The ultra-Orthodox as (happy) threshold earners

on December 16, 2013 at 4:40 am

Asher Meir writes to me:

I enjoyed your post today especially since it is one that actually interfaces with my research and not just my teaching of basic micro/macro.

Israeli Ultra-Orthodox are threshold earners in both the positive sense (they don’t on the whole strive to earn more than some basic level) and also the normative sense (they are really more interested in other things.)

Here is an interesting demonstration, you can easily do it yourself using the Israeli CBS “Social Survey Table Generator”. (surveys.cbs.gov.il/Survey/surveyE.htm)

One thing you can easily verify is that the Haredim (you can find them using Topic = Religion and Religiosity, Variable = Religiosity Jews and value is “Ultra Religious/ Haredi) have a reported life satisfaction that is through the roof. It is hugely higher than that of any other sector. (Get there from: Topic = Satisfaction – general; Variable = Satisfied with life.)

But you might say that could be because even though their economic situation is admittedly dire, they care more about other things. Now check out “Satisfaction economic situation”. They still come out way on top. They are not only happiest despite their economic situation, they are happiest with their economic situation. (I am aware that reported happiness and reported life satisfaction are different, I am just expressing myself briefly.) I’m attaching the spreadsheet.

Now here is the real threshold earner criterion: For each group, figure out the average life satisfaction for each earnings level. Then calculate the correlation between life satisfaction and earnings. For every population group it is positive, except for the Ultra-Orthodox. Their coefficient is not significantly different from zero. (J27 is the coefficient, J28 the standard error.)

I’m attaching an Excel spreadsheet that does this for 2012 but I’ve done it a number of times. I do not include the regressions for other sectors but you can easily do so and verify that the income coefficient is positive.

I calculated life satisfaction using a linear weighting, zero for Not so satisfied, one for Satisfied and two for Very satisfied. (Note that the “Not satisfied at all” column is empty. No ultra-orthodox gave this answer.) I used the middle of the income range for income. But in my experience it doesn’t matter much how you do this.

I played around with this once using the WVS to see if I could find some other group in the world for whom life satisfaction was totally uncorrelated with income. I didn’t find any but I imagine that Hal Varian would find it easy to do so.

Those are intriguing results.  One possibility is that (some?) religions make people pretty happy.  Another is that lack of money does not make you unhappy, provided that a) you can cite a good reason for having a lower income, b) you have peer and family support for your situation/decision, and c) there is no negative selection into the other lower income individuals you will end up hanging around.  Bryan Caplan might cite the large number of children as a source of life satisfaction.

If one was looking for grounds to be skeptical, perhaps extremely religious groups use the concepts of happiness and life satisfaction in different ways.  For instance complaining about your life satisfaction might be considering a signal of impiety and thus the extremely religious might put a better gloss on things than their actually happiness would warrant.  Of course “pretending to be happy” may itself be a possible source of happiness.

1 Adrian Ratnapala December 16, 2013 at 4:59 am

For instance complaining about your life satisfaction might be considering a signal of impiety …

It doesn’t even have to be so stark. If you are proud to belong to some minority group which tells you “we do things differently, and that gives life satisfaction” then you will be loathe to contradict that claim.

Of course “pretending to be happy” may itself be a possible source of happiness.

Yes, though I would put it as “happiness is well nigh impossible to measure”.

2 Axa December 16, 2013 at 5:54 am

Complaining about life satisfaction is a signal of impiety…….in most societies. When a man complains about work or life and everybody is empathetic: “poor guy, 2 kids to feed, serious work, burden of responsibility, etc.” A woman complains about life and she’s “just a mean b*tch, does not appreciate the things she already got” and the most stupid one “women have an easier life, just marry a rich guy, no reason to complain”.

Considering the ultra-orthodox group case, I’ll like to look at the women response about life satisfaction. A similar situation explained here: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2013/12/marriage-gap

3 Asher December 16, 2013 at 11:13 am

Hi Axa.

I recall once breaking it down by men/women and finding pretty much identical results. But I encourage you to do it yourself. The cbs.gov.il Social Survey will give you an Excel spreadsheet and you can find the answer to your question in five minutes (and report back to the comments).

It is important to note that there is variance in reported life satisfaction. I just did not find that it correlates with reported income.

4 TMC December 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm

When a man complains…. empathetic:” A woman complains … mean b*tch”

Where the hell do you live? Western culture for the last several hundred years means that the men just suck it up. They used to have greater rights for doing so, but that has changed (deservedly), but they still have to suck it up. No whining. Other men are the greatest enforcers of this.

5 Steve Sailer December 16, 2013 at 6:35 am

If the government didn’t pay them welfare, the ultra-Orthodox seem quite capable of earning their keep.

For example, here’s Zev Chafets’ NYT article on the quite wealthy Syrian Jews of Brooklyn, who don’t let their boys, much less their girls, get educated past high school. But there is plenty of money to be made in traditional merchant roles:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/14/magazine/14syrians-t.html?pagewanted=print

Paying the ultra-Orthodox of Israel welfare to stay home and procreate can perhaps best be understood as an Israeli government policy decision intended to maintain a highly fertile breeding stock for use in the War of the Cradle against the fertile Arabs.

6 Ohad December 16, 2013 at 7:00 am

> If the government didn’t pay them welfare, the ultra-Orthodox seem quite capable of earning their keep.

Sociologically the Syrians are totally different from the Haredim. The Haredim in Brooklyn are a better point of comparison.

Also it’s necessary to make distinctions between Hasidim and non-hasidim. Hasidim don’t mind working so much, but are careful not to mix outside their community. Non-hasidim are a bit more willing to mix, but want to study Torah all day and all night.

7 jd December 16, 2013 at 7:47 am

Nonsense. Chabad mixes quite a bit and Brisk does not. The distinction between Hasidim and litvaks is very small nowadays.

8 brad December 16, 2013 at 11:50 am

Hasids are still somewhat more prone to inheritable personality cults.

9 Rahul December 16, 2013 at 7:07 am

I’d say they are still enjoying the capital accumulated by earlier generations. If you insist on not being educated beyond High School it’s going to be increasingly difficult to keep making money in their merchant roles. Time will tell.

The other question is, how long can they keep successfully deluding the youngsters that their isolation & primitiveness is for their good under the onslaught of so much external information that may force them to think for themselves. I say, give ’em another 30 years and you’ll have no more of that Edict.

10 JWatts December 16, 2013 at 12:12 pm

” If you insist on not being educated beyond High School it’s going to be increasingly difficult to keep making money in their merchant roles. Time will tell. … I say, give ‘em another 30 years”

But would your expectation 30 years ago have been the same? If so, then perhaps they are right. Why do you need a College degree to run a successful small business? I suspect that if you have an IQ high enough to get the College degree, you’ll do fine running a small business without it.

After all, many small businesses are run by people without a high school degree and with average intelligence and they seem to make money.

11 Rahul December 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm

For one, they aren’t talking of running small businesses. A donut shop or cafe, maybe. But these guys are taking of globe trotting millionaires trading all over the world. I think that’s going to get harder without an education.

One thing I’d love to know is the population size 30 years ago, minus immigration. Has the community shrunk? Or not?

12 Floccina December 19, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Schooling is not equal to Education. You can get plenty of education in places other than schools, like on the job.

13 jd December 16, 2013 at 7:52 am

Nobody pays them to procreate. There is money for child support (good of the child). That money is being reduce to force them to work. Per adult the Bedouin get far more money. That ruins your hypothesis.

14 Cliff December 16, 2013 at 9:03 am

Reads to me like “Nobody pays them to procreate. Okay, somebody does pay them to procreate. But we’re going to start paying less!”

15 dead serious December 16, 2013 at 9:06 am

Or “I’m going to play semantics because I don’t appreciate your (truthful) summary of reality.

16 jd December 16, 2013 at 11:30 am

No more than US tax credits or SNAP funding for children. I would not categorize that as paying people to procreate.

17 Cliff December 16, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Steve probably would. I don’t think it’s unreasonable. That is the effect, even in the U.S.

18 jd December 17, 2013 at 8:30 am

@ Cliff
Effect and intent are quite different. Even if I agree with your proposition that EITC and SNAP increase birthrates (which is hotly debated), they are not paying to procreate. Mistaking effect for intent is intellectually wrong.

19 Cliff December 17, 2013 at 9:34 am

Well, fair enough. I think he is saying the intent in Israel IS at least in part to support a high birth rate. They also pay for a lot of IVF, don’t they? I can understand why politicians would not make a big deal out of that motivation but it could be one, right? Don’t you agree they are concerned about demographics?

20 jd December 17, 2013 at 1:46 pm

1. IVF is health insurance. The numbers are too small to make a population difference so I don’t think that is the motivation.
2. Israel is def concerned about birth rates. In particular the ‘demographic threat’ from the divergent birth rates.
3. However, while the ultra-orthodox increase the Jewish birthrate, the ultra-orthodox are not seen (rightly imho) as part of Israeli society. There is immense tension between the secular and the religious in Israel. Thus, promoting ultra-orthodox birthrates is somewhat of a double edged sword given the economic impact and lack of jobs. The large amount of anger at the ultra-orthodox makes any decision which supports them preferentially quite difficult politically.
4. Israel is a parliamentary system. The ultra-orthodox are often the kingmakers in politics. They use this to extract financial concessions which often override (3). Thus, this seems a much simpler explanation.

21 jd December 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm

It’s also worthwhile pointing out that for quite a while, the stipends paid to people who served in the army (Secular Jews) were higher than stipends paid to other people (on a per child basis).

This was ruled illegal by the supreme court due to discriminatory effect (vis Arabs). Thus will demographics are important, the demographics that are preferred is the secular Jewish one.

22 Tarrou December 16, 2013 at 9:31 am

Except the ultra-orthodox do not, and will not fight, and for the most part opposed the creation of the state of Israel. If the Israelis really are trying to create a population of pacifistic lambs to the slaughter, one wonders at their motivation.

23 albert magnus December 16, 2013 at 10:33 am

They do vote though. A nominal democracy makes Israel easier to support, which in turn means the US can continue to sell helicopters and missile systems to Israel. As long as you have the first world equipment, non-orthodox Israelis can take on anyone they need.

24 JWatts December 16, 2013 at 12:17 pm

“which in turn means the US can continue to sell helicopters and missile systems to Israel.”

I think in reality the US gives them most of this type of good.

25 Steve Sailer December 16, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Maybe giant armies of cannon fodder aren’t all that important anymore?

The government of Israel seems very concerned about maintaining a Jewish majority in the lands it occupies as a symbol of democratic legitimacy. Thus, the total fertility rate of Israeli Jews is now over 3.0 babies per woman, higher than any other wealthy country in the world. And the Jewish TFR in Israel gone up considerably in recent decades.

26 Steve Sailer December 16, 2013 at 6:47 am

Here in the U.S., the high rate of welfare use by the ultra-Orthodox seems pretty dubious. From Wikipedia on the Hasidic Satmar Dynasty:

“As of 2006, the dynasty controlled assets worth \$1 billion in the United States. … The two largest Satmar communities are in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Kiryas Joel, New York.”

From Wikipedia on Kiryas Joel, NY:

“According to 2008 census figures, the village has the highest poverty rate in the nation, and the largest percentage of residents who receive food stamps. More than five-eighths of Kiryas Joel residents live below the federal poverty line and more than 40 percent receive food stamps, according to the American Community Survey, a U.S. Census Bureau study of every place in the country with 20,000 residents or more.[3] A 2011 New York Times report noted that, despite the town’s very high statistical poverty rates, “It has no slums or homeless people. No one who lives there is shabbily dressed or has to go hungry. Crime is virtually nonexistent.”[21] ”

This sect can deliver close to 99% of its votes to a candidate, so it swings a lot of weight in New York politics. Recently, somebody has been using the New York Times to smear Jews resisting the sect’s latest real estate ploy as anti-Semites:

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-best-defense-is-strong-offense.html

27 jd December 16, 2013 at 7:44 am

Wealth controlled by the dynasty is irrelevant to individual wealth. That is like saying no Catholics are poor because the pope has money.

28 jd December 16, 2013 at 7:43 am

I grew up Israeli and ultra orthodox. Objectively, we were poor. However, so was *everyone* else we knew. No interaction with secular people will do that. Thus, we did not know we were poor, it was just the way things were.
Given research that states the what is important is the variance in wealth within a society is what influences happiness, this seems a simple explanation. Wealth variance within the ultra-orthodox is low and happiness is correlated with wealth variance and not absolute levels of wealth.

29 CPV December 16, 2013 at 8:21 am

Yep. I would argue that without comparative benchmarks happiness reporting is meaningless. People may have self reported being happy 200 yrs ago but not if they could compare their lives to today’s in terms of comfort, health etc. So happiness is by definition relative to other possible happinesses that are observable.

30 Handle December 16, 2013 at 9:35 am

The other way to interpret jd’s comment is that one’s experience of happiness is absolute, but the way the brain calculates that absolute level is by comparing it’s own condition and status relative to the the conditions of its peers in its social group of which it is aware.

That is to say, a poor person can be as fully happy as a rich person, regardless of the drastic difference in economic conditions, if he is censored from knowing (or discouraged from caring) about the economically better lives of those rich people.

As a corollary, one would expect that a culture that celebrates the glorifies the conditions of the extremely wealthy (‘lifestyle of the rich and famous’, ‘MTV Cribs’, etc.) would perhaps encourage a few people to ambitious pursuits, but it would also inspire a lot of jealousy, resentment, and dissatisfaction in life.

It’s probably best for the rich to avoid ostentatious and conspicuous displays, or keep the economic details of their lives as secret as possible. The problem is that, apparently, lots of rich people really want other people to know how rich they are, and that kind of recognition of their status is as much part of their happiness function as their actual economic consumption.

31 CPV December 16, 2013 at 11:56 am

The benchmark could even be you own life. For example you live in isolation, so your happiness or satisfaction is based solely on your own experience. If that changes up or down your happiness or satisfaction can change, just benchmarked to your own experience. If things stay basically the same I suppose there is no reason to be unhappy or unsatisfied, unless new data shows you that for example someone around the corner is living much better. But in any case it’s unlikely that there is such a thing as unbenchmarked or absolute satisfaction or happiness. It’s at least relative to your own experiences.

32 Rahul December 16, 2013 at 8:22 am

Which may have the following lesson for happiness maximization: If a nation cannot make its poor rich, at least it ought to try hard to make its rich uniformly poor.

jk.

33 Cliff December 16, 2013 at 9:05 am

I don’t believe the research shows that at all. Further, the measure here is actually satisfaction, which differs significantly from happiness (which itself is very poorly measured).

34 Rahul December 16, 2013 at 9:08 am

From the viewpoint of a survey and within its error bounds I think happiness & satisfaction are close enough. Are there really that many people who would rate their happiness as 8/10 but their satisfaction 2/10?

35 Cliff December 16, 2013 at 11:17 am

Rahul,

Happiness is traditionally surveyed by asking people for the number of their positive experiences in a given day vs. negative experiences, etc. One of the results is that people with children come out looking miserable, whereas in life satisfaction surveys they are quite satisfied.

36 msgkings December 16, 2013 at 6:39 pm

It’s true that children create this difference. On most of these kinds of surveys, people with children report themselves less happy but more satisfied than childless people. Which seems reasonable to me depending on your personal definition of those words.

37 Aidan December 16, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Might explain why Cubans are so happy too.

38 freethinker December 16, 2013 at 9:12 am

I met a psychologist who told me she finds orthodox Hindu brahmins, the kind who think the act of me eyeing their food “pollutes” it, are more happy than even non-orthodox brahmins, since what matters most to them is not money . According to her, their source of happiness lies in 1) performing their rituals correctly, 2) the awareness that the rich guys, powerful government officials and politicians, hold them in high regard, regularly falling at their feet seeking their blessing.

39 Urso December 16, 2013 at 10:12 am

(b) seems most likely to me, although I realize this isn’t a multiple choice test.

Lots of people in this thread are attacking the premise rather than addressing it.

40 Enrique December 16, 2013 at 10:47 am

So what? All these numbers are based on self-reporting surveys (ie worthless cheap talk). And Happiness is such a fuzzy concept to boot that this type of “social science” research is more like a fashion fad than real science

41 Rahul December 16, 2013 at 8:31 pm

I wonder, has anyone conducted a study where acquantances were asked how happy the person was…..

42 BenK December 16, 2013 at 10:47 am

Seems like a reasonable explanation is this:
You will be much happier if you spend your time thinking about how you are above the threshold you set as your target than how you have failed to reach some constantly retreating goal.

Having such a target, of course, relies on a supportive community and other factors.

As an another aside, if the government sets itself a constantly retreating goal of everyone shifting money around, then happy threshold earners must be very frustrating to those who govern.

43 Mark December 16, 2013 at 10:56 am

“One possibility is that (some?) religions make people pretty happy.”

Another possibility is that, for some people, having others pay your bills, even if it means living a minimally passable lifestyle, makes you happy. I’m sure you’ve seen the statistics that show 60+% of haredi men in Israel don’t work. Eternal vacation might make many people happy.

44 dead serious December 16, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Great weather, beautiful views, delicious food, stealing other people’s land, handouts from the government…what’s not to love?

45 Matt December 16, 2013 at 11:33 am

They are happy because their religion tells them what their identity is – they have less reason for searching, for angst, for such patterns of thought that lead to unhappiness. It also gives them a code of conduct and rituals for dealing with the crises of life, the experience or anticipation of which lead to much unhappiness for those who lack an “instruction manual.”

46 Phil December 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Maybe it’s because they have non-monetary sources of enjoyment:

“The Child-Rape Assembly Line: In Ritual Bathhouses of the Jewish Orthodoxy, Children Are Systematically Abused”

Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg—who is 63 with a long, graying beard—recently sat down with me to explain what he described as a “child-rape assembly line” among sects of fundamentalist Jews. He cleared his throat. “I’m going to be graphic,” he said….

On a visit to Jerusalem in 2005, Rabbi Rosenberg entered into a mikvah in one of the holiest neighborhoods in the city, Mea She’arim. “I opened a door that entered into a schvitz,” he told me. “Vapors everywhere, I can barely see. My eyes adjust, and I see an old man, my age, long white beard, a holy-looking man, sitting in the vapors. On his lap, facing away from him, is a boy, maybe seven years old. And the old man is having anal sex with this boy.”

Rabbi Rosenberg paused, gathered himself, and went on: “This boy was speared on the man like an animal, like a pig, and the boy was saying nothing. But on his face—fear. The old man [looked at me] without any fear, as if this was common practice. He didn’t stop. I was so angry, I confronted him. He removed the boy from his penis, and I took the boy aside. I told this man, ‘It’s a sin before God, a mishkovzucher. What are you doing to this boy’s soul? You’re destroying this boy!’ He had a sponge on a stick to clean his back, and he hit me across the face with it. ‘How dare you interrupt me!’ he said. I had heard of these things for a long time, but now I had seen.

The child sex abuse crisis in ultra-Orthodox Judaism, like that in the Catholic Church, has produced its share of shocking headlines in recent years. In New York, and in the prominent Orthodox communities of Israel and London, allegations of child molestation and rape have been rampant. The alleged abusers are schoolteachers, rabbis, fathers, uncles—figures of male authority. The victims, like those of Catholic priests, are mostly boys. Rabbi Rosenberg believes around half of young males in Brooklyn’s Hasidic community—the largest in the United States and one of the largest in the world—have been victims of sexual assault perpetrated by their elders. Ben Hirsch, director of Survivors for Justice, a Brooklyn organization that advocates for Orthodox sex abuse victims, thinks the real number is higher. “From anecdotal evidence, we’re looking at over 50 percent. It has almost become a rite of passage.”

47 Josh December 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Written by someone who has never gone to a mikvah. (Jewish ritual bath). They are crowded and busy and public. There’s no way anyone would try something like this there. And the community standard is such that no one would allow the perpetrator to continue unhindered.

And the temperatures also are a bit warm, but hardly water vapor anywhere. This sounds like some weirdo’s fantasy.

48 lance December 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Did you read the article? The writer doesn’t say he went to a mikvah. The rabbis in the article have.

The “community standard” of the Orthodox is to keep codes of silence, protect pedophiles and sex offenders, and not follow the law:

http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120620/new-york-city/da-joe-hynes-fights-criticism-hes-soft-on-pedophiles-orthodox-community

This time for launching a novel initiative designed to pierce a cultural version of “Omerta” in the ultra Orthodox Jewish community, where an intimidating code of silence seemingly protects pedophiles and sexual offenders at the expense of victims.

The historical cultural ban on cooperating with authorities — traditonally oppressors of the Jews — is known as “Messira,” a Hebrew epithet for informant.

49 JewNonymous December 17, 2013 at 8:36 am

I went to a mikva once in NYC in preparation for my wedding. I went on a weekday morning and there was no one else there. The experience was like a school locker room in the general level of privacy (anyone could certainly have walked in at any time) but there wasn’t actually anyone there but me.

50 Meloche Linney December 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm

1. Ultra-orthodox women do not respond to surveys such as the CBS one used for the data. If such a survey call is being picked up in an ultra-orthodox household the man will be given the phone. In a society where women are systematically oppressed and subjugated, this puts a potentially heavy positive bias on the results.

2. There is a strong potential for in-group enforcement of a ‘pretend it’s all good’ facade in responding to such surveys. Just to give a sense of it, in various surveys, Ultra-Orthodox Jewish people in Israel also consistently deny any problems of sexual abuse in their communities, even though the instances of incest and of Rabbis sexually molesting children are through the roof, according to Israeli police. The CBS data may not even reflect the ‘real’ sentiments held by interviewees.

3. The happiness-income correlation reported in the post is likely non-indicative because the numbers of ultra-orthodox people in the upper eight income deciles is negligible. There is very low income variance in the Israeli ultra-orthodox community.

On a less methodological note, most ultra-orthodox people in Israel are not threshold “earners” – on average they make far, far less than a sustainable living wage. A large part of their income is government transfers (mostly child support, but also income assurance, government stipends for Yeshiva boys, etc.), largely because most men in the ultra-orthodox community in Israel don’t go out to work. The result is extreme poverty which is only – and partially – alleviated by government assistance.

This is just my own personal view, but I believe that a society that does not support itself and lives way beyond its means (it is hard to support one kid when not working, let alone seven) is not sustainable in the long run, and carries a heavy negative impact on the quality of life of other Israelis, who end up subsidizing it’s (perhaps) happy lifestyle. I’d love for anyone to be completely satisfied with a basic living wage (I wish I could say that about myself), however this is not where the ultra-orthodox society is, income-wise. And as I wrote above, it is possible that many of the community’s members are not at as happy as the survey reports.

51 Rahul December 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Excellent points! Wonder what Asher Meir has to say.

52 Erik December 16, 2013 at 3:08 pm

I think it’s more psychology than economics. The poor who define themselves within the spectrum of the modern system of consumer-drive, consumption-driven materialistic capitalism report as being unhappy. That’s both because they feel economically inferior and also because they feel stress and anxiety from coping with our “your-on-your-on” (YOYO) society where one bad accident can set even a middle-class family up for poverty. Food, shelter, child care, education – they all fall on them despite an inability to pay. Combine all this with exhaustion for those working 2 or more jobs to make ends meet and of course they are unhappy.

These Jewish communities in Williamsburg and similar places are just that – communities. It is not a YOYO culture. If you slip, someone will catch you. You know your children will be educated to your standards. You know you have strong connections to help you find some vocation (and there ARE specialty vocations for the men). Finally, they don’t define their happiness according to the same criteria. Materialism means nothing.

53 Ben December 16, 2013 at 5:56 pm

In contrast to the Dr. Meir’s assessment in this post, there is a strong relationship between income and happiness for Haredim.

See this link for further details:

http://israelieconomy.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/happiness-in-israeli-society.html

54 Steve Sailer December 16, 2013 at 8:34 pm

If this post is any example, quality assurance standards sure are slipping.

From USA Today:

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel is looking to hire university students to post pro-Israel messages on social media networks — without needing to identify themselves as government-linked, officials said Wednesday.

The Israeli prime minister’s office said in a statement that students on Israeli university campuses would receive full or partial scholarships to combat anti-Semitism and calls to boycott Israel online. It said students’ messages would parallel statements by government officials.

“This is a groundbreaking project aimed at strengthening Israeli national diplomacy and adapting it to changes in information consumption,” the statement said.

An Israeli official said Wednesday that scholarship recipients would be free to decide whether or not to identify themselves as part of the program, which would begin within months.

“Everyone who believes in the cause, and wants to join, can join,” he told The Associated Press. He said the office was looking to budget \$778,000 for the project, and that the national Israeli student association would select participants from a pool of applicants.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity as the project is still under development and he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about it.

The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz identified the official heading the project as Danny Seaman, a public diplomacy official who has written posts on his personal Facebook page which Haaretz described as being incendiary and anti-Muslim.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/08/14/israel-students-social-media/2651715/

55 Bill December 17, 2013 at 11:47 am

“If this post is any example, quality assurance standards sure are slipping.”

Did Israeli college students trick MacDonald into writing this.

Lieberman has also written that MacDonald even dishonestly made up lines from the work of British Holocaust denier David Irving. Citing Irving’s Uprising which was published in 1981 for the twenty-fifth anniversary of Hungary’s failed anti-Communist revolution in 1956, MacDonald asserted in the Culture of Critique, “The domination of the Hungarian communist Jewish bureaucracy thus appears to have had overtones of sexual and reproductive domination of gentiles in which Jewish males were able to have disproportionate sexual access to gentile females.” Lieberman, who also noted that MacDonald is not a historian, debunked those assertions, concluding, “(T)he passage offers not a shred of evidence that, as MacDonald would have it, “Jewish males enjoyed disproportionate sexual access to gentile females.”[30]

56 Morley December 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Lieberman doesn’t debunk anything though. Those are more like legalistic, nit-picking objections.

It goes without saying that in a highly centralized society, as in a communist society dominated by a political bureaucracy, men who dominate the bureaucracy dominate the political power of society and have a disproportionate amount of sexual access to females.

57 Bill December 17, 2013 at 5:37 pm

“It goes without saying that in a highly centralized society, as in a communist society dominated by a political bureaucracy,”

Even this generous interpretation doesn’t support MacDonald’s conclusion,

http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=h-antisemitism&month=0107&week=&msg=C7elCpf5lP033ARNbvHjfg&user=&pw=

1. Apart from Irving’s reference to “prominent funkies” (by which he means
Jews, “funkies” being his term of abuse for communist party functionaries)
keeping mistresses, there are no references to the ethnic identity of those
who exploited the availability of woman factory-workers or who visited
prostitutes (or, for that matter, to the ethnic identity of the woman
factory workers or the prostititues themselves). Indeed, if Irving can be
taken at his word about the “staggering proportion of Hungarian males” who
“lost their virginity to prostitutes,” the reference is almost certainly
*not* to Hungarian Jewish males who, in the years after the Second World
War, hardly amounted to a “staggering proportion” of the Hungarian or any
other European population. Nor is there any reason to conclude that the
availability of the woman factory workers described by the car worker was
“disproportionately” restricted to any particular group.

58 Bill December 17, 2013 at 5:43 pm

How do you favorably interpret this one?

MacDonald has particularly been accused by other academics of academic fraud, saying that he has promoted anti-Semitic propaganda under the guise of what he says is a legitimate and academic search for truth.[26] He has also been accused of misrepresenting the sources he uses in that regard. Fenris State University professor Dr. Barry Mehler cited for example a quote from a 1969 dissertation by Sheldon Morris Neuringer titled American Jewry and United States immigration policy, 1881-1953 where MacDonald surmised that when Neuringer noted Jewish opposition in 1921 and 1924 to the anti-immigration legislation at the time was due more to it having the “taint of discrimination and anti-Semitism” as opposed to how it would limit Jewish immigration, MacDonald wrote, “…Jewish opposition to the 1921 and 1924 legislation was motivated less by a desire for higher levels of Jewish immigration than by opposition to the implicit theory that America should be dominated by individuals with northern and western European ancestry.” “It seems to me Mr. MacDonald is misrepresenting Mr. Neuringer in this case and I posted my query hoping that a historian familiar with the literature might have a judgment on MacDonald’s use of the historical data,” Mehler wrote, citing other examples.[27]

59 Bill December 17, 2013 at 5:48 pm

At a minimum this indicates a pattern of habitual lying by Kevin MacDonald.

60 Bill December 17, 2013 at 11:48 am
61 Morley December 17, 2013 at 1:05 pm

There have also been positive views of his work. Your link mentions:

Laurence Loeb described A People That Shall Dwell Alone as a “tour-de-force” and a “watershed contribution to the understanding of Judaism and Jewish life” based on a “cautious, careful assembling of evidence.”[14] MacDonald’s first work received positive reviews from scholars including Hans Eysenck,[15] John Hartung,[16] Harmon Holcomb,[17] Richard Lynn,[18] and Roger D. Masters.

The great evolutionary biologist W.D. Hamilton viewed MacDonald’s work favorably. The evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson also views MacDonald’s work favorably and cited MacDonald’s work in his book on the evolution of religion.

62 Bill December 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm

How favorable would they have been had they known MacDonald misuses sources?