture of Spain before and during the Inquisition. So it's not that this tendency is unique to the Ashkenazim among the Jews. And it is important that even within the Ashkenazim, there is a major distinction between the Ostjuden from Eastern Europe and the Jews of Western Europe and America prior to the massive migration of the Ostjuden to the West beginning in the late nineteenth century.
To understand the origins and the power of the culture of critique, one has to understand this particular Jewish group—the font and origo of two of the most potent and aggressive 20th-century movements: political radicalism and Zionism. (Pop Quiz: What do political radicalism, Zionism, and neoconservatism have in common? Answer below.) It is not that the Ostjuden are particularly ethnocentric compared to other Jews. They are, if anything, less ethnocentric than the SY's with their obsessions of blood purity and hyper-xenophobia. Indeed, it is obvious that the Ostjuden could never have been so successful in altering the culture and demography of the West had they remained as a hermetically sealed community, shut off from the power centers of the society.
The Ostjuden, unlike the SY's, have been highly aggressive toward the people and cultures they live among — a trait that is now perhaps most clearly seen in the behavior of Israel vis-á-vis its neighbors and the dispossessed Palestinians. It is a trait that is at the heart of the culture of critique — most egregiously perhaps in the long and successful Jewish campaign to alter the ethnic balance of the United States and other Western societies. It is a trait without which Yuri Slezkine's appropriately named The Jewish Century never would have happened.
Pop Quiz: What do political radicalism, Zionism, and neoconservatism have in common? Regime change applied to cultures and political orders seen as not conforming to Jewish interests. In other words, the common denominator involves an aggressive, hostile stance toward other peoples and their cultures.

James Watson’s Ordeal
October 24, 2007
James Watson’s embrace of racial differences in intelligence once again shows the undiminished power of the left to control public discourse on critical issues related to diversity and multiculturalism. When Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray published The Bell Curve in 1994, it was greeted with a great sense of anticipation in some circles that at last issues related to race and IQ could be discussed openly and honestly. Finally, a book had been published by a mainstream publisher that dared to argue that not only were there racial differences in intelligence, but also that it was reasonable to suppose that these differences were partly due to inheritance.
But it never happened. One has to look long and hard to find mainstream media accounts of race differences in academic success that even propose genetic differences as a reasonable hypothesis. For example, recent state reports on school success have emphasized that economic differences do not explain the racial gap in school success. One would think that the failure of the favorite explanation of the cultural left would prompt reasonable people to at least suggest the possibility that genetic differences are involved. But that explanation is utterly taboo in the mainstream media.
Below the surface, however, in the labyrinths of academia, The Bell Curve has had an impact. Many new researchers are now studying general intelligence. Even the US military and much work in industrial-organizational psychology is taking the importance of “g,” the general factor of mental ability, into account.
Admittedly, the topic of race differences is still highly controversial. Nonetheless, even here there are real signs of progress. For example, an entire issue of the top-drawer American Psychological Association journal Psychology, Public Policy, and Law was devoted to a review of Black-White IQ differences by J. Philippe Rushton and Arthur Jensen. Their paper (in 2005) entitled “Thirty years of research on race differences in cognitive ability” concluded that Black-White differences were between 50 and 80 percent heritable. Most recently, Rushton and his colleagues published two studies in a paper in the July 2007 Proceedings of the Royal Society of London showing that the East Asian-European-South Asian-Colored-Black differences, mainly in South Africa, were substantially heritable.
However, these positive indications have not yet percolated up into the mainstream media. Watson was in some ways an ideal person to express his views on the topic and bring this material into the light of day. At 79 years old, he has little tangible to lose. He is a world-renowned figure with the sort of stature that can only come from making one of the central discoveries of 20th-century science. He is also a biologist with a professional understanding of genetic influences on behavior. Gene/behavior linkages are a major research interest of the Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory that he led until being suspended because of his comments on African intelligence. Watson also has a deep personal interest in genetic influences on behavior because his son has schizophrenia.
Of course, the egalitarians are free to have as much of their say as they like, no matter how nonsensical. A good example is Steven Rose, an old-time warrior in the IQ wars who is mentioned several times in Ch. 2 of The Culture of Critique. He not only condemns Watson for expressing his opinion, but is quite happy to see that Watson's life has been upended, stating that “the repercussions are to be welcomed.” At least that far-left ideologue was honest enough to say he didn’t believe in free speech for scientists. Stalinism lives! Perhaps Watson deserves a long prison term in a psychiatric hospital.
It’s noteworthy that Watson has not caved in on the general point that natural selection may result in differences between human groups. He has defended himself by rejecting any implication that the entire continent of Africa is “genetically inferior” while nevertheless writing
We do not yet adequately understand the way in which the different environments in the world have selected over time the genes which determine our capacity to do different things. The overwhelming desire of society today is to assume that equal powers of reason are a universal heritage of humanity. It may well be. But simply wanting this to be the case is not enough. This is not science.
Watson believes that in 10–15 years we will get “an adequate understanding for the relative importance of nature versus nurture in the achievement of important human objectives.”
So is the clock ticking for the cultural left? Are we about to enter an age in which it will impossible to deny genetic differences on intelligence and we will be able to rationally discuss race differences in intelligence in the mainstream media? I think not. The cultural left has a long and largely successful history of being able to combat scientific ideas that it doesn’t like. This was the main conclusion of The Culture of Critique: The long and sorry history of Boasian anthropology, psychoanalysis, the anti-hereditarian and anti-Darwinian movements in the social sciences, and the Frankfurt School all masqueraded as science but they also wore their politics on their sleeves. Like other political movements, dissenters were simply excluded — drummed out of professional societies, publicly humiliated, and relegated to the fringes of intellectual life.
It’s a tradition that is alive and well in the 21st century. Watson has seen his book tour cancelled, he has been suspended from his position at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and has been subjected to outraged moralism from people who can’t hold a candle to his intellectual stature. And all for expressing his professional opinion on how the blind hand of natural selection may have operated to make people different.

The Israel Lobby and the Psychology of Influence
October 14, 2007
Elaine McArdle was lobbied by the Israel Lobby. Of course, this is not exactly unusual, nor is it illegal. Indeed, it is standard practice among lobbyists of all kinds. As she notes, AIPAC provided first-class, all-expenses-paid trips to Israel for 40 US congressmen just last summer. Journalists are eager to participate as well, although it appears that this is viewed as less than ethical by at least some mainstream news organizations.
Still, there are probably very few congressmen of any longevity who haven’t participated, and, as she notes, most journalists have only one question about whether to participate: “Where do I sign up?” Free trips to Israel for US military personnel and politicians are also a standard policy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. And Birthright Israel annually organizes trips to Israel for 20,000 young Jews in an effort to deepen their Jewish commitment.
What stands out about McArdle is that she is very self-conscious about the psychological processes involved. She is quite aware that persuasion often works at an unconscious level. Giving someone a gift taps into a reciprocity norm that is doubtless a remnant of our evolved psychology. People who don’t reciprocate did not make good allies or friends, and this happened over a sufficiently long period to result in specialized brain mechanisms designed to detect reciprocators and cheaters. As McArdle notes, this is true the world over. For the non-sociopaths among us, when we receive something from someone else, we feel a need to reciprocate or at least have positive feelings toward that person.
Since I am engaged in trying to understand Jewish influence in general, McArdle’s article gets one thinking of what other psychological processes are involved in various sorts of Jewish influence. Of course, none of these processes are unique to Jewish influence. It’s just that Jews are a very good at the influence game. The Israel Lobby and its influence on US foreign policy are Exhibit A for this perspective. So it’s reasonable to suppose that one aspect of their success is being better than most at tuning in to people’s psychological tendencies and to use them to further their perceived interests.
At a basic level, going on a trip in a group makes the person a member of an ingroup. Psychologists have found that being a member of an ingroup results in positive attitudes toward other members of the ingroup. Even though there is no explicit quid pro quo going on, the norms of the ingroup are molded by the tour guides and even by the itinerary itself.
In effect, the people on the tour are being inculcated into a Jewish world view—one in which Jews are the quintessential victims. McArdle’s group was shepherded to an Israeli family that had been in the area hit by Hezbollah rockets last summer. There is a palpable sense of fear “Children today, we were told, still wet their beds in fear. … I wondered how long I … could tolerate the omnipresence of danger.”
They are also taken to Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Museum. Similarly, the Birthright Israel trips for Jewish youth start with Holocaust seminars in New York, then proceed to Poland to visit Auschwitz, and then to Israel where participants visit historical sites intended to instill strong Zionist feelings. Especially important are border outposts “where the ongoing threat to Israel’s security is palpable” (Woocher, 1986; p. 150). Among these Jewish visitors, the result is a sense of dread: A participant in Birthright Israel says, “I never felt unsafe [in Poland], but I couldn’t wait to get to Israel where I knew that we would be wanted and accepted.”
Indeed, as I noted in A People That Shall Dwell Alone (see Chapter 7), “a permanent sense of imminent threat appears to be common among Jews. … [F]or Jewish families a ‘sense of persecution (or its imminence) is part of a cultural heritage and is usually assumed with pride. Suffering is even a form of sharing with one’s fellow-Jews. It binds Jews with their heritage—with the suffering of Jews throughout history.’”
There is also a sense of psychological bonding with Israelis at a person-to-person level. McArdle refers to her experience as “an unforgettable and emotionally charged week with warm, likable people — generous hosts and tour guides whom I worried about after returning to the safety of life in Massachusetts.”
She experiences empathy for these Israelis as fellow ingroup members who are living in danger, and she worries about their safety. But she never gets to experience empathy with the Palestinians on the other side of the wall—the ones living in Bantustan-like concentration camps in the apartheid West Bank.
McArdle also mentions that the experience was “emotionally charged.” A great deal of psychological research shows that experiences that have intense emotional overtones are much more likely to be remembered and to have a long term influence. As McArdle is well aware, people need not be consciously aware of these memories to be influenced by them.
Another psychological aspect of Jewish influence is that Jewish intellectual and political movements are promulgated from highly prestigious sources. An important feature of our evolved psychology is a greater proneness to adopt cultural messages deriving from people with high social status. This was certainly true of all the movements discussed in The Culture of Critique, and there is no doubt that the Israel Lobby is intimately entwined with elite media, elite universities, and well-funded think tanks.
And finally, it’s not only journalists like McArdle who have to worry about the possibility of unconscious bias. We all do. Movements such as the Israel Lobby have typically presented themselves not as furthering Jewish interests but as furthering the interests of the society as a whole. Neocons such as Richard Perle typically phrase their policy recommendations as aimed at benefiting the US. He does this despite evidence that he has a strong Jewish identity and despite the fact that he has typical Jewish concerns, such as anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, and the welfare of Israel. Perle poses as an American patriot despite credible charges of spying for Israel, writing reports for Israeli think tanks and op-eds for the Jerusalem Post, and all the while having close personal relationships with Israeli leaders.
This was also true of all the movements I described in The Culture of Critique: The Jewish commitments and motivations of the main players were never a subject of discussion, and the movements themselves were presented as scientifically sound and morally superior to the traditional culture of the West. As a result, non-Jews are invited to see these Jewish activists as disinterested social scientists, or, in the case of the neocons, as patriotic fellow Americans — as “just like themselves.” We are invited to view these Jewish activists as part of our ingroup, with all that that entails psychologically.
In my ideal world, Jonah Goldberg’s op-eds and Paul Wolfowitz’s advice to presidents and defense secretaries should be accompanied by a disclaimer: “You should be cautious in following my advice or even believing what I say about Israel. Deception and manipulation are very common tactics in ethnic conflict, so that my pose as an American patriot should be taken with a grain of salt. And even if I am entirely sincere in what I say, the fact is that I have a deep psychological and ethnic commitment to Israel and Judaism. Psychologists have shown that this sort of deep commitment is likely to bias my perceptions of any policy that could possibly affect Israel even though I am not aware of it.”
As I noted in The Culture of Critique, “many of the Jews involved in the movements reviewed here may sincerely believe that these movements are really divorced from specifically Jewish interests or are in the best interests of other groups as well as Jews. … But, as [evolutionary theorist Robert] Trivers (1985) notes, the best deceivers are those who are self-deceived."
God's Jewish Warriors
October 1, 2007
The Jewish segment of Christiane Amanpour's God's Warriors is doubtless the best and most refreshing comment about what's going on in Israel ever to appear on American television. The take-home message—the one that will be lurking around in the back of the minds of viewers long after watching it—is the image of fanatical Jews. There are repeated images of religious Jews referring to the West Bank and Jerusalem as promised to Jews in Genesis and advocating that Arabs either move or be expelled. There are Jewish activists bent on destroying the Al-Aqsa Mosque built at the site of the ancient Jewish temple and plotting to kill Palestinian schoolchildren; Jewish settlers being hauled out of the Sinai, Gaza, and various West Bank outposts by the Israeli army; Baruch Goldstein's massacre of praying Palestinians; masses of Jews expressing hatred toward Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin because of his endorsement of the Oslo peace process; the assassination of Rabin by Yigal Amir, a Jewish fanatic inspired by Goldstein; Ariel Sharon, "the Godfather of the Settlements," visiting the Al-Aqsa Mosque and fomenting the Second Intifada.
There is a particularly striking segment on Jewish woman from New York who moved to Israel because "I was never fully American. I was Jewish." As a child, she learned Hebrew before she learned English, and her summers were spent at Zionist youth camps. She now recruits financial support for the settlements from Christian Zionists in America. The Christian congregation sings songs in Hebrew, and the Israeli and American flags are juxtaposed..
In America we tend to think that Jews are "just like us. After all, Israel is the "only democracy in the Middle East" and a "staunch American ally." We have been led to think of Judaism as one of the three mainstream American religions. ("Have you heard the one where a priest, a minister, and a rabbi go into a bar? ...") When most Americans think of Jews, they think of the the friendly doctor who lives in the neighborhood, the brilliant scientist at the university, or the liberal social activist on behalf of the downtrodden.
But the Jews in God's Jewish Warriors often don't look like us at all. They are often religious Jews with long braided hair, beards, and names like Dvir and Dov. (New York State Assemblyman and West Bank settler Dov Hikind is depicted contributing some of his campaign funds to the settlements.) Many of the men use tefillin and wear yarmulkes, and they rock back and forth when they pray. The women often cover their hair and wear long gowns resembling a mild version of the Muslim purdah.
Judaism's Middle Eastern roots are on display, and there is nothing Western about it at all. These people don't seem very democratic, and they seem massively ethnocentric. They live in a completely Jewish world where their every thought and perception seem colored by their Jewish identity. Theirs is an apartheid world separated by high concrete walls from their Palestinian neighbors, where even tiny settlements are necessarily protected by the Israeli army. And at a time when Americans are constantly being encouraged by Jewish organizations like the ADL to be ever more tolerant of all kinds of diversity, these people are anything but tolerant. Calls for expropriation and expulsion of the Palestinians are commonplace among them. Israel has created a classic Middle Eastern segmentary society in which different groups live in an ingroup/outgroup world, completely isolated from each other. (Click here for a discussion of contrasts between Middle Eastern and Western societies.)
Not surprisingly, pro-Israel activist groups in the U.S. are not pleased. The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) calls it "CNN's Abomination." Depictions of influential Jews who are obviously "not like us" are likely to trigger feelings of estrangement and alienation in most Americans—a natural consequence of our evolved psychology. CAMERA's main complaint is that there is too much focus on extremists rather than on more typical Jews. But as Amanpour notes at the beginning, "in the last 40 years [God's Jewish warriors] have changed the history of the Middle East." The question is not how representative these Jews are of American Jews or even Israeli Jews. The question is how much influence they have had. As I have argued, the settlement movement is the vanguard of Judaism, and Jews who actively oppose this state of affairs are eventually marginalized. If Jewish history shows anything, it's that the radicals eventually come to dominate the Jewish community.
The result is a full-fledged campaign by Jewish organizations against CNN. In an article titled "CNN Comes Under Unprecedented Attack," the Forward reports that members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations "have asked CNN to avoid rerunning the show before concerns about factual errors and bias are addressed and corrected. It is also requesting that the network invest similar resources to produce a new program that would "rectify the bias and inappropriate context.” “We are aware of some advertisers that have already distanced themselves from 'God’s Jewish Warriors,'" ... “It was recommended that all advertisers be contacted to express concern at their association with this offensive program." "
Amanpour does an excellent job showing how the organized Jewish community in America, and especially AIPAC, has rallied to the defense of the settlements in defiance of international law and every president since Jimmy Carter. Missing is a depiction of the internal politics of American Jews in which Jewish voices who oppose support for Jewish radicals are rendered powerless. But this is an incredibly brave and informed presentation of the radical vanguard of the Jewish community that is having such a huge impact on the Middle East and, via its effects on US foreign policy, the entire world.

Jewish Intelligence
August 19. 2007
Jewish intelligence has become a hot topic following the publication of a paper by Greg Cochran and Henry Harpending in The Journal of Biological Science. Charles Murray weighed in with an article in Commentary (Jewish Genius, April, 2007). Murray's theory is quite a bit like the one I published in my 1994 book, A People That Shall Dwell Alone (Ch. 7). I discussed eugenic events such as the Babylonian exile in which the elite Israelites were relocated to Babylon and refused to intermarry with those left behind when they returned (as graphically recounted in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah). I also described a great deal of discrimination against the illiterate in the ancient world, with the effect that such people were excluded from the Jewish community. Marriage to such a person was especially abhorrent. And I recounted the history of Jewish education and Jewish idealization of the scholar, including especially the practice of wealthy Jews marrying their daughters to scholars and providing them with business opportunities. Because wealth was correlated with reproductive success in traditional societies, this had the effect of eugenic selection for intelligence. All of these practices originated in the ancient world and are well attested among both Ashkenazi and Sephardic populations in later centuries.
The argument of Cochran and Harpending depends on Ashkenazi uniqueness. Their major contribution is to elaborate evidence that Ashkenazi intelligence is linked to mutations associated with brain metabolism and to certain Jewish genetic diseases (e.g., Tay-Sachs disease). I certainly do not want to deny that there is some unique genetic basis for Ashkenazi IQ. Indeed, I described the evidence available as of 1994 on Ashkenazi CNS mutations linked to brain metabolism in A People That Shall Dwell Alone (Ch.2):
Eldridge (1970; see also Eldridge & Koerber 1977) suggests that a gene causing primary torsion dystonia, which occurs at high levels among Ashkenazi Jews, may have a heterozygote advantage because of beneficial effects on intelligence. Further supporting the importance of selective processes, eight of the 11 genetic diseases found predominantly among Ashkenazi Jews involve the central nervous system, and three are closely related in their biochemical effects (see Goodman 1979, 463). [Further,] Motulsky (1977a) suggests that the higher incidence of myopia in Ashkenazi Jewish populations could be the result of selection for higher verbal intelligence. Myopia and intelligence have been linked in other populations, and Jews tend to have higher intelligence and higher rates of myopia.Eldridge, R. (1970). The torsion dystonias: Literature review and genetic and clinical studies. Neurology 20:1–78.Eldridge, & T. Koerber (1979). Torsion dystonia: Autosomal recessive form. In Genetic Diseases among Ashkenazi Jews, ed. R. M. Goodman & A. G. Motulsky. New York: Raven Press.Motulsky, A. G. (1979a). Possible selective effects of urbanization on Ashkenazi Jews. In Genetic Diseases Among Ashkenazi Jews, ed. R. M. Goodman & A. G. Motulsky. New York: Raven Press.
Cochran and Harpending base their argument of Ashkenazi uniqueness on their belief that Jews did not have a reputation of being smart in the ancient world. However, if you look at Jewish religious writings, such as the Mishnah (2nd century AD) and the Talmuds (4th and 6th century), their elites were at a very high level. And it should be remembered that until the Enlightenment, the vast majority of Jewish scholarship was directed within the Jewish community, rather than at science or philosophy. As a result, Jewish intelligence may not have been apparent to non-Jews. In the ancient world, Jewish education was the norm and the system where scholars benefited with advantageous marriages was already in place. And in any case, the historical record supports the idea that Jews were quite successful economically in the ancient world. After the failed rebellions against the Romans during the 1st and 2nd century, Jews achieved a very prominent economic position in the Roman Empire and dominated some industries, so the familiar pattern of Jews as an elite group was well underway at that time. Consider, for example, the following passage from Separation and Its Discontents:
Bachrach (1985) suggested that the Jews were so wealthy, powerful, and aggressive that until around the middle of the 5th century the government viewed a strong anti-Jewish policy as not politically viable, even though it was continually being pressured in this direction by the Church. The rather limited anti-Jewish actions of the government during the 150 years following the Edict of Toleration of 313 are interpreted “as attempts to protect Christians from a vigorous, powerful, and often aggressive Jewish gens” (Bachrach 1985, 408). The Jews themselves were perceived by the emperors, the government, and the Church fathers as “an aggressive, well-organized, wealthy, and powerful minority” (p. 408). Particularly revealing are the suggestion that the solvency of the municipalities depended on Jews paying their taxes and the fear that offending the Jews could set off widespread and costly revolts, such as the one led by Patricius in 351.Bachrach, B. S. (1985). The Jewish community in the Later Roman Empire as seen in the Codex Theodosianus. In “To See Ourselves as Others See Us”: Christians, Jews, “Others” in Late Antiquity, ed. J. Neusner & E. S. Frerichs. Chico, CA: Scholars Press.
In short, Jews in the ancient world had all of the characteristics associated with later Ashkenazi populations: Economic preeminence, an occupational profile emphasizing business, finance, trading, and manufacturing, high levels of education, and a scholarly elite producing complex, religious writing. Scholarship was an excellent means to achieve upward mobility and presumably greater than average reproductive success.
These traits also characterized the Sephardim. I agree with Murray on the Sephardim because of the complete dominance of Spain by the New Christians (economic, political, and intellectual) after the "conversions" of the early 15th century. This group remained influential in Amsterdam and elsewhere, but they gradually lost their grip in Spain because of the Inquisition. They became separated from the wider Jewish community—mainly the lower classes of Jewish society—after the expulsion of 1492. This was a dysgenic event for that group, and their descendants do not seem especially accomplished. This is a passage from Ch. 7 of A People that Shall Dwell Alone:
Jews who continued to practice Judaism in Spain during the 15th century and were subsequently expelled in 1492 were less educated and less economically successful than their Converso brethren who remained to endure the wrath of the Inquisition. In this case, the less wealthy Jews certainly suffered fewer casualties and eventually were able to emigrate to North Africa or the Levant. Eventually, the Levantine Sephardim underwent a distinct atrophy of their culture..., while the descendants of the Conversos continued their highly elite and exclusivist profile on the international economic scene. When these Levantine Sephardim immigrated to the United States in the 20th century, they exhibited much higher rates of illiteracy, alcoholism, prostitution, and wife abandonment than did the Ashkenazim (Sachar 1992, 338). While the Ashkenazim were quickly upwardly mobile in American society, the Sephardim achieved only “a modest economic foothold” and were more likely to engage in lower-status occupations (Sachar 1992, 340).
My view is that the Jewish population of Spain had all the characteristics of Ashkenazi populations, including the emphasis on Jewish scholarship and favorable marriages for scholars. The Conversos were at least as accomplished as Ashkenazi groups and dominated Spain at least until the Inquisition and even for quite a while thereafter. The section on the ups and downs of Jews in the Muslim world is here:
The argument emphasizes the pattern of lower Sephardic IQ than for Ashkenazi populations within Israel. Nevertheless, it also notes that in general Jewish populations had higher intelligence and achievement in Arab societies when they were politically allowed to prosper. Perhaps the accomplishments of the Levantine Sephardim during some periods were facilitated because of the low average IQ of the peoples they lived among. In other words, they were highly capable compared to the native populations. There seems to be good evidence that the decline of the Levantine Sephardim was due at least partly to anti-Jewish actions.
Anthropologist Peter Frost has proposed a variation on the theme of Cochran and Harpending. Frost emphasizes the shift to early marriage, especially by "semi-rural artisans who produced on contract for urban merchants and who could ably exploit these larger, more elastic markets. . . . Their workforce was their household. In more successful households, the workers would marry earlier and have as many children as possible. In less successful ones, they would postpone marriage, or never marry."
This theory also demands Ashkenazi uniqueness, which is at least questionable given the above. The cottage industry niche was a fairly short-lived phenomenon, so a more formal argument would have to be made involving the power of selection among Jewish artisan families and between Jews and non-Jews. Frost's proposal reminds us that the stereotype of Jews as financiers, money lenders, merchants, and traders can be overdone. Indeed, the general pattern was for Jews to be involved in vertically integrated business and trading arrangements. For example, in Poland by the end of the 18th century, Jews dominated almost all areas of trading, manufacturing, and estate managing, and they had become dominant among the artisans as well (A People That Shall Dwell Alone, Ch. 5; Zionism and the Internal Dynamics of Judaism). The Jewish economic niche began with trading, estate managing, and money lending, but eventually they dominated virtually the entire economy except agricultural labor as the Jewish population increased.
Given this pattern, it seems gratuitous to attribute causality to one part of this pattern, especially when artisanry was the last economic niche to become dominated by Jews. Indeed, the Jewish involvement with artisanry seems to have been a consequence of their already dominating other areas; artisanry was the last remaining niche above agricultural labor to be dominated by Jews. For Frost's model to work, he must assume that the IQ of the Jewish population prior to their involvement in artisanry was at the population average. But the progenitors of Jewish artisans in Eastern Europe were Jewish traders, money lenders, and estate managers—hardly low-IQ professions. Overall, the Jewish occupational profile in Eastern Europe is familiar in other times and places, including the ancient world and Spain prior to the Inquisition, so it's difficult to see how this fits as an argument for Ashkenazi uniqueness.
It should also be noted that Jewish fertility was very high not simply because they were involved in artisanry, but also for religious reasons: the rise of the Hasidic movement. Poor Jewish families continued to have high fertility even when the result was poverty (see Zionism and the Internal Dynamics of Judaism). My argument is that eventually Jews overshot their economic niche entirely. This had huge consequences for the modern world not only because it figured prominently in the pressures resulting in anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe throughout the 19th and into the 20th century, but also because the main Jewish responses to their misery in Eastern Europe were Zionism and political radicalism—two very potent forces indeed.
Pinker on Race
August 2, 2007Steven Pinker has apparently assumed the Stephen Jay Gould Chair for Politically Correct Popularization of Evolutionary Biology at Harvard. Gould, of course, had a long and distinguished career devoted to disinformation in the areas of IQ research and other leftist causes — so much so that I devoted a large section of a chapter to him in Culture of Critique. I suspect that the folks at Harvard understand the power that their position as an elite academic institution exerts in the mainstream media and that Pinker's appointment was tacitly understood to be a safe bet that he would carry on the Gouldian tradition and not stray too far off the reservation, at least on the key issues of race and ethnicity.
I should note that I am not entirely disinterested in discussing Pinker. He has attacked my work on Judaism from an evolutionary perspective without reading it. However, it's interesting that he now seems comfortable with the possibility that Ashkenazi Jews on average have a higher IQ, and he seems to agree that it's quite possibly because of the same sorts of selective pressures that I discuss in A People That Shall Dwell Alone. Indeed, on the one hand, he is quite proud of Jewish intelligence and accomplishment, but on the other he is a bit worried about its consequences: Is it good for the Jews if non-Jews know it?
In any case, there is no question that Steven Pinker is the popular voice of evolutionary biology in the elite media. His latest effort, Strangled by Roots: The Genealogy Craze in America (The New Republic Online, July 30) has some good points, notably the statement that "blood relatives are likely to share genes. To the extent that minds are shaped by genomes, relatives are likely to be of like minds. Close relatives, whether raised together or apart, have been found to be correlated in intelligence, personality, tastes, and vices." Such statements of the importance of behavior genetics to understanding IQ and other important human traits are certainly none too common in the media. Gould would certainly not be happy with this.
However, Pinker pledges allegiance to some of the central theories and data in evolutionary biology while nevertheless vitiating their importance for understanding the world we live in.Pinker's central claim is as follows:
The same arithmetic that makes an individual's pedigree collapse onto itself also makes everyone's pedigree collapse into everyone else's. We are all related — not just in the obvious sense that we are all descended from the same population of the first humans, but also because everyone's ancestors mated with everyone else's at many points since that dawn of humanity.
This claim fails to acknowledge that people's pedigrees don't collapse into everyone else's for the simple reason that populations did not interbreed for thousands of years. This led to distinct races and to distinct ethnic groups within races. (See, e.g., V. Sarich & F. Miele, Race: The Reality of Human Differences.) Particularly egregious is that there is no appreciation of the work of Frank Salter (On Genetic Interests: Family, Ethnicity, and Humanity in an Age of Mass Migration). Salter shows that when world populations are sampled, genetic variance between groups is about .125—equivalent to the kinship between grandparent and grandchild. Think of it this way: A grandfather has about .125 more genetic overlap with his grandchild than with a person taken at random from his ethnic group; similarly, I have about .125 more genetic overlap with a person taken at random from within my ethnic group compared to a randomly chosen person from outside my ethnic group. And there is a gradient of genetic similarity among ethnic groups: Swedes are more closely related to Poles than they are to sub-Saharan Africans.
The result is that humans have an enormous genetic interest in their ethnic groups. Just as with genealogical kinship where people with larger families have a higher inclusive fitness, this genetic interest becomes enormous because it is tied to the actual number of ethnic group members which, in the modern world, can total in the millions, or, I suppose billions, in the case of the Chinese.
Pinker creates an imaginary world in which family ties are "biologically tenuous" because of the exponential decay of relatedness as one goes back in time. But for a European, say, going back for a very long time still means finding ancestors that were also from the European gene pool. And it's a very different gene pool than the Chinese or Africans find when they look into their past. And, as Salter's work implies, individual Europeans have a very large genetic interest in furthering the numbers and influence of their groups, just as other peoples do. This implies that ethnic and racial interests are real, not illusory.
Secondly, Pinker gives an air of expertise when he discusses the psychological mechanisms underlying kinship but he only includes socialization mechanisms (growing up in the same household and seeing siblings cared for by mother). Notably missing is any mention of J. Philippe Rushton's Genetic Similarity Theory. This theory attempts to account not specifically for perceptions of kinship, but rather for the general human tendency to assort with genetically similar others.The implication is that when there is a choice to be made whether in marriage, friendship, or other type of alliance, all things being equal, we are more likely to choose similar others as a way of enhancing the benefits of relationships and lessening the risks. Obviously, being of the same race is a very important basis of similarity. In a recent paper, I describe what I call implicit white communities: communities, such as NASCAR and country music fandom in the United States, where the vast majority of participants are white but not necessarily self-consciously so. That is, white people choose to be among people who are white like themselves, but they don’t necessarily think of their choice as resulting from a conscious desire to be part of a white community.
Pinker portrays appeals to wider kinship ties beyond the immediate family as little more than demagoguery, made possible by a variety of tricks, such as using the language of kinship (e.g., brotherhood, motherland). But the reality of racial and ethnic differences and the fact that we are drawn to people like ourselves means that appeals to kinship often have a firm basis in self-interest and psychological reality. Not for nothing the question "Is it good for the Jews?"
Finally, Pinker correctly calls attention to the problem that extended families present to modernization. As he notes, Iraq is a classic example of a society based on kinship ties cemented by first cousin marriage. Without using the terms, Pinker is pointing to the classic divide between individualist cultures and collectivist cultures. But what he doesn't point out is that the differences between these cultures may well be biological, reflecting natural selection in different environments. European individualism has its roots in a northern hunting ecology, while the collectivism of much of the rest of the world is rooted in prolonged evolution in environments that support group conflict.
Individualism is linked to a suite of traits that together form the basis of Western modernization: the nuclear family, bilateral kinship patterns, monogamy, moral universalism, civil societies based on trust and reputation rather than kinship connections, relative lack of ethnocentrism and group orientation, and science. Collectivist cultures typical of the Middle East, China, India, and African cultures have the opposite suite of traits. Like Iraq, they are are based on extended kinship and tribal relationships.If we have learned anything by the disaster in Iraq, it is that it is not easy to change these patterns. It's ironic that, as Pinker notes, journalist and blogger extraordinaire Steve Sailer pointed out the collectivism of Iraqi society and its implications for social disintegration in post-invasion Iraq around the same time that neocon Bernard Lewis, the most widely respected academic expert on the Middle East and Arab culture, was crowing about the democratic potential of Arab societies.At a time when Western peoples and culture are under massive assault via the mass immigration of peoples with very different family and cultural patterns, Pinker's assurances that resistance ultimately has no basis in science will certainly not help the cause of defense. But I rather doubt that he would be troubled by this. And it certainly will play well at Harvard.
July 30, 2007
Not having any young daughters I was quite unaware of the "wildly successful" Bratz dolls or the recent movie featuring them. ("A Good-Girl Make-Over for the Bratz," Los Angeles Times, July 30, 2007). The dolls are aimed at 4-8-year-old girls, with "dewy lips, fishnet stockings and barely-there miniskirts — a creep-out factor for a lot of moms. Earlier this year, a report from the American Psychological Assn. even mentioned the Bratz dolls by name and said 'it is worrisome when dolls designed specifically for 4- to 8-year-olds are associated with an objectified adult sexuality.' " So we have the cultural subversion theme going on: "ten-inch tall hoochie mamas" for little girls to play with. Director Sean McNamara's first reaction to the dolls is revealing: "These aren't cute dolls — they look like sluts." (Here's a collection from Google Images.)
But for the movie, they probably figured that the teenage girls as sluts theme would mean that the girls would actually have to act slutty rather than just look slutty. That would bring about an R-rating or worse, and therefore cut down on the profits. So the hoochie mama theme was downplayed in favor of a strong multicultural conflict between multi-race good guys versus "country club white" bad guys. The bad guys are led by "student-body president Meredith, who is platinum blond, affluent, haughty and in possession of both nefarious plans to rule the school and a pampered pooch named (ahem) Paris."
On the other hand, the Bratz "are the urban poly-hues of a Benetton ad": one "lily-white," one African-American, one Asian, and one Latino (played by the daughter of an Australian Jew and a Spanish Catholic). So there is a Jewish theme as well: "The loopy vision of a Jewish grandmother who, with no explanation, has a mariachi band strumming away and munching on bagels in her kitchen."
All of the non-white characters look about as white as possible while nevertheless retaining distinctive racial characteristics. This doubtless makes the characters more attractive to white girls who constitute the core audience for the movie. After all, it's natural to be attracted to those like yourself (part of the deep structure of Philippe Rushton's Genetic Similarity Theory)— even when the ingroup crosses racial lines. Having a dark-skinned Muslim character dressed in a Burkha would definitely ruin the aura.
The driving force behind Bratz is Avi Arad, an Israeli-American who is very big on diversity, at least for America: "The first thing I saw in them was diversity." ... "I really liked the idea that they had a Latino girl, an Asian girl, an African American girl and a lily-white kid. They show that your color is not going to set up your path in life. And I think that works because, among kids, it's becoming more and more of 'one world for a change.'"
The dolls and the movie are just the beginning. A Broadway musical and sequels to the movie will in due time be coming to theaters near you. Perhaps in the sequels they can continue with the "diversity is good — white without diversity is bad" theme, but maybe spice it up with some slutty behavior more in line with what the Bratz dolls are all about.
Hey Avi, how about a movie aimed at Israeli kids? I've got the perfect plot. A Jewish girl from Israel, an Israeli Arab, a Palestinian Muslim from the West Bank, and an Arab Christian do battle against a stereotypically evil Jewish-Israeli girl. A religiously fundamentalist West Bank settler who wants all Arabs removed from Israel and the occupied territories would be perfect. Or we could play it safe and have the bad guy be a Jewish girl who simply wants Israel to remain a Jewish state. Since you're into physical stereotypes, the evil Jewish girl could have all the stereotypical Jewish physical features—something right out of Der Sturmer, and we could even do an Israeli version of the "Jewish American Princess" bit. I'm telling you, Avi, this idea has legs. Have your people call me. We'll do lunch.
"Marriage Wall Pains New Israelis"
July 28, 2007Following closely on the heels of news that Israel is considering a law allowing the Housing Agency to discriminate against Arabs in leasing land (see Haaretz: A Racist Jewish State), the LA Times reports (July 26, 2007) on the difficulties caused by the fact that control over marriage in Israel resides with the Orthodox rabbinate. This means that marriage is restricted to people who can prove Jewish descent through their mothers or who have undergone the grueling process of converting to Orthodox Judaism. So Israelis with a Jewish father don't count, and even if you have a Jewish mother it may not be easy to prove it to the authorities. Documents must be authenticated, often at considerable cost. It is possible to go abroad and have a civil ceremony, but this too is costly.
This is not a rare problem. Over 300,000 Israelis cannot be legally married, even though they are eligible for the military draft.One of the criticisms of my work is to argue that even if I am right about the extreme concern that traditional Jews had in racial purity, this surely does not apply today when there are very high rates of conversion and intermarriage. Consider the following:
To the extent that this is true at all, the argument is really about how to characterize Diaspora Judaism in certain Western countries. High levels of intermarriage do not occur in Israel or in other parts of the world. In fact, the article notes that each religious community in Israel has its own marriage laws. The Jewish state becomes a microcosm of traditional Middle Eastern societies and traditional Judaism itself: Different groups living among their own people and with their own cultural practices, walled off from other groups.
In the U.S., estimates of rates of intermarriage tend to be inflated because Orthodox Jews are undersampled while Southern, black, and poor Jews were oversampled. The best-known survey inflated the number of out-marrying Jews by including people who themselves were of mixed parentage and were not raised as Jews.
The vast majority of the intermarried and their children will eventually leave Judaism both because their descendents will be less committed to the Jewish community and because they are made to feel unwelcome in the Jewish community. Outreach efforts routinely overlook the children of intermarried couples. Thus, the issue is not so much about what Judaism is, as about whether there will be a decline in Jewish numbers in the long run.
There is a robust core of ethnically conscious Jews (fundamentalist, Orthodox, and Conservative)—at least 33% but probably more because these groups are undercounted probably for political reasons—for whom intermarriage is anathema. This group will retain their genetic integrity into the foreseeable future, and they are prone to high fertility levels.
The Jewish community has made a major effort to minimize intermarriage (see also Separation and Its Discontents, Ch. 9). This effort is one factor likely to discourage conversionary families and their descendents from remaining in the Jewish community. It is still very common for Jews to self-consciously assert the ethnic basis of Judaism. Charles Bronfman, a main sponsor of the $210 million "Birthright Israel" project which attempts to deepen the commitment of American Jews, stated, "You can live a perfectly decent life not being Jewish, but I think you're losing a lot—losing the kind of feeling you have when you know [that] throughout the world there are people who somehow or other have the same kind of DNA that you have."(Washington Post, Jan. 17, 2000). Even in Reform Judaism, it is common to think of Judaism as having a biological basis. And the fence mending has been particularly vigorous in the outer layers of the Jewish community. Recent guidelines for Reform Judaism emphasize traditional practices of conversion, such as circumcision, that are likely to minimize converts, and proselytism is explicitly rejected ("Reform Judaism Nears a Guide to Conversion.", p. A19, New York Times, June 27, 2001). It would appear that Conservative religious forms of Judaism will be the rule in the Diaspora and there will be a self-conscious ethnic aspect to Jewish religiosity.
There is no attempt by the organized Jewish community to simply convert non-Jews to Judaism. Quite the opposite. Every effort now is directed at mending the fences and preventing intermarriage. Orthodox conversion is a very grueling process, presumably designed to weed out all but the most motivated.
So far as I am aware, conversionary couples and their children do not have a leadership role within the Jewish community. I would be amazed if the ADL had significant number of Jews coming from intermarried families--certainly not people like Abe Foxman, Mortimer Zuckerman, Alan Dershowitz or the Jewish activists I am aware of. Again, the issue of conversion and its effects on Judaism is really a question about the future, not the present, and certainly not about the past.
When you put all this together, "the only democracy in the Middle East" and its supporters in the U.S. don't seem very Western at all. Ethnic purity and apartheid-like discrimination and separation from outgroups are the reality.
Jonah Goldberg: Seeking the Moral High Ground
July 24, 2007One of the features of Jewish intellectual and political movements I noticed in my research is a strong tendency to claim the moral high ground (See Culture of Critique, passim). The neocons, of course, are no exception to this, and Jonah Goldberg's "In Iraq Liberals Flip on Genocide" (L. A. Times, July, 24, 2007) is a great example. It is now widely known that the neocons, including Goldberg, were the main force leading us into the war in Iraq and that the motivations of many of the principal neocons were firmly rooted in their ethnic ties to the interests of Israel. The public rationale for this disastrous policy was based on a whole series of lies about weapons of mass destruction and strong ties between Saddam Hussein and El Qaeda. It was also based on an illusory desire for democracy and Western-style social and political institutions on the part of the Iraqi people.
So what we have here is a huge moral abyss in which the ethnic interests of a narrow segment of the American population have resulted in a huge loss of many thousands of American and Iraqi lives as well as hundreds of billions of dollars of unnecessary expenditures. Goldberg nevertheless tries to seize the moral high ground by saying that those who want to leave Iraq are condemning the Iraqis to an ocean of bloodshed. Ergo, the U.S. has a moral obligation to remain in Iraq.
The problem with this from a moral perspective is it was well known prior to the invasion that Iraq was deeply divided along sectarian religious and ethnic lines, and that toppling Hussein might well unleash a nightmare of violence not only on the Iraqis but also the U.S. troops. (Click here for Vice President Dick Cheney's prescient 1994 video clearly stating all the reasons why invading Iraq would be a bad idea..) The idea that the invasion would lead to a society remotely resembling Western societies was a fundamental lie promoted by respected neocon academics like Middle East expert Bernard Lewis of Princeton. (IMO, Lewis should be a prime candidate for the Franz Boas Award for Using Academic Credentials to Advance an Ethnic Agenda. Close runner-up: Alan Dershowitz of Harvard for his multi-faceted activities in defense of Israel, but more on that another time.) And Israeli strategists have long proposed downsizing Arab regimes along ethnic and sectarian lines so that they are less powerful and pose less of a threat to Israel. See "Neoconservatism as a Jewish Movement."
So I can just see the denouement: Goldberg and his ilk will pose as morally pure defenders of continued U.S. presence in Iraq, and when that becomes politically or militarily untenable, they will wring their hands publicly, and condemn the liberals and anyone else who advocates withdrawal. But privately, they and the Israelis will be crying some very big crocodile tears.

Jonah Goldberg Again
July 26, 2007In writing the previous blog on Jonah Goldberg, I read over an old column of his on why we shouldn't blame the Jews for the Iraq war. (Jews and the war. National Review Online, March 13, 2003). This is a really disingenuous piece. I say that because that's the only explanation for why someone with a presumably high IQ could write such nonsense. Of course, not all Jews were in favor of the war, or even a majority. But he seems to think that it's obviously a bad case of anti-Semitism to suppose that some Jews could have influenced the Bush Administration to invade Iraq because of their sense of Jewish interests and specifically their attachment to Israel. No need to go over the evidence that has struck quite a few people to conclude otherwise. To even entertain the thought that Jews "pull strings" is to cross the line. To be sure, Goldberg is more forthright than many, noting, for example, that indeed "it's perfectly fair to argue that some Jewish (and non-Jewish) conservatives overemphasize the importance of Israel." Thanks!!
But then he argues that "maybe instead of Richard Perle secretly receiving orders from Ariel Sharon, he might actually believe what he says. After all, if the 'Dark Prince' thinks it's in America's interest to risk American blood and treasure in defense of our Taiwanese or South Korean allies, is it so treasonous that he might think we should do it for our Israeli ones as well?"
The problem, of course, is that it's just about impossible to think that someone like Perle could possibly have an evenhanded, unbiased view of the relationship between Israeli and American interests. We're talking about someone who has been credibly charged with spying for Israel, who is on the editorial board of the Jerusalem Post, has worked for an Israeli defense technology company, is a close personal friend of Israeli ultra-hawk Ariel Sharon, and was a leading force behind the notorious "A Clean Break" report for an Israeli military think tank that advocated the removal of Saddam Hussein as being an important Israeli interest. Goldberg, of course, fails to include any of this information about Perle in his op-ed. It's truly amazing that such a person could ever be taken seriously in foreign policy circles in the U.S. — or that people like Goldberg could have influential positions in the mainstream media.

Haaretz: "A Racist Jewish State"
July 21, 2007President Carter's book, Palestine: Peace or Apartheid, caused an uproar among the pro-Zionist media in the U.S. because the word 'apartheid' appeared in the title. David Horowitz (Jimmy Carter: Jew-Hater, Genocide-Enabler, Liar) was especially pained by Carter's description of the lives of the Palestinians living behind walled off areas and restrained in their movements, while modern roads connected the Jewish settlements. If this isn't apartheid, the word has lost it's meaning. But Carter was very careful to state that apartheid only characterized the occupied territories, not Israel proper. But we have long known that Jews and non-Jews do not have the same access to public services even in pre-1967 Israel, and Haaretz now reports that a law being considered in the Knesset would allow discrimination against non-Jews in leasing land through the Jewish Agency. The law would also allow the establishment of universities and other public institutions reserved only for Jews. This law would in effect overturn a Supreme Court decision prohibiting discrimination—a decision that was ignored in practice by local communities.
It will be interesting to see if the American Jewish community is motivated to take a leading role to protest this state of affairs, but we shouldn't hold our breath on that one. American Jews have a long history of advocating policies in the U.S. that are quite the opposite of Israeli policies within Israel. (Immigration comes to mind.) It is well-known that the American Jewish community played a major role in the civil rights movement in the U.S., but less well known that from the beginning in the early 20th century there was a a strong sense among many Zionists that Jews constitute a biological entity. Many prominent Zionists (e.g., Vladimir Jabotinsky and Arthur Ruppin) saw the establishment of Israel as a way to preserve ethnic purity among Jews and advance the interests of the Jewish people seen as a racial group (reviewed in Ch. 5 of Separation and Its Discontents; see also
It's abundantly clear that that is exactly how Israel is functioning. Indeed, the prime advocates of the proposed law (Uri Ariel, Benjamin Netanyahu, Ami Ayalon, Michael Eitan, Reuven Rivlin and Shalom Simhon) are the intellectual and political descendants of Jabotinsky. They are Jewish ethnonationalists who have been in the forefront of the settler movement and the erection of the apartheid society in the occupied territories. These practices certainly depart from the image of Israel as a democratic, Western society, but they fit well with a Jewish ethnonationalist agenda and, from my perspective, are yet another example of Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy.

Argumentum ad David Duke
March 22, 2006This is an absolutely outrageous example of "journalism" from the New York Sun. According to the article, the supporters of the excellent piece by Mearsheimer and Walt are listed as David Duke (= KKK = Nazi), the PLO, and "a senior member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organization." Obviously a bad lot. On the other hand, the opponents include prominent ex-government officials, academics, and media people: Marvin Kalb, Dennis Ross, and Mort Zuckerman, and Daniel Pipes—all well-known members of the Israel Lobby. A previous article, titled David Duke Claims to be Vindicated by Harvard Dean, did the same thing, but the opponents in that one included a different set of Zionist operatives: Alan Dershowitz, Malcolm Hoenlein (executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations), Martin Peretz, Aaron Miller, Andrea Levin, and Morris Amitay. The main technique is to find fault with some quibble and thereby discredit the whole thing. The classic is the statement in the article that Daniel Pipes has offered a reward to anyone who can prove that he started Campus Watch at the behest of the Lobby. But M & W simply point to Pipes being a member of the Lobby—someone with a long record of pro-Israel activism (perhaps fanaticism is a better word in Pipes' case). Rather than debate the truth of this, Pipes interprets M & W's to imply some sort of secret organization giving Pipes his marching orders. But of course, this can't be proven, and is probably not true anyway. So the implication is that everything M&W say is tainted.
Not to be outdone, James Taranto picked up the David Duke theme in his op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal. This piece does deal with some of the actual arguments in M & W (although it leaves an awful lot out), but Taranto just can't help tying it all together by emphasizing the Duke angle. I guess the idea is that if you embed your arguments in the Duke stuff, maybe people won't look too closely at the arguments. Think of Duke as a tool for focusing the mind and simplifying the issues.Too bad Hitler isn't still alive so the Sun and Taranto could find out the Fuhrer's attitude on this one. I guess we'll have to settle for the argumentum ad David Duke.
PS: Sept. 20, 2007: This type of attack continues. Mearsheimer and Walt gave a talk at UCLA on Sept. 19. A flyer distributed to audience members by "Stand With Us" has a page titled "Extremists Endorse 'The Israel Lobby.'" On it are listed David Duke, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's guidance council, Abdulmo'em Abulfotah, Hamas, and Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review. The first page sums up their critique: "Fails to Meet Academic Standards; Includes Factual Errors; Carries Anti-Semitic Overtones.
Jews and the Democrats: Reflections on the 2004 Election
November 25, 2004
The conventional wisdom put forward by the punditocracy is that the Republicans won the election because of the importance given by voters to moral and religious values. Voting on the basis of cultural issues is nothing new of course. In fact, that’s the big story of Jewish voting where the old saying has it that Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans. Since the 1920s there has been a gap between Jewish voting behavior and their economic interests. This pattern was repeated on November 2 when an overwhelming 75% of Jewish voters voted for John Kerry. More Jews voted for Bush this time around (25% versus 19% in 2000), but the results were far less than the Republicans hoped.
Indeed, the vast majority of America’s Jews continue to vote for Democrats even as their neoconservative brethren have achieved a stranglehold on the foreign policy of the Bush administration and even as the organized Jewish community has played an important role in the success of this effort. Jews voted overwhelmingly for Kerry despite the strong pro-Republican bias of recent Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union and the defection of the majority of Orthodox Jews hoping for federal subsidies for Jewish education.
The strong vote for Kerry occurred despite the fact that the welfare of Israel is a deep concern for the vast majority of American Jews and President Bush is widely seen by Jews as the most pro-Israel and most pro-Jewish president in history. And they voted for Kerry despite the urgings of some liberal Democrat Jews like former New York mayor Ed Koch, and The New Republic editor Martin Peretz that a vote for Kerry would be bad for Israel. Peretz wrote in the L.A. Times (Oct. 17, 2004), “Like many American Jews, I was brought up to believe that if I pulled the Republican lever on the election machine my right hand would wither and, as the Psalmist says, my tongue would cleave to the roof of my mouth. . . . Now although there are many reasons one might want to vote for John F. Kerry, remembering Jerusalem — remembering to stand up for the state of Israel — is not among them.” Of course, Kerry promised to support Israel “100%” and actively courted the Jewish vote, so Jews may have believed that Israel was not about to go under if Kerry was elected. But in any case, these numbers place the mainstream secular Jewish voter pretty much in line with Black voters in their overwhelming support for the Democrats.
So if it’s not economics and it’s not Israel, what is the deep psychology that leads the great majority of American Jews to support the Democratic Party? In a nutshell, it has to do with cultural values that are the direct opposite of those that seem to be surfacing with ever greater clarity in the vast bulk of the land mass of the United States: The red states and counties. When the average Jewish voter thinks of Christian fundamentalism, their main emotions are fear and disdain. Nothing horrifies the mainstream Jewish voter more than the thought of Christian fundamentalists with their agenda of prayer in public schools, their commitment to traditional sexual mores (including opposition to abortion), and, most basically, their living in their homogeneous white communities and wanting to stay that way.
As argued in The Culture of Critique, the organized Jewish community has been the most important force favoring unrestricted immigration to the U.S. There are several reasons for this, the primary one being the belief that Jews are safer in an ethnically diverse, post-Christian America. As prominent neocon Elliott Abrams acknowledges, the mainstream Jewish community “clings to what is at bottom a dark vision of America, as a land permeated with anti-Semitism and always on the verge of anti-Semitic outbursts.” From this perspective, diversity and immigration means safety for American Jews: As Abrams notes, the result is that Jews have taken the lead in secularizing America.
This culture clash between Jews and the idea of a white, Christian America was described some time ago by Charles Silberman who noted that American Jews believe that “Jews are safe only in a society acceptant of a wide range of attitudes and behaviors, as well as a diversity of religious and ethnic groups. It is this belief, for example, not approval of homosexuality, that leads an overwhelming majority of American Jews to endorse ‘gay rights’ and to take a liberal stance on most other so-called ‘social’ issues.” American Jews continue to be on the left of this cultural divide, and it is this liberal stance on social issues that puts Jews firmly in favor of the “bluing” of America. And the Democratic Party is not about to change its attitudes unless it wants to alienate its Jewish constituency. As Marc Stern, assistant executive director of the American Jewish Congress, phrased it in a recent Forward article, "Most Jews are much more liberal than the rest of the population. On abortion, on homosexual marriage, on premarital sex, Jews are fundamentally different than everyone else except the most secular. There's nothing the Democrats can do to appeal to people who are religious without alienating that part of their base."
And it’s not likely that the Democratic Party would want to alienate its Jewish base. As political scientist Benjamin Ginsberg has pointed out, “Without Jews there isn’t much of a Democratic Party and [if they nominate a presidential candidate Jews don’t like] they’d better start saving their nickels and dimes because they’re not going to get as many Jewish dollars.” Indeed, it’s not just that Jews vote for the Democrats because of their vision of a multicultural, post, Christian, non-European America. The Democratic Party is fundamentally a Jewish party in the sense that Jews are absolutely necessary to funding and organizing the Democrats. Ten years ago Jews reportedly donated half of all the funds contributed to the Democratic Party, and it’s undoubtedly higher now, with several estimates in the 60% range. A very prominent Jewish donor to the Democrats has been George Soros who, in the words of Christine Iverson, Republican National Committee spokeswoman, “purchased the Democratic Party” by donating $27 million to pro-Democratic Party political organizations to oust President Bush. (Soros’ friend, insurance executive Peter Lewis, donated another $23 million.) Soros is also well known as a pro-immigration activist whose Emma Lazarus fund provides money for supporting legal immigrants to the U.S.
The confluence of Jewish cultural influence and money for liberal causes is, of course, Hollywood. Hollywood has been very good to the Democrats. The entertainment industry is the largest industry funding Democratic Party causes, with only 20% of its money going to Republicans. The big Jewish donors to the Democrats include Haim Saban who gave $7 million in one donation to the Democratic National Committee and $10 million in all during the 2002 election cycle. Saban hobnobs with John Kerry and he vacations with Bill Clinton, and he unabashedly uses his media empire to promote Israel. (Clinton, of course, has a long association with Jewish Hollywood, beginning when he was a virtually unknown governor of a backwater state who came to Hollywood, hat in hand, to solicit the support of Lew Wasserman. Wasserman, who died in 2002, was the last “king of Hollywood”—the only person a Democratic politician aspiring to be president needed behind him to tap into Hollywood money.) Another Hollywood mogul who donates lavishly to the Democratic Party causes is producer Steve Bing—$14 million in the most recent election cycle and another $8.7 million in the 2002 election cycle. Barbra Streisand, the bête noire of conservative talk radio, was for years the largest fundraiser for liberal causes in the U.S., and, as Eric Alter notes, “the fact is, most people [in Hollywood] agree with what she says, and she puts her money where her mouth is.” Alter’s tour of major Hollywood donors also includes David Geffen, who raised $20 million for Bill Clinton, Norman Lear, Rob Reiner, Stewart and Lynda Resnick (Sunkist foods), and supermarket magnate Ron Burkle. Besides the donors, there are also the activists like Laurie David (wife of Larry David and “the It Girl of Hollywood progressive politics”) and agents like Marge Tabankin (“the dean, or perhaps the den mother, of Hollywood political consultants”).
In the campaign, Kerry made the mistake of declaring at a movie celebrity fundraiser in New York that "every performer tonight . . . conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country." This played entirely into Bush’s hands: A constantly reiterated theme of Bush’s campaign was that Kerry claims that "the heart and soul of America is Hollywood, but I know it is really found right here in (fill in the blank)." A recent defector, actor Ron Silver, finds that "There's an incredibly unhealthy uniformity of opinion in Hollywood. When you're at a dinner party and the subject of the president comes up, it's just assumed that all 20 people are thinking, 'How are we going to get rid of this [jerk].' I can't think of any colleague in the entertainment community having a serious conversation with someone who's pro-life or a born-again Christian. There's just a real disconnect from the rest of the country" (L.A. Times, Nov. 16, 2004).
It should come as no surprise that ethnic Jews have a powerful influence in the Hollywood elite — far larger than any other identifiable group. In a survey performed in the 1980s, 60 percent of a representative sample of the movie elite were of Jewish background, and the list of major players in Hollywood’s political donation machine certainly does not indicate things are any different now. Michael Medved—himself a conservative Jewish critic of the liberal bias of the Hollywood media, characterizes the values of Hollywood as precisely opposite those of red-state America—nothing less than an all out attack on the traditional American family, patriotism, and traditional sexual mores. But the most obvious focus of attack is on the Christian religion, the most bedrock value of red-state America:
In the ongoing war on traditional values, the assault on organized faith represents the front to which the entertainment industry has most clearly committed itself. On no other issue do the perspectives of the show business elites and those of the public at large differ more dramatically. Time and again, the producers have gone out of their way to affront the religious sensibilities of ordinary Americans.
In his book Hollywood vs. America, Medved fails to find even one film made since the mid-1970s where Christianity is portrayed positively. Examples where Christianity is portrayed negatively abound, but most of the Hollywood elite was “quick to sneer” at the huge box office success Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. This means that Hollywood would rather leave money on the table than make movies that validate the beliefs of red state America (L.A. Times, Nov. 16, 2004).
Red state America has a strong attachment to small towns, but Hollywood routinely portrays small towns as filled with bigots and anti-Semites. Media commentator Ben Stein records the hostility of the media toward rural America:
The typical Hollywood writer ... is of an ethnic background from a large Eastern city — usually from Brooklyn [i.e., they have a Jewish background]. He grew up being taught that people in small towns hated him, were different from him, and were out to get him [i.e., small town people are anti-Semites]. As a result, when he gets the chance, he attacks the small town on television or the movies....
The television shows and movies are not telling it 'like it is'; instead they are giving us the point of view of a small and extremely powerful section of the American intellectual community — those who write for the mass visual media.... What is happening, as a consequence, is something unusual and remarkable. A national culture is making war upon a way of life that is still powerfully attractive and widely practiced in the same country.... Feelings of affection for small towns run deep in America, and small-town life is treasured by millions of people. But in the mass culture of the country, a hatred for the small town is spewed out on television screens and movie screens every day.... Television and the movies are America's folk culture, and they have nothing but contempt for the way of life of a very large part of the folk.... People are told that their culture is, at its root, sick, violent, and depraved, and this message gives them little confidence in the future of that culture. It also leads them to feel ashamed of their country and to believe that if their society is in decline, it deserves to be.
At the end of the day, I suppose that the real reason that red-state America voted for Bush was not because of Christian religious fervor but as an aspect of “identity politics” (see Chapter 16 of this volume: “Psychology and White Ethnocentrism”): They voted for Bush because he and his wife and daughters look, talk, and act like them and their families and friends. As one analyst noted, "I think their conservatism is born out of a feeling that Bush looks like a regular guy, and the Democrats are all snots and they are not addressing my concerns" (L.A. Times, Nov. 22, 2004). Birds of a feather really do flock together, as predicted by J. Philippe Rushton’s Genetic Similarity Theory: People are attracted to other people of their own ethnic group, prefer to live among them, and tend to be like them in just about every way imaginable, from similar attitudes to similar genes.
And a major aspect of their similarity is that they have the same moral and religious values. The white Protestant vote for Bush is at landslide proportions: 69% according to the exit polls for the 2002 Congressional elections, and a lofty 78% among Evangelical Protestants in the 2004 presidential race. An important new demographic category are white families with young children who are moving away from inner-tier, racially diverse suburbs that have been the main destinations for new immigrants. These white voters are people for whom “identification with the GOP has become a kind of cultural and social statement.” It is perhaps but a short step before these people will consciously identify and assert their ethnic interests as an important voting bloc in multiethnic, multicultural America. This is not a development that will be welcomed by the people who run and fund the Democratic Party.
But the good news for Hollywood’s elite and the Jewish community whose values they embody is that red state America will gradually lose its power because of immigration and the other cultural forces they so ardently support. Indeed, despite its mouthing the moral values of the people who elected them, the Bush Administration is determined to continue their displacement by not doing anything about massive legal immigration and pushing the a new amnesty proposal that would legalize millions of illegal immigrants and act as a beacon for yet millions more. Michael Moore, himself a leftist goy who shares the values of the Hollywood elite and the great majority of Jewish voters, came up with 17 reasons not to slit your wrists with the re-election of George Bush. One of them was “88% of Bush's support came from white voters. In 50 years, America will no longer have a white majority. Hey, 50 years isn't such a long time! If you're ten years old and reading this, your golden years will be truly golden and you will be well cared for in your old age.”
Actually I rather doubt that my children will be well cared for in a non-white America. It’s pretty obvious that the people Michael Moore hangs out with really hate everything traditional about the place, including its people.

Kevin MacDonald Website
Previous Blog Posts

Ann Coulter’s Jewish Problem
The Fanaticism of Ruth Wisse
The SY's and the Ostjuden: Comparing Two Very Different Jewish Groups
James Watson’s Ordeal
The Israel Lobby and the Psychology of Influence
God's Jewish Warriors
Jewish Intelligence
Pinker on Race
"Marriage Wall Pains New Israelis"
Jonah Goldberg: Seeking the Moral High Ground
Jonah Goldberg Again
Haaretz: A Racist Jewish State
Argumentum ad David Duke
Jews and the Democrats
Kevin MacDonald Articles on Vdare:
01/31/07 - MidEast Policy—Immigration Policy: Is The Other Boot About To Drop?
11/14/06 - Heidi Does Long Beach: The SPLC vs. Academic Freedom
04/08/06 - “Stalin’s Willing Executioners”? Girin vs. MacDonald
11/05/05 - “Stalin’s Willing Executioners”?
10/27/04 - Immigration And The Unmentionable Question Of Ethnic Interests
06/19/04 - Was the 1924 Immigration Cut-off “Racist”?
09/18/03 - Thinking About Neoconservatism

Blog Archives
This is a paragraph of text that could go in the sidebar.

var page_name = '';
var invisible = '';
function sE(){return true;}window.onError=sE;
var ui='kmacd33';var rn=Math.random();var base=top.document;
var qry=ui+':3::'+escape(base.referrer)+'::'+screen.width


Post a Comment

<< Home