Friday, April 02, 2021

Evidence that campus anti-Zionist propaganda makes students antisemitic

Tablet magazine has a most disturbing article that shows that antisemitism is positively correlated with education.

The more years of education people have, the more likely that they will hate Jews.

The authors created a very interesting study that could tease out these prejudices from people who would never admit directly that they are biased against Jews. 

We drafted two versions of the same question, one asking respondents to apply a principle to a Jewish example, and another to apply the same principle to a non-Jewish example. Subjects were randomly assigned to see one version or another so that no respondent would see both versions of the question. Since no one would see both versions of the question, sophisticated respondents would have no way of knowing that we were measuring their sentiment toward Jews, and no cue to game their answers.

When we administered these double-standard measures in a nationally representative survey of over 1,800 people, our results differed widely from the conventional view about the relationship between education and anti-Semitism. In fact, we found that more highly educated people were more likely to apply principles more harshly to Jewish examples. By preventing subjects from knowing that they were being asked about their feelings toward Jews, we discovered that more-highly educated people in the United States tend to have greater antipathy toward Jews than less-educated people do.

The methodology was brilliant: 

The first item asks whether “the government should set minimum requirements for what is taught in private schools,” with Orthodox Jewish or Montessori schools given as the illustrating example. The second item asks whether “a person’s attachment to another country creates a conflict of interest when advocating in support of certain U.S. foreign policy positions,” with Israel or Mexico offered as illustrating examples. The third item asks whether “the U.S. military should be allowed to forbid” the wearing of religious headgear as part of the uniform, with a Jewish yarmulke or Sikh turban offered as illustrating examples. And the fourth item asks whether public gatherings during the pandemic “posed a threat to public health and should have been prevented,” with Orthodox Jewish funerals or Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests offered as illustrating examples.

The responses showed that antisemitic attitudes correlated with more education:

We found that respondents with higher education levels are markedly more likely than those with lower education levels to apply a double standard unfavorable toward Jews. Across the four items in which the Jewish and non-Jewish versions of questions seemed the most similar, and which the overall sample answered roughly in the same way, subjects with college degrees were 5 percentage points more likely to apply a principle harshly to Jews than to non-Jews. Among those with advanced degrees, subjects were 15 percentage points more unfavorable toward Jewish than non-Jewish examples.

The authors have no idea why there should be such a correlation. They theorize that perhaps universities are teaching facts without any anchoring in morality, and somehow this helps antisemitic attitudes.

They are looking at the wrong place to find the answers.

The antisemitism is directly correlated to the amount of anti-Zionism they are exposed to on campus! The more that they hear that the Jewish state is racist and apartheid and Nazi-like, the more they absorb the idea that Jews are bad people who deserve to be treated worse than others.

One indication comes from another recent survey, the Gallup poll that looked at American attitudes towards Israel and Palestinians. The results show a strikingly similar correlation between education and anti-Israel attitudes that the first survey showed between levels of education and antisemitic attitudes.

In the Gallup poll, favorable opinions about Israel decreased with higher levels of education. The high school or lower respondents preferred Israel over the Palestinians by a 65%-20% margin; the college graduates had a 51%-32% preference for Israel. On the question of which side should be pressured more, the results were even starker: for the less educated, 53%-26% said to pressure the Palestinians more, for the college graduates 45%-32% said to pressure Israel more. 

It seems quite probable that the attitudes of students towards Jews will correspond with their attitudes towards Israel. A landmark 2017 survey by Amcha concluded:

Schools with instances of student-produced anti-Zionist expression, including BDS promotion, were 7 times more likely to have incidents that targeted Jewish students for harm than schools with no evidence of students’ anti-Zionist expression, and the more such anti-Zionist expression, the higher the likelihood of incidents involving anti-Jewish hostility.

The Gallup poll didn't ask about postgraduate attitudes towards Israel, only "no college," "some college" and "college graduate." But the trend is there and almost certainly it mirrors the antisemitic trend found by the authors of the Tablet article. 

It isn't the additional classroom instruction that makes people more antisemitic. It is additional exposure to the anti-Israel narrative and propaganda subconsciously makes people more likely to be antipathetic to Jews.