Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Rebranding of Israel: Just How Homosexual Are Jews, Anyway?

This article is not about the Jewish role in homosexuality, or their strong support for LGBT rights and gay marriage, of which there is ample evidence, but is instead meant to supplement material of that nature.

If a population group is overwhelmingly homosexual, then aren't they more likely to advocate for homosexuality? Does the same not correspond with deviants advocating for deviancy?

It's often thought there is maliciousness in promoting LGBT values, and I think there is some truth to that—these values are disruptive to traditional values and transmogrify the culture to the point of being unrecognizable. It is beneficial for the ruling elite to destroy the preceding culture until there is no escape, and we have all submitted to their will and function as little more than docile economic units and consumers.

Yet couldn't it just as easily be that the elite and donor class, as well as the Jews among them, of course, are disproportionately LGBT themselves, and so this is injected into the culture further than it otherwise would be?

The question here is a bit too broad for now, but to start with, I'll focus on the Jews. They have a disproportionate amount of influence over academia, Hollywood, and the media, and they comprise 40% of U.S. billionaires. A pretty large amount of the elite are obviously Jewish.

How Homosexual Are Jews in America?

To start things out, here is an interesting blog post from Face to Face with the title "Jews more than twice as likely to be gay, as likely to be lesbian."

This blogger took data from the General Social Survey, and by limiting his selection to those with at least 1 year of college education and being an urbanite, he found that 1 in 10 male Jews were homosexual, bisexual, or, for those unwilling to commit to a particular orientation, "men who have sex with men." 
Percent non-heterosexual (Males, Females) ...

Based on partners from past year:

Cath: 4, 3
Prot: 4, 3
Jew: 11, 3
None: 8, 9

Based on partners from past 5 years:

Cath: 4, 4
Prot: 4, 4
Jew: 9, 4
None: 8, 10
Jews are on par or higher than the non-religious group—which really shouldn't be surprising, given how many of the Jews are secular.

This difference doesn't correspond with the female Jews, but they're still overrepresented because they comprise a much smaller portion of the population than catholics, protestants, or the non-religious. 

Jews are a very well-educated group and are typically urbanites. If we were to have a more nationally representative sample, we'd likely find a much greater discrepancy between Jews and non-Jews, because non-Jews tend not to cluster so heavily into the cities.

The blogger proposes the high rate of Jewish homosexuals could be because of cultural practices pertaining to circumcision—the most notable practice I can think of which he is likely referring to is metzitzah b'peh, where the rabbi will suck the blood out of the freshly circumcised penis of the baby. 

It's reasonable to think the male Jews having double the amount of homosexuals compared to the females is a product of some longstanding tradition applying only to males. Very few Jews, save for a small segment of ultra-orthodox Jews continue to uphold this tradition, yet these traditional elements could have come to influence the genetics of Jews. Additionally, Gregory Cochran has a pathogenic hypothesis for homosexuality—he suspects it could be a virus; if there is truth to this, the virus could have been regularly delivered through metzitzah b'peh during an early period of development, presumably... many children ended up infected with herpes from this practice; perhaps herpes or a co-occurring or unrelated virus could be the culprit? Who knows? 

The practice of metzitzah b'peh came from the Babylonian Talmud in the 4th century and appears to have been prevalent amongst the Jews until the practice was scrutinized in the 19th and 20th century. 

A 2015 scientific journal reviewed the literature between 1988-2012 and found evidence for 3 deaths and 30 cases of herpes connected to the practice—the practice had already been in decline compared to previous centuries, so one must wonder how many Jews died or were harmed by the practice in its heyday. These effects are easy to see, but what of the development of other behaviors or maladies, such as homosexuality?

Circumcision itself is probably not a factor, and various cultures other than the Jews practice circumcision, and I haven't seen any reason to believe they have higher rates of homosexuality because of circumcision or otherwise. But... I've never seen any studies attempt to tease out these differences.

It's an interesting hypothesis. I'm ignorant of any other strange rituals associated with Jewish circumcision, so perhaps there is something else there. 

How Homosexual Are They in Israel?

How about Israel, the so-called "Jewish homeland?"

A brief accounting of "progress":
Back in 1963, Israel nullified its sodomy laws, and in 1988 legalized same-sex sexual relations. In 1992 the Knesset passed legislation against employment discrimination of gays, in 1993 openly gay Israelis were included in the draft, and, also in 1993, the first “gay pride” parade took place — in Tel Aviv.
There has been more "progress" ever since, and it isn't moving in a straight direction.

It is true that Israel is far more tolerant of homosexuals compared to other countries in the region. How do they compared to the west in terms of overall gayness and tolerance?

In recent years, 5-6% of the U.S. is estimated to be gay according to polls. How do Israelis fare? According to one poll, 67% identified as exclusively heterosexual, 3% as exclusively homosexual, and the remaining 30% identified somewhere in-between—i.e., as bisexual.

There is definitely some degree of variance in the rate of homosexuality, bisexuality, and heterosexuality in different population groups. It's possible Jews have a greater tendency to be bisexual, but...

These results seem quite silly, and certainly not anything akin to a smoking gun. A similar poll was carried out in both the UK and the U.S. The results were similar in the U.S., and the UK had a massive 50% identifying as some form of bisexual! It's using the Kinsey Scale, ranked from 0 to 6. 0 being heterosexual, 1-5 being on the bisexual spectrum, and 6 being homosexual.

I don't really think the results are credible. Being "open" to bisexuality isn't the same as being bisexual, and it doesn't really mean those polled would engage in homosexual behavior. It might be as simple as a girl thinking another girl is attractive, so they mark down 1-2, and then you have an inflated bisexuality score.

Frankly, it's probably not worth counting unless they have had homosexual sex at least once (like in the dataset in the first section). There seems to be a trend of women claiming to be lesbian who are really not lesbians at all.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find much else that was more reliable.

Unregistered cohabitation does occur for homosexuals, though it is unclear if the entitlements of their partnership extends to all cases; it appears to be tied to whether or not recognition or a lack thereof would violate "their right to equal opportunity at work." They will also recognize marriages that occurred outside of Israel.

Civilian support for same-sex marriages and civil unions is quite high at 76%, an increase over previous years, according to a 2016 poll. It went up to 79% in 2017. It's possible the sample sizes are too small (one survey was a meager 500) or non-representative; I could definitely see them oversampling non-religious Jews—perhaps these polls are even meant as propaganda to normalize homosexuality in Israel.

Same-sex couples can adopt in Israel. One poll found 60% of Israelis support same sex adoption.

5% of the Knesset is openly gay.

The Israeli government has increased funding to LGBT organizations and initiatives in recent years, as can be seen here and here. The government spent at least 5 million USD on LGBT-related expenditures back in 2016. Much of what is listed here in relation to Tel Aviv outreach for LGBT is also state funded.

It’s a welcoming destination for residents of less hospitable territories. The government funds the massive Pride celebration, along with the Tel Aviv Municipal LGBT Community Center. The center hosts a gay parents support group, a queer cinema workshop, painting lessons, a kindergarten, a medical clinic, performance space, and nearly any other service you can imagine.

A majority of Israelis support a "pluralistic and open value system," which includes openness to LGBT soldiers, for the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). For the secular portion of the population, 81% supported this initiative, as opposed to only 29% for the Haredim—however, that is rather high for the so-called "ultra-orthodox" Jews.

A staged pro-gay photo op for the IDF's Facebook 

It's safe to say the IDF is pretty gay. Looking through Times of Israel's articles with the search term "IDF GAY SOLDIERS" makes this observation even more flagrant. Homosexuals have been able to serve openly since 1993 (as opposed to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy previously employed in the U.S.), and they even ranked within the top 10 among a bunch of liberal western countries for inclusion of gay and lesbian service members. 

The IDF was at one point more progressive than the U.S. military, though I'm not sure if that's still the case, given how woke the U.S. military has become as of late. 

IDF soldiers attending a gay pride parade 

The IDF is a model of progressivism, and civil society in Israel is not generally as pro-LGBT. The rabbinate and religious influences curb the poz a little bit.

Tel Aviv: The Gay Capital of the World

The rabbinate seems to be getting weaker, however, seeing as Tel Aviv has defied the rabbinate and allowed same-sex couples to register as "married." Marriage is carried out by religious institutions—so Jewish couples are married through the chief rabbinate; and there are similar bodies for Christians, Druze, and Muslims. What Tel Aviv is doing will allow married status to apply to interfaith couples and same-sex couples, circumventing these religious institutions.

A writer for Boston Globe says you should assume about 10% of Tel Aviv is gay, and officials estimate that 25% of the population is gay! I couldn't find anything else to corroborate this, so might be best to take this with a grain of salt. Who knows? It might be close to the truth.

Tel Aviv is known for its gay pride parades:
The parade, now in its 17th year, drew an estimated 180,000 people on Friday, making it the largest gay pride parade in all of Asia and the Middle East. Considering that the entire population of Tel Aviv is just 420,000, this turnout is proportionately higher than the 2 million who march in the annual pride parade in New York, a city of 8.5 million.
Hence, many refer to Tel Aviv as the gay capital of the Middle East or Asia, and in some cases, the world. In 2012, Tel Aviv was rated as the number one gay city by gay travelers according to American Airlines and surveys. “the gay capital of the Middle East is exotic with a Mediterranean c’est la vie attitude.”

Here are some headlines. A Times of Israel blog has an article titled "Israel is the gayest country on earth." Another article echoes the sentiment, but is a little more conservative: "Welcome to Tel Aviv, the gayest city on earth." Another writer responds to the headline: "Is Tel Aviv Really the Gayest City on the Planet?

To begin with, I'm going to say that the Times of Israel article is very obnoxious. It's written by a homosexual who is trying to suggest the Israelis are the moral side in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict because Israel is pro-homosexual (aside from some of the religious elements), and the Palestinians aren't tolerant of their homosexuals (although as liberal as Palestinian activists are in the west, it comes as somewhat of a surprise, but the west corrupts the soul nowadays). 

Well, it's not ideal to treat your people badly, but I don't blame them. Homosexuality is a societal problem and some form of deterrence is a necessity. 

If a country is not structured in such a way that they can tackle the problem in a more benign way, then you should expect to see a degree of violence, in the most severe cases, you may even see a homosexual put to death (to be clear, homosexuality is not punished by execution in Palestine). Deterrence is vital, and the Palestinians aren't going to have the proper infrastructure to deal with the homosexual question in any other way. 

To affirm homosexuality and cater to this tiny minority is to the detriment of the majority—a majority that actually reproduces and upholds tradition, and is therefore more valuable to the nation as a whole. Without the majority, the Palestinians will collapse, while the homosexuals are a decadent element that erode tradition, corrupt the youth, and spread diseases. Were there a switch the mother could flick to ensure there was a 100% chance of a heterosexual being born, we would all be better off (except at this point we'd actually be worse off because many modern women would probably prefer to emasculate their sons and make them homosexual—this is basically what is happening with the transgender craze).

What the author is doing is another example of an inverted morality adopted by the aggressor to justify the subjugation of the victim. "Look at how moral we are compared to these immoral savages we're bombing. They don't even support double anal and transgender kids." The CIA does it, the military does it, and so why shouldn't the Israelis do it?

The heavy promotion of LGBT in Israel isn't because Jews are more liberal or more homosexual. It's a deliberate and cynical choice, as shall soon be shown. The promotion of LGBT in Tel Aviv provides a woke veil to obscure tensions related to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict; another purpose would be to fuel tourism and improve international relations with the western powers. All of which is exactly what Satchie Snellings proposes in the "City Branding" section of the article "The 'Gayification' of Tel Aviv: Examining Israel's Pro-Gay Brand." 

(The same argument obviously applies to Israel allowing African and various non-Jewish migrants who practice Judaism into their country.)

The Making of the "Gay Capital of the World"

As for why the homosexual aspect of Tel Aviv is inorganic, let's begin with the basics of city branding: “A place can be branded when the right tool, the identity, has been chosen, which makes it stand out from its competitors.” 

From what I can tell, Tel Aviv first got a reputation for being a gay city in 2011, though probably still functioned similarly to a pro-gay city a few years before that—it just wasn't global news.

Hagai El-Ad of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel was questioned about whether or not what we're seeing is a case of "pinkwashing," which is the practice of promoting LGBT-related issues in a positive manner to distract from negative policies or actions. El-Ad responded by saying that he hoped the situation wouldn't "hide human rights violations," and continued:
“For those at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Israel who devised the strategy of pitching Israel as a ‘gay promised land’ in the hope that this would somehow make people... look away from very serious and worsening human rights violations here, that’s a strategy that any decent person should reject wholeheartedly.”
In 2005, the Jewish Publication Forward published an article titled "Israel Aims to Improve Its Public Image."

The lede spells everything out clearly: "Directors of Israel’s three most powerful ministries [Israel's Foreign Ministry, Finance Ministry, and the Office of the Prime Minister] have agreed on a new plan to improve the country’s image abroad — by downplaying religion and avoiding any discussion of the conflict with the Palestinians."

They wanted to improve their brand, preferably as a whole, but even rebranding a city would help. "The driving concept is that Israel will win supporters only if it is seen as relevant and modern rather than only as a place of fighting and religion." 

As Europe and the Anglosphere are the most powerful and developed countries, and Israel relies on U.S. support, it's clear that "The idea here is to have a major branding campaign in America and Europe," according to Gidon Meir, of Israel's Foreign Ministry.

The Brand Israel group—headed by Ido Aharoni, a former media and public affairs consultant in the Israeli consulate in New York—is a coalition of 7 marketing and communications executives that researched how Israel could improve its reputation. A Young & Rubicam survey confirmed Israel was really only know for war.

There were already public relations firms, like the The Israel Project, focusing on crisis management of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the problem was that their coverage just reinforced Israel's image as a warring and oppressive state.

A big part of Israel's new image was a California-based company called Israel21c—they have close ties to AIPAC and many hasbara-oriented (Israeli propaganda) operations. They worked alongside public relations experts to circulate positive news stories and puff pieces about Israel rather than stories of conflict with Palestine. 

Israel21c hires students to plant their stories on forums and social media while hiding their affiliation with the organization, and such hijinks can be read about further on Electronic Intifada (they also have a pretty informative article on Brand Israel and much of the same information I'm covering here). According to Israel21c's about page, they are responsible for at least 13,000 articles since their founding in 2001, and they have published articles in many big magazines, including New York Times, AP, Reuters, BBC, etc. Electronic Intifada claims Israel21c are responsible for "techwashing," "pinkwashing," and "greenwashing." Basically, they do anything they can to promote a positive image about Israel, and they hope to do it as broadly as they can on any and every subject—just so long as Palestine is covered up.

Ahorani of the the Brand Israel Group revisited the subject of rebranding Israel at the tenth annual Herziliya Conference in 2010, reiterating everything that had been previously said by the group and the gist of which has been outlined above.

The Herziliya Conference produced a working paper titled "Winning the Battle of the Narrative." The paper acknowledges the political elites of the west are more sympathetic to Israel's policies compared to the public, but the public's perception and the media's coverage determine whether or not these governments have the leeway to enact a pro-Israeli foreign policy agenda.

Instead of typical hasbara, they want to focus on "Creative Energy," which is a term indicating they are moving away from crisis management and moving towards a brand that reflects positive values, such as "building the future," "vibrant diversity," and "entrepreneurial zeal." 

("Vibrant diversity" is definitely not a positive value, though.)

If you read a lot of mainstream news, other than biased portrayals of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, you'll often see a lot about Israel's tech startups, research on stem cells or various other medical or science-related topics, the environment, and very recently, their vigorous Covid-19 vaccine campaign. That's essentially what they mean by "Creative Energy." Just add in a sprinkle of wokeness relating to diversity and LGBT.
To create and mobilize support, one must point to convergent morals and similar values. In that sense, messages should be coupled with examples of similar compatible values of Israel with the West. Gaining the trust of members of Western elites and thus strengthening their association with Israel can influence Israel’s image very favourably.

Participants noted that introducing people to daily life in Israel has been very successful in gaining their support; spending a night out in Tel-Aviv or taking part in a tour of Herziliya proved to be the best way for foreigners to understand and relate to Israel.
Shai Doitsh was formerly the head of tourism for Aguda—Israel's most well-known LGBT organization—from 2004 to 2012, and he explained that Tel Aviv's reputation changed from one of conflict to tolerance, leading to a rise in tourism—especially of the gay variety—and an improved economy.   

I couldn't find Dana Bensimon's article referenced in Snelling's "Gayification" article—aside from it being cited on Google Scholar, but it features many interviews with figures from the Israeli government, the LGBT community, and the tourism industry that probably connects some extra dots and solidifies even more lucidly what is happening here. 

In 2010, Israel launched the Tel Aviv Gay Vibe (TAGV), directed at western Europe, and moving forward with the LGBT branding. TAGV was a collaboration of Israel's Ministry of Tourism, the Tel Aviv Tourism Board, and the Aguda in a bid to make Tel Aviv the "gay capital of the world."

Anat Nir, the director of marketing for TAGV at the time, stated, "Years of hard work, international travels and promotion, we finally did it. Tel Aviv is on the map. This news has got into every major communications channel here and we are very proud. Of course this means that this year is going to be full of LGBT incoming tourism which is our aim. Small city huge impact."

Israel continued to invest in gay tourism, with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism pumping 11 million shekels into promoting gay tourism to Israel from overseas, which resulted in a row with the domestic LGBT community because homegrown LGBT NGOs only got 1.5 million shekels in funding. Clearly, Israel's concern lies with its pro-gay brand and not the LGBT community (they're just a means to an end, and the normal Israelis just have to put up with living in Sodom and Gomorrah). Funding for the homegrown element did increase after this incident, but there is clearly a degree of tension remaining in Israel between the LGBT community and much of the rest of society and the government.

To summarize, It was well-known that people mostly knew Israel for its militancy, so they started by rebranding the IDF to be super gay. An attempt to rebrand Israel in various ways was in the air at least as early as the 2001-2005 period, and the LGBT aspect of Tel Aviv was deliberate branding to draw in more tourists and make themselves more relatable to decadent European elites.

Tel Aviv's LGBT Persona Failed to Materialize Nationally

It's unclear if these LGBT privileges that Tel Aviv "enjoys" will be extended to Israel as a whole anytime soon.

Israel actually ranks low in tolerance for LGBT compared to the more liberal European countries. In large part, this is due to religiosity. The secular elements of Israel are generally pretty tolerant of LGBT.

As for general approval of homosexuality, according to Pew, 47% said homosexuality should be accepted, while 45% said it should not be accepted. 52% of high-income earners approve, as opposed to about 30% of low-income earners. Those who don't value religion are 3 times more likely to say homosexuality is acceptable compared to the religious. Israeli Jews are much more likely to approve of homosexuality compared to Israeli Muslims: 53% versus 17%.

For a bit of perspective on the demographics and religiosity of Israel:
A survey in 2004 showed that 81 percent of Israel’s population defined themselves as Jewish; 12 percent as Muslim; 3.5 percent as Christian (both Arab and non-Arab); 1.5 percent as Druze; 1.5 percent as atheist; and another 0.5 percent as followers of other religions. In terms of religiosity, among Israeli Jews aged 20 and over, 44 percent defined themselves as secular; 27 percent defined themselves as traditional; 12 percent as traditionally observant; 9 percent as Orthodox; and 8 percent as ultra-Orthodox.
If this 45%/47% split is correct, then the same probably applies to approval for gay marriage. A general trend should likely be that more general "equality" will have a higher approval (or at least equivalent) than same-sex marriage.

Here is a further representation of the more reactionary elements of the split:
Despite the relatively high acceptance rates in Israel, LGBTQphobia remains a significant issue in the country, with a 36% rise noted in the number of LGBTQphobic incidents reported in 2019 by the Aguda - The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel.

During the series of elections for Knesset in the past year, a new party, Noam, was formed out of the Hazon organization. Both the organization and the party focused largely on campaigning against LBTQ+ rights and the Reform movement and conducted a nationwide ad and marketing campaign on social media, text messages and billboards.
I'm always very suspicious of anything along the lines of "hate crime," "hate speech," and "such and such -ism is up by 50%!" 

Despite my suspicions, as homosexuals have been granted more power in Israeli society, there is undoubtedly going to be a backlash as the behavior becomes more visible to the more conservative and religious elements, Lehava, or the aforementioned Noam
Tel Aviv has been described as a pro-LGBT "bubble," with many other locations in Israel being far more hostile, among them Jerusalem and it's greater number of Haredim. The Haredim are also outbreeding the rest of the Israeli population, and if they are as sufficiently anti-LGBT as I assume they likely are, then this may not bode well for LGBT acceptance in Israel as a whole, though Tel Aviv may remain an anal paradise.

Even if the Haredim were to become the majority, there's no guarantee they would get their way—just as the religious and conservatives lost on the issue of LGBT in the U.S. In most cases, the decision will be in the hands of the elite, and the Haredim have traditionally been in the lower-income bracket compared to the secular Jews, though that doesn't account for how powerful and influential a select few Haredim are. 

For now, the right wing elements are probably going to maintain the status quo, from everything I have read about the Knesset's position and the influence of ultra-orthodox elements. A solid article to get a better grasp of the subject can be found here—it gives a broad overview of the history of LGBT-related policy and some of the internal political squabbles. 

We'll just have to wait and see what direction Israel goes in. 

Yes, Israel is fairly pro-LGBT; it can be found listed alongside western/northern Europe and the Anglosphere in terms of how accepting they are of LGBT. Though there is probably greater disparity in approval from the overall population in Israel compared to countries of European descent because Israel has a more devout religious element. 

The U.S. might be listed as a "very religious" country, but the religious engagement is very casual, the closer you look. Going by George Barna's study, very few Americans have what could be called a biblical world view—instead we have a syncretic world view comprised of various cobbled together philosophies. What religion we do have has liberalized and often accepts homosexuality as valid. Religion is declining quickly, while agnosticism and atheism are increasing, and 17% of Americans describe their "religion" as "nothing in particular." Only about 44% of Christians attend church weekly or more.

Europeans are becoming far more casual about religion. The most powerful Jewish elements in American society are largely secular. Secular Jews as a whole are about 30% of the Jewish population. Reform Judaism is also large in the U.S.—about 35% of the Jewish population, and they are extremely liberal and more casual in their religiosity. Effectively, that means 60-70% of U.S. Jews practice either a shitlib form of Judaism or are secular.

Only about 40% of Israeli citizens are secular. Ultra-orthodox will be the most anti-LGBT, and while this says 8%, this is from 2014-2015. By 2020, the Haredim/ultra-orthodox already have grown to 12.6%. Only about 3% of Jews in Israel identify as belonging to Reform Judaism, which is the most liberal religious label. The other religious groupings are mostly some form of orthodox and will likely be closer to the Haredim or a bit closer to being moderate or conservative.

This should give a decent idea of how these different religious groupings will probably vote and how much they will approve of LGBT:

Also, religious Jews in Israel are probably more inclined to opt for pro-social policies compared to religious American Jews, who often isolate themselves within Jewish communities, away from the gentiles. Why should they care about the decline of America if they are cloistered in their tightly-knit communities?

I personally think the 45%/47% split of approval is probably correct. It would seem to me Israel is divided between a very liberal and secular set of Jews on one hand, and a highly orthodox, conservative, and moderate set of mostly religious Jews on another hand. 

There is a clash between tradition and another group with an evolved sense of upholding the rights of minority groups. And by minority groups, I obviously mean Jewish LGBT, not Palestinians or black "Jews" or anything else. They only care about the plight of other minorities in countries they want to subvert (or to take the pressure off of Jews and to blend into an increasingly diverse crowd).

Jews seem to be more sexually deviant in general—and sexual deviance correlates with higher IQ. Ashkenazi Jewish IQ is generally considered the highest of all the demographics, clocking in somewhere around 105-115 (I'll write an article later as to why the 115 number is dubious; their real average is probably closer to 105, give or take a few points). They also have various mental illnesses at elevated rates, among them schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. All of these factors buttress each other to indicate Jews likely have higher rates of bisexuality, homosexuality, or other aberrant and deviant forms of sexuality compared to the general population.

The more liberal Jews probably are homosexual at higher rates, just as the dataset shown earlier would indicate. The only problem, is there's hardly any data on the topic for Jews in America or Israel. Jews are a small percentage of the world population and tests that would indicate something negative about them are rarely performed, or if they are, they are likely buried.

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