“The so-called 'Left-Hand Path' - that of Kaulas, Siddhas and Viras - combines the... Tantric worldview with a doctrine of the Ɯbermensch which would put Nietzsche to shame... The Vira - which is to say: the 'heroic' man of Tantrism - seeks to sever all bonds, to overcome all duality between good and evil, honor and shame, virtue and guilt. Tantrism is the supreme path of the absolute absence of law - of shvecchacarÄ«, a word meaning 'he whose law is his own will'." ― Julius Evola, The Path of Cinnabar.

“It is necessary to have “watchers” at hand who will bear witness to the values of Tradition in ever more uncompromising and firm ways, as the anti-traditional forces grow in strength. Even though these values cannot be achieved, it does not mean that they amount to mere “ideas.” These are measures…. Let people of our time talk about these things with condescension as if they were anachronistic and anti-historical; we know that this is an alibi for their defeat. Let us leave modern men to their “truths” and let us only be concerned about one thing: to keep standing amid a world of ruins.” ― Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga.

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who died at his post during the eruption of Vesuvius because someone forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one that can not be taken from a man.” ― Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Election Choice 2008: AIPAC or AIPAC?

This collection is a follow up to an earlier blog "What is AIPAC?"

For the full aricles, read the "comments" section below this post, I have archived them there:

1. Looking Into the Lobby The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference is one of Washington’s most important—and least reported—events. by Philip Weiss

2. Philip Weiss on AIPAC, Editorial from the Occidental Observer.

3. The Israel Lobby and the Psychology of Influence by Kevin MacDonald.

Interesting material, worth reading (see "comments" below).


JDS said...

June 30, 2008 Issue
Copyright © 2007 The American Conservative

Looking Into the Lobby

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference is one of Washington’s most important—and least reported—events.

by Philip Weiss

For three days in the capital in early June, suspense built over the question of how the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference would greet Barack Obama. There was a lot of grousing about Obama in the hallways of the Washington Convention Center, and AIPAC officials repeatedly warned the faithful to be respectful. “We are not a debate society or a protest movement. … our goal is to have a friend in the White House,” executive director Howard Kohr said in a strict tone. It wasn’t hard to imagine things going poorly: Obama gets booed on national television. He feels insulted. Conservative Jewish donors and voters turn off to Obama. He becomes president without their support. AIPAC has no friend in the Oval Office.

But of course, Obama complied. His speech became the annual example the conference provides of a powerful man truckling. Two years ago, it was Vice President Cheney’s red-meat speech attacking the Palestinians. Last year, it was Pastor John Hagee’s scary speech saying that giving the Arabs any part of Jerusalem was the same as giving it to the Taliban. Obama took a similar line. He suggested that he would use force to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons, made no mention of Palestinian human rights, and said that Jerusalem “must remain undivided,” a statement so disastrous to the peace process that his staff rescinded it the next day. Big deal. The actual meeting had gone swimmingly.

This was my first AIPAC conference, and the first surprise was how blatant the business of wielding influence is. The conference makes no bones about this function, the most savage expression of which is the Tuesday dinner at which AIPAC performs its “roll call,” where the names of all the politicians who have come to the conference are read off from the stage by three barkers in near auctioneer fashion. The pols try to outdo one another in I-love-Israel encomia. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi surely won the day when she teared up while dangling the dogtags of three Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah and Hamas two years ago.

The second big surprise was that apart from coverage of the headline speakers, the AIPAC conference is a media no man’s land. It would be hard to imagine a more naked exhibition of political power: a convention of 7,000 mostly rich people, with more than half the Congress in attendance, as well as all the major presidential candidates, the prime minister of Israel, the minority leader, the majority leader, and the speaker of the House. Yet there is precious little journalism about the spectacle in full. The reason seems obvious: the press would have to write openly about a forbidden subject, Jewish influence. They would have to take on an unpleasant informative task that they have instead left to two international relations scholars in their 50s—Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, authors of last year’s book The Israel Lobby.

The press is missing a phantasmagorical event. Imagine a basement meeting in the Warsaw Ghetto transplanted to the biggest hall in Vegas, and you have something of the feeling of the thing. The staging is faultless. Little documentaries called “Zionist Stories” play on the Jumbotron, complete with footage of Auschwitz, and then the subject of the documentary comes out on stage to thundering applause. There is breakout session after breakout session on Middle East policy and Jewish identity and anti-Semitism, with star turns by Natan Sharansky, Bill Kristol, and Leon Wieseltier. The press was excluded from “Advanced Lobbying Techniques,” but still this is a feast of the political condition. And posh. The roll call is described by AIPAC as the largest seated dinner in Washington. The wine flows. I went about in a daze of awe and admiration.

My awe was for men like Haim Saban, a toymaker and giant donor to the Democratic Party. After his Zionist story, Saban came out on stage wearing a platinum tie and white shirt and silver gray suit. He has wonderful presence and something of an Arab look—black-haired, wide forehead. He was surrounded by 200 college students, veterans of the Saban Leadership Seminars he sponsors at AIPAC.

On Middle East policy, Saban is barely distinguishable from his Republican counterparts, who are there in equal force. The main hall of the conference was filled with lavishly-produced banners featuring AIPAC donors, not a few with trophy wives, alongside statements of their mission. There was Donald Diamond, an Arizona real estate developer whom the New York Times recently profiled on the front page after he raised $250,000 for John McCain. The Times said nothing in its piece about Diamond’s Israel work. But that was all the banner was about. “The U.S.-Israel relationship is the single most important determinant of democracy in the world, and we must commit to securing it,” Diamond wrote. “It is so obvious to us that the Jewish community is a family and that we have to take care of each other.”

I was writing that down when an AIPAC spokesman stopped to check my credentials. The audience for this stuff isn’t the public, it’s people in the hall—other rich Jews who might put AIPAC in their wills.

At most conventions, people gather out of self-interest. Therein lies my admiration: the AIPAC’ers didn’t come for selfish reasons. They are devoutly concerned with the lives of people they don’t know, very far away. Yes, people with whom they feel tribal kinship. When Israelis came out on the dais to speak, they were almost invariably overwhelmed by the generosity, if not the Vegas schmaltz. “There is a tremendous amount of love in this place,” Meir Nissensohn, an Israeli executive of IBM, said in wonder. “If it was a beaker, it would explode.” Even a sharp critic like myself of what AIPAC is doing to American policy in the Middle East was frequently moved by the pure loving feeling that surrounds you at every moment.

Among the devout there is only one real issue: What is the latest AIPAC line? This is the organization’s function. After consulting closely with the Israeli political leadership (leaning toward the right wing), AIPAC regurgitates a simple version of Israeli policy to its followers, who in turn regurgitate that line to American politicians. AIPAC’ers do this with the conviction that Israel’s life is on the line. “It is we that are the guardians of that relationship,” AIPAC president David Victor said. James Tisch, the Lowes executive and leader in the Jewish community, warned the audience that it might be 1939 all over again were it not for them.

AIPAC makes sure the Israeli line is America’s line by cultivating politicians before they reach the national scene. Victor described this process when he warned the audience that 10 percent of Congress will be new next year because so many seats are open: “Do we know them? Do they know us? Have they been to Israel? Do they understand the issues we care so deeply about?” Finding Israel activists in the suburbs of Detroit is easy, Victor said. “But how about finding the one right person to reach out to candidates for communities like Muscle Shoals, Alabama, or Tacoma, Washington, or Council Bluffs, Iowa? Ladies and gentlemen, the success or failure of the pro-Israel community rests on three words, our personal relationships.” And people accused Walt and Mearsheimer of fostering a conspiracy theory.

AIPAC flashes its relationships the way kids trade baseball cards. Bill Kristol said that Hart Hasten, a Holocaust survivor and successful Indianapolis businessman, had been crucial to shaping Dan Quayle’s view of Israel, having “spent a lot of time” with Quayle when he was still a congressman. (Quayle’s office later told me, “The statement Bill Kristol made was not exactly accurate. Mr. Quayle said his broad knowledge of Israel came from many people and sources, not specifically from Mr. Hasten.”) Dan Senor, an analyst on CNN and former AIPAC intern, boasted that AIPAC won over Spencer Abraham when he was the head of the state Republican Party, years before he became a Michigan senator. The party was $500,000 in debt, and an AIPAC leader helped him pay that off. And of course, the famous story was told of George W. Bush going up in Ariel Sharon’s helicopter in 1998, two years before he ran for president, and saying of Israel’s ten-mile waist, “We have driveways in Texas longer than that.”

The anxiety about Obama is that he is so new to the scene that few people have had a chance to get to him. The relationship guy is Lee Rosenberg of Chicago, who introduced Obama. “I can personally attest that Senator Obama is a genuine friend of Israel,” he said. In 2006, Obama “fulfilled a pledge he made to the Chicago Jewish community” and visited Israel. And the topper: Obama “has gotten to know” Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister who is against ever dividing Jerusalem. Rosenberg looked pale, drained—as queasily forceful as a mob boss vouching for an unknown family’s bona fides.

The good news I can report is the new AIPAC line. In some ways the organization is belligerent: speakers emphasized the need to attack Iran before it gets nukes and to invade Gaza to take on Hamas. But peace is in the air, too, now that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government is working overtime to cut a deal with the Palestinians on the West Bank and with the Syrians for the return of the Golan Heights. AIPAC reflected this policy. I heard a few conference-goers saying at microphones that the Bible gives Israel a right to the West Bank. But they received only a smattering of applause, and in one instance the moderator said the questioner was using inappropriate language.

The soul of the conference for me was Tal Becker, the highly personable Israeli negotiator. “I see [Palestinian negotiator] Saeb Erekat a lot more than I see my wife and kids,” he said, promising that if he and Palestinian moderates fail to reach an agreement, their goal is “to keep talking and keep talking and keep talking.”

Yet before you get out your handkerchief, reflect that AIPAC has for more than 30 years promoted the colonization process. In 1975, when President Ford wanted to reassess Mideast policy over Israeli intransigence, he was cut off at the knees by an AIPAC letter signed by 76 senators. Then in 1989, when James Baker went before AIPAC and told them to give up their idea of a Greater Israel including the West Bank, George H.W. Bush received a letter of anger signed by 94 senators. In both instances, AIPAC was hewing to the Israeli government line and nullifying American policymaking.

No, AIPAC’s change of heart cannot be ascribed to the good thinking of American Jews. They’re not thinking at all. They have passed on their full powers of judgment to the Israeli government. In that sense, the Zionists in that hall might best be compared to Communists of the ’30s and ’40s, who also abandoned their judgment to a far off authority even as they argued this and that subclause codicil in intense councils. On my train ride back to New York, a little rich kid of about 14, traveling with his uncle in the seat behind me, called his parents to complain that Obama’s views on Israel seemed “tailored” and “he’s never really stood up for Israel.” Indoctrination, pure and simple.

The great sadness here is that American Jewry is the most educated, most affluent segment of the public. Yet on this issue there is little independent thinking. The obvious question is whether they don’t have dual loyalty. As a Jew, I feel uncomfortable using the phrase, given its long history, but the facts are inarguable. Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic speaks of everything “we” should do to make peace with the Palestinians, then corrects himself to say what Israel should do. Speaker after speaker says that Israel is in our hearts. People who emigrate to Israel are applauded, and when the national anthems are played, one cantor sings the “Star Spangled Banner,” but the “Hatikvah” has two cantors belting it out, with the audience roaring along. Maybe most revealing, I heard a right-wing Israeli politician sharply criticizing Olmert’s policy in the West Bank. Think of the scandal it would cause if American politicians went abroad and criticized the president’s foreign policy. It’s no scandal here because AIPAC is a virtual extension of Israel.

Of course, AIPAC and its roll call of politicians would say that American and Israeli interests are identical. I wonder how those politicians really feel. Their I-love-the-miracle-of-Israel rhetoric is so endless that it creates an undercurrent of doth protest too much—an impression that if there weren’t so much money at stake, they would run from Israel with winged heels.

AIPAC takes care to remind the pols of deeper reasons to help the Jews. The Holocaust imagery never stops. And there is a related theme: that Jews are the golden goose of Western society. The very last of the “Zionist Stories” AIPAC showed before Obama and Clinton spoke was of a scientist, IBM’s Nissensohn. The piece emphasized Israel’s contribution to high-tech industry from software to desalination, hinting at a traditional Jewish idea: for a society to flourish, it must treat Jews well. Haim Saban’s story made the same point. Look what Egypt lost when it forced the Saban family to flee.

The theme of the conference was “The U.S.-Israel Relationship: Built to Last.” But that seems another case of protesting too much. AIPAC is beset on many sides.

It surely noticed how much attention Palestinians got this spring for commemorations of the Nakba, their dispossession in 1948 and onwards. AIPAC fought back with its own dispossession narrative. About 700,000 Jews, including Haim Saban, were forced out of Arab societies following the formation of Israel. One of them was novelist Eli Amir, who grew up in privileged Baghdad and was forced into a refugee camp in 1950. Amir appeared live by satellite and berated AIPAC for not highlighting his story before this year.

Another problem for AIPAC is the growing alienation of younger Jews from Israel’s hardline policies, especially as those Jews do well here and assimilate. “I worry a lot more about the American Jewish community than I do about Israel—about which I have grave doubts,” Wieseltier said.

AIPAC is happy to work with non-Jewish Americans. At one dinner, I sat at the same table with Mark and Carrie Burns, Christian evangelical radio hosts from Illinois. Carrie said that many Christians she knows will vote on Jerusalem being in the hands of the Jews as a litmus issue. Thus AIPAC may hope to replace dwindling elite influence with populist numbers. I wouldn’t hold my breath. Carrie said that at a synagogue she addressed, the first question came from a high-school girl who said, “But isn’t Israel an apartheid state?”

The Jews are quietly leaving the room. Saban described his horror at visiting his son’s college, Wesleyan, and seeing a table on peace in the Middle East at which Israel was demonized. Some of the kids at that table were surely Jews.

Especially now that an alternative lobby, J Street, has formed on its left, AIPAC seems to be making gestures in a more peaceable direction. One was the testimony from Sderot, the Israeli city bordering Gaza that American politicians must learn to pronounce or face political doom. (I think it’s Stay-ROTE.) It was inevitable that someone from the region would take the stage, and it’s impossible to imagine a more appealing spokesperson than Chen Abrahams, a pretty, soft-spoken kibbutz-dweller of about 40. The audience was utterly quiet as she described the terrible price her community has paid for the siege of Gaza. Nothing like the price the Palestinians have paid, I’d note. Still, if this was schmaltz, it was real schmaltz. At the end of her taped appearance, Abrahams said, “My biggest hope is for peace. I believe in talking to them, I don’t believe in wiping them out.” I was stunned.

Then Abrahams came out on stage to a standing ovation, and it struck me that it might be possible to take all the loving energy in this place now directed at helping other Jews and redirect it to great effect. If the AIPAC legions were somehow convinced that Jews will only be safe in the Middle East if the Arabs among them were also safe—without checkpoints, without a siege, with the dignity and freedom that Jews have had in the West—all these arrayed powers might then be directed to a larger idea of family and produce a miracle at last.

Philip Weiss is at work on a book about Jewish issues. He blogs at www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/.

JDS said...

Philip Weiss on AIPAC

July 10, 2008

Despite its general unwillingness to tread too far into Jewish issues (see this gem by Edmund Connelly), The American Conservative certainly has done itself proud with the publication of Philip Weiss's account of the recent AIPAC convention.

The AIPAC convention is really a ritual of Jewish dominance in America. We read about the sheer political power able to command the presence of both presidential candidates and over half the Congress. The politicians truckle before their masters, competing to outdo each other with their promises and concern for Israel. There are large banners featuring photos of wealthy AIPAC donors with their presumably non-Jewish trophy wives.

The clear message is: "We've got your politicians eating out of our hand. We have taken your most beautiful young women as wives (typically after having Jewish children with our non-trophy first wife). You will do what we want when it comes to anything related to Israel no matter what the cost to the U.S. Life is good."

Power is not just having official Washington do one’s bidding. It’s also the ability to prevent public discussion of Jewish influence. There is almost no journalistic coverage of the event. “The reason seems obvious: the press would have to write openly about a forbidden subject, Jewish influence.”

Most egregiously, Weiss notes that the New York Times printed an article on a major Jewish fund raiser without mentioning that his main motivation is Zionism:

There was Donald Diamond, an Arizona real estate developer whom the New York Times recently profiled on the front page after he raised $250,000 for John McCain. The Times said nothing in its piece about Diamond’s Israel work. But that was all the banner was about. “The U.S.-Israel relationship is the single most important determinant of democracy in the world, and we must commit to securing it,” Diamond wrote. “It is so obvious to us that the Jewish community is a family and that we have to take care of each other.”

The reader of the New York Times article goes away thinking that Diamond is just a regular Republican kind of guy, when his main motivation is presumably to get McCain to hew to AIPAC’s line on Israel.

The result is that organized Jewry is able to have its cake and eat it too. All those politicians and the media elite are quite aware of Jewish influence. But they cannot mention it in public without suffering the consequences.

Of course, in the case of much of the media—including the NYT, the taboo against discussing Jewish influence is self-imposed. And for very good reason: The NYT is itself a paradigm of Jewish influence.

Another example of the media blackout of AIPAC relates to the dual loyalty issue. AIPAC would probably not want it widely known that “when the national anthems are played, one cantor sings the ‘Star Spangled Banner,’ but the ‘Hatikvah’ has two cantors belting it out, with the audience roaring along.”

Dual loyalty? What dual loyalty? If emotions are any indication (and they are), it’s pretty clear where their hearts lie. But don’t worry. The New York Times or, for that matter, Fox News or any other American media outlet would never think of publicizing such incidents.

As Weiss notes, “AIPAC and its roll call of politicians would say that American and Israeli interests are identical.” But how would they know? Everything we know about human psychology argues that their powerful emotional attraction to Israel would cloud their judgment and bias their thinking on anything related to Israel.

In addition to the dominance and power theme, the article is a primer on other aspects of Jewish psychology.

1.) There's a constant stream of Holocaust imagery designed to motivate the Jews, legitimize whatever Israel does to the Palestinians, and pull at the heartstrings of the goyim.

2.) Tying in with the Holocaust imagery, there is a palpable sense of threat. The situation is dire—1939 all over again, and we’ve got to rally round the flag to avert total destruction. Sure, the wine is flowing and just about everyone at an AIPAC convention is rich; the goyish political and social elite are bowing and scraping before you. But disaster looms, so we have to batten down the hatches and rally the troops.

3.) But it’s not all negative emotions. There is an unbounded love for Jews and all things Jewish. “Even a sharp critic like myself of what AIPAC is doing to American policy in the Middle East was frequently moved by the pure loving feeling that surrounds you at every moment.” Of course it’s not love for humanity as a whole (much less the Palestinians), but love for one’s tribe.

4.) Stuff that’s okay to say among the tribe should not be publicized outside the ingroup. It’s okay to worry about whether Obama is sufficiently pro-Israel. But this sort of talk should be relegated to private conversations—exactly what Mearsheimer and Walt have found as a general characteristic of discussion of Israel. As they note, there’s far more public discussion of controversial aspects of Israel policy in Israel than in America. And Jews who publically criticize Israel are ostracized by the Jewish community.

5.) When someone like Obama is not an entirely known quantity in the Jewish community, then the group relies on trusted tribe members to plead his case. In this case, it’s Lee Rosenberg , a board member of AIPAC, whose main point was that Obama had “gotten to know” Benjamin Netenyahu, a stalwart on the Israeli right and well known as a strong supporter of colonizing Palestinian territory.

Besides Jewish psychology, we really have to wonder what’s going through the minds of the non-Jews in attendance. We can assume that the politicians are completely cynical and self-serving sociopaths who feel no twinges of guilt for truckling before their masters even though their masters are hardly subtle about where their loyalties lie. Who else but a sociopath could perform such a degrading ritual?

But what about the Christian evangelicals? Weiss describes one evangelical as follows: “Carrie said that at a synagogue she addressed, the first question came from a high-school girl who said, ‘But isn’t Israel an apartheid state?’”

That must cause a bit of cognitive dissonance. Let’s see. God wants the Jews to control all the land of Israel, including the West Bank, expel or otherwise dispose of the Palestinians (even the Christian ones), and erect an apartheid state where Jew and non-Jew live in separate worlds behind high barriers. And when all this comes about, then God will rapture the believers, the Jews will finally be converted, and the Second Coming will be at hand.

God works in mysterious ways. Can these people really be that out of touch with reality? Sadly, the answer seems to be yes. But the good news is that, for a variety of reasons, their influence may be on the wane. Let’s hope so.

In the meantime, we should all be thankful to Philip Weiss for shedding a little more light on the Israel Lobby.

JDS said...

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."