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Universities as a target of the Israel Lobby

Posted: 27 Jul 2012 01:46 PM PDT
As traitorous White elites go, university presidents are at the top of the list. These days the job description really has two components: Raise lots of money, and be sure to kowtow to the ever more massive anti-White diversity contingent at your university—all those departments of the left that now dominate the social sciences and humanities.
But being a university president definitely has its rewards, chief among them financial: The median salary for public-university presidents in the 2011 academic year was $423,395, not including generous housing, transportation and 5- and 6-figure pension contributions. Add around $100,000 for presidents of private universities. The steeply rising salary curve for university presidents far outpaces salary increases for professors and is a bit incongruous in an era of crushing student debt.
Given the financial clout of the Jewish community, it’s not surprising that when it flexes its muscle on campus, university presidents will fall in line (Terri Ginsburg, “US university chiefs’ shameful embrace of Israel,” Electronic Intifada). Project Interchange, a branch of the American Jewish Committee, has instituted a program to give free trips to Israel for university presidents and other leaders aimed at shoring up the resolve of universities against the burgeoning BDS movement. The basic strategy is to expose participants to the image that Israel is under attack (by taking them to a city that has been fired on by Palestinian rockets from Gaza), that lack of progress in obtaining peace is entirely the fault of the Palestinians, and that Israel is, in the words of a Jewish participant, David J. Skorton of Cornell University, “a modern, Western, Middle Eastern, democratic, Jewish state.” Clearly Skorton is ill-acquainted with the English language—a bit surprising in a university president.
Rather than exposing true facts about the wall Israel is building in the West Bank, Jewish-only roads and towns, illegal settlements, collective punishment, second-class Palestinian citizenship, and Israel’s countless other violations of international law, Skorton and Davisson spent significant time denouncing the boycott, divestment and sanctionsmovement and insisting that US universities reject calls to boycott Israeli academic institutions. “It is hard for us to imagine a scenario in which a boycott … would be constructive and helpful, as opposed to divisive and destructive,” they wrote (“Skorton and Davisson blog from Israel on higher ed’s role in Middle East peace,” 23 June 2010).
Project Interchange visits often include a trip to Yad Vashem to reinforce the image of Israel with Jewish suffering. Besides university presidents, Project Interchange recruits other leaders or future leaders, such as Rhodes Scholars.
Because being a university president these days is all about raising money, the visits for university presidents highlight opportunities for research and academic collaboration with Israeli universities. North Carolina State president Randy Woodson stated that “Sharing information on the strong ties between higher education and industry will provide meaningful examples for NC State’s continued efforts to support a strong economy in North Carolina.”
The ties between Israel and U.S. universities are indeed deep. The Jewish Virtual Library lists 6 US-Israel Binational Foundations which distribute money to US universities and corporations. For example, recipients have included all branches of the University of California system, as well as Standford and CalTech. Because of the elite status of universities in the US and the urgent need to counter the BDS movement and the general decline of Israel’s image, one may anticipate major increases in Israeli funding for universities in the future.
These programs only scratch the surface in terms of Jewish financial influence in universities. Colleges actively recruit Jewish students, at least partly because of the expectation that they have “a propensity for donating to the school once they graduate.”  A stroll through any Ivy League campus shows a large number of buildings named after Jewish benefactors.
Since Diaspora Jews are a small minority, recruiting sympathetic Jews is a recurrent problem. A branch of the Israel Lobby with a program that parallels Project Interchange is the program of the Jewish Institute for National Security [of Israel] Affairs (JINSA).
Part of JINSA’s effectiveness comes from recruiting non-Jews who gain by increased defense spending or are willing to be spokesmen in return for fees and travel to Israel. The bulk of JINSA’s budget is spent on taking a host of retired U.S. generals and admirals to Israel, where JINSA facilitates meetings between Israeli officials and retired but still-influential U.S. flag officers. These officers then write op-ed pieces and sign letters and advertisements championing the Likudnik line. In one such statement, issued soon after the outbreak of the latest intifada, twenty-six JINSAns of retired flag rank, including many from the advisory board, struck a moralizing tone, characterizing Palestinian violence as a “perversion of military ethics” and holding that “America’s role as facilitator in this process should never yield to America’s responsibility as a friend to Israel,” because “friends don’t leave friends on the battlefield.”266 Sowing seeds for the future, JINSA also takes U.S. service academy cadets to Israel each summer and sponsors a lecture series at the Army, Navy, and Air Force academies.
JINSA also patronizes companies in the defense industry that stand to gain by the drive for total war. “Almost every retired officer who sits on JINSA’s board of advisers or has participated in its Israel trips or signed a JINSA letter works or has
worked with military contractors who do business with the Pentagon and Israel.” (see “Neoconservatism as a Jewish Movement,” pp. 55-56)
Of course, the the incredible neocon infrastructure and the Israel Lobby itself extends far beyond JINSA. AIPAC is also deeply involved in providing free trips to Israel for influential people, ranging from Congresspeople to media types. I am posting as a featured article a piece that I did in 2007 that discusses this, focusing especially on the psychology of influence that comes into play during these junkets. Financial windfalls and psychological manipulation are a powerful combination. Certainly university presidents would not be exceptions.

The Israel Lobby and the Psychology of Influence

Posted: 27 Jul 2012 01:46 PM PDT
[Editor’s note: This article was originally posted on October 14, 2007 on my website, prior to the establishment of TOO. It is a companion piece the current blog on universities as a target of the Israel Lobby.]
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 entwinedwith 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.”

By piotrbein