Tuesday, April 26, 2022

New study: Higher education is correlated with higher antisemitism

From a Twitter thread by Jay P. Greene:

The peer-reviewed journal, Antisemitism Studies, just published research by @AlbertxCheng, @iskingsb, and me finding that antisemitism is much more common among people with higher educational attainment.

Our result that antisemitism is worse among people with more advanced degrees is contrary to the conventional wisdom (and some past research) that the problem is concentrated among people with low education levels.

Past research directly asked people how they felt about Jews or whether they agreed with antisemitic statements. "Better" educated people are more likely to understand what they are being asked and sophisticated enough to give socially desirable but false answers. 

We developed a new way to measure antisemitism based on the application of double standards that avoids this social desirability bias. For example, half of the sample was asked about the military banning Jews from wearing kippot, other half about Sikhs wearing turbans. The principle of the military banning religious headgear is the same, so people should give the same answer regardless of whether they were presented with Jewish or Sikh version of the question. 

Highly educated people were much more likely to favor restricting religious headgear when shown the Jewish example than when shown Sikh example. The same pattern was observed across several different sets of double-standard questions. 

The implication of our finding is that antisemitism is not, as is commonly believed, primarily the result of ignorance and can best be addressed with education. Instead, antisemitism has to be understood for how it provides political and social benefits to its adherents. 

Understanding how the threat of antisemitism is coming more from highly-educated coastal elites than from lower-educated flyover country and is not largely a function of ignorance means that we must change how and where we combat antisemitism. 
An earlier version of our research can be found in @tabletmag without a paywall. 
The Tablet article detailed the double-standard questions that showed significant antisemitism in highly educated people versus those with less education. 

 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 logic of these double-standard items is that the situations are comparable enough in the Jewish and non-Jewish examples that respondents should answer them similarly on average. Some people may favor more or less regulation of what is taught in private schools, be more or less concerned about dual-loyalty issues, more or less deferential to military uniform rules, and believe that public gatherings posed more or less of a threat to public health. Regardless of how subjects feel about each of these substantive issues, they should not, in the aggregate, answer them differently if they are shown Jewish or non-Jewish examples.
But they mostly did:

When asked whether “attachment to another country creates a conflict of interest,” respondents with a four-year degree and those with advanced degrees were respectively 7 and 13 percentage points more likely to express this concern when the attachment in question was to Israel rather than Mexico. People with advanced degrees were 12 percentage points more likely to support the military in prohibiting a Jewish yarmulke than in prohibiting a Sikh turban as part of the uniform. Those with four-year college degrees answer this question the same whether the example is Jewish or Sikh.

The overall sample was fairly concerned about public gatherings during the pandemic, with 61% supporting the prohibition of public gatherings, whether for an Orthodox Jewish funeral or for BLM protests. Those with a four-year degree were 11 percentage points more likely to oppose these public gatherings for Jewish funerals than for BLM protests. People with advanced degrees were 36 percentage points more likely to want Orthodox Jewish funerals prohibited than BLM protests.  
This is a brilliant, albeit imperfect, methodology to expose antisemitism among the so-called intelligentsia. An argument could be made that the 36 point gap in the last question is at least as much because the respondents didn't want to be considered racist by giving a hint of being against BLM protests - the same reasoning that makes the straight "do you think Jews are X" questions less likely to be answered in a bigoted way among the more educated.

Nevertheless, the Sikh head turban question proves the antisemitism of the educated respondents. By any measure, a turban is more likely to interfere with combat than a small yarmulka that would fit easily under a helmet or cap. 

Another question that could reveal overall group antisemitism could include a list of potential charities that people would be more likely to donate to, and compare how many would give to a Gazan family that lost their home from a Hamas "work accident" compared to a Gazan family that lost their home to an Israeli airstrike.

Or comparing whether they believe that Hagia Sophia should be open to Muslims only compared to whether the Temple Mount should be open to Muslims only.

Or whether Turkish citizens who live in Northern Cyprus must be forced to evacuate their homes compared to Jews in Judea and Samaria.

Or whether they would support special police task forces to protect Asians from attack in major cities compared to protecting religious Jews from attack.

There is no shortage of examples of double standards applied to Jews.

It is also notable that the correlation is with number of years in college, not with intelligence. Arguably, college environments foster antisemitism. 

I hope to see this methodology extended and refined. While it cannot show an absolute percentage of people who are antisemitic by its nature, it shows that the people who claim not to be antisemitic the most are often just the ones who hide it best.

(h/t Ian)

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!