H/T Simon Plosker
Harriet Sherwood’s latest report, Oct. 23, contains a dramatic headline, ‘Israeli poll finds majority in favor of ‘apartheid’ policies.
The highlights of the poll reported by Sherwood, and based on a Ha’aretz article by Gideon Levy which cited the results of polling conducted by a group called Dialog, are as follows: (Graph from Ha’aretz)
Critical omission by Sherwood on the findings:
Here’s the opening passage of Sherwood’s story:
“More than two-thirds of Israeli Jews say that 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank should be denied the right to vote if the area was annexed by Israel, in effect endorsing an apartheid state…” [emphasis added]
However, Sherwood failed to acknowledge that only 38 percent of the Jewish public wants Israel to annex the territories with settlements on them in the first place, which is arguably the most important stat, as many of the subsequent questions, such as the one highlighted by Sherwood, pertain to a scenario where such annexation occurs. The fact that a majority of Israelis do not express support for annexation renders the subsequent questions extremely less meaningful, and her conclusion about Israeli support for ‘apartheid’ dishonest.
A few additional observations.
- The sample size of the Dialog poll is 503 (out of a Jewish population of over 6 million), which is problematic. Further, since there is no link to the full poll it’s not possible to judge the methodology.
- Levy admits that “the survey conductors said that the term ‘apartheid’ “was not clear enough to some interviewees”, which may explain the following additional quote by Levy about the results: “39 percent believe apartheid is practiced “in a few fields”; 19 percent believe “there’s apartheid in many fields” and 11 percent do not know.” Further, it’s unclear how ‘apartheid’ – widely understood as a systemic policy of separation based on race – could be characterized as a dynamic localized in certain fields. It seems possible that Israelis were expressing their belief that “discrimination” occurs in certain fields, which is a far different phenomenon than ‘apartheid’.
- Sherwood writes that “58% believe Israel already practices apartheid against Palestinians”, a number, it seems, based on Levy’s report, cited above. As I noted in the previous bullet, this is extremely problematic conclusion, based on what may be an unclear understanding of what the word ‘apartheid’ meant in the context it was being used.
The most glaring omission by Sherwood is her broader failure, in this or other reports alleging Israeli racism, to provide similar data indicating the political views of Palestinians. This is part of a larger problem within the Guardian’s coverage of the region, which consistently fails to rigorously examine Palestinian society and mores.
As such, the following Palestinian poll results should at least serve to provide a bit of context to contrast the recent polling on Israelis.
- 51% support the August 2010 Hamas attack on settlers near Hebron that resulted in the death of four settlers? (PCPSR, October 2010)
- 54% support armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel? (Harry Truman Research Institute/PCPSR, March 1-7, 2009
- 64% support launching rockets from the Gaza Strip against Israeli towns and cities such as Sderot and Ashkelon? (Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, March 13-15, 2008)
- 84% support the bombing attack that took place in a religious school in West Jerusalem in 2008. (Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, March 13-15, 2008)
- 60% of Palestinians eventually hope that one state − Palestine − will replace the Jewish state. Only 23 percent of Palestinians said they believed in Israel’s right to exist as the national homeland of the Jews. (Based on a poll in 2010)
- 47.5% of Palestinians still support terrorist attacks inside pre-1967 Israel. (2012 PSR Survey)
- 73% of Palestinians “believe” the Islamic Hadith that preaches it is Islamic destiny to kill Jews. (2011 poll)
Of course, there is as good of a chance Sherwood would report these disturbing findings about Palestinian racism, support for violence, and intransigence as the chance she would avoid skewing the results of an Israeli poll in a misleading manner which shows Israelis in the worst possible light.
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