Investing in Our Students to Prevent a Crisis (A Wake Up Call)
- 3 minute read
- • by Sharon Koifman
- • August 5, 2022
One of the Behavior Economics and Data Science books that I really love is Everyday Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowicz. By using Big Data from Google, we learn so much about how people think.
One of the most interesting chapters discusses how people become aligned with a specific party in the US. Apparently, the famous Churchill phrase “anyone who was not a liberal at 20 years of age had no heart, while anyone who was still a liberal at 40 had no head”, is completely off base.
There is amazing research done on this topic by Yair Ghitza, chief scientist at Catalyst, a data analysis company, and Andrew Gelman, a political scientist and statistician at Columbia University. Apparently, people rarely change their party’s loyalty and make that decision at the age ranging between 14-24.
That’s right, the study shows that during your university years, if a president was popular like Dwight D. Eisenhower, a bigger part of that generation would vote Republican. If you were in university during the period of John F. Kennedy, your age group would tilt more to the Democrats. It also happens in reverse. If your president were unpopular like Nixon, you would lean to the opposite party.
And apparently, this position would stick with most of us for the long haul. The most impressionable age for this study is 18. Yes,18 is the average age when the majority of people pick the party for the rest of their lives.
And again, behavior economics always reminds us that we are so easily influenced.
So how does this affect Israel advocates? With the massive effort implemented by Anti-Israel Marketing Machine, these days, it almost feels like any politically aware individual must pick a side in the Israel conflict as if it is a sports team, a reality show or a political party.
While I don’t have any specific research on when and for how long you choose to be Pro-Israel or Anti-Israel (which I intend to do in the near future), one can assume that it would share many characteristics with the study on political allegiance. It is not unreasonable to assume that people make their decision about the conflict at around the age of 18. And the majority of people won’t change their minds unless there is a severe intervention.
If I’m not making myself clear, age 14-24 is the most important age range to bring these kids and young adults on our side, and that’s why university and even the graduating year of high school is the crucial time to educate people about Israel. The Anti-Israel Marketing Machine has understood this for multiple decades. They invest in teachers, sponsor students, and make sure that the Pro-Israel voice on campus gets silenced.
Qatar is known to funnel about 5 billion dollars into American universities, 3 billion of it which was not even accounted for.
It is sad to see that teachers cannot get their 10 years if they take any positive stance on Israel. And Pro-Israel students are getting both verbally and physically intimidated.
It is also scary to think that while we are starting to experience more Anti-Zionists based attacks and intimidation on the Jewish community, this is just the beginning. Because schools are letting Anti-Zionist condemnation become more and more part of the mainstream process. While our governments, especially the left-leaning parties, are slowly becoming more Anti-Israel, the students of today that will become the future leaders and politicians in 20-30 years are even more aggressively trained to be Anti-Zionists. Even if we fix everything now on campus, we have 20-30 years for things to get worse before they get better.
I would like to make this our wake call. The final years of high school and universities are the main battlegrounds we need to deal with asap. We must teach our kids Israeli History and how to influence. We must unite them and give them a clear message to distribute.
If we are not going to do this now, in 30 years, our community life will not be much different than the Eastern European and Middle Eastern lives our grandparents used to talk about. We must treat this reality as an emergency, which is why I have started Israelactivists.com.
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