Economist

The Economist misleads on American Jewish attitudes towards Israel and Iran


The narrative advanced by The Economist in a Nov. 25 story about the American political repercussions of the recent deal in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1 (‘Israel heads for a terrifying split‘) is clear towards the end of the opening paragraph:

APPEARANCES to the contrary, the Israeli government does not have a problem with the terms of the deal that was struck on Iran’s nuclear programme on Sunday. Rather, the Israeli government has a problem with the fact that a deal was struck on Iran’s nuclear programme on Sunday. Over the course of the negotiations, it has become abundantly clear that Binyamin Netanyahu and the conservative coalition he leads do not want a diplomatic resolution to the standoff over Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons on any terms that Iran would be willing to accept. That puts Israel at loggerheads with the majority of Americans; perhaps more important, it puts Israel at loggerheads with a large fraction of American Jews.

Then, to buttress the argument of an impending erosion of solidarity between Israel and American Jews the (anonymous) author of the story cites two polls.  

Here’s the first:

Meanwhilea poll of American Jews by the Anti-Defamation League early this month found that if Israel were to carry out a military strike against Iran, 48% thought America should take a “neutral” position, while just 40% would favour supporting Israel.

However, when you open the link it’s clear that the ADL poll gauged the views of all Americans, not specifically American Jews.  

adl

So, if the intent was to show that American Jewish support for Israel – in the context of the current crisis – has declined, the poll cited (on the views, again, of ALL Americans) does not demonstrate this.

Now, here’s the second poll used in the same paragraph within The Economist report:

That stand-offishness was in line with a broad decrease in support for aggressive anti-Iranian positions that emerged in a poll by the American Jewish Committee in October, which found backing for American military action against Iran had fallen to 52% from 67% in 2012.

Unlike the ADL poll, the AJC poll does indeed gauge the views of American Jews. However, note how the author shifted gears from a question about the reaction to Israeli military action (in the first passage), to the reaction to American military action (in the second passage).  Indeed, if the two passages were to be consistent the latter one would have noted results in the same AJC poll cited showing that 67 percent of American Jews would support Israeli military action to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

ajc

AJC poll of American Jews, 2012

Further, results from AJC’s two previous polls of American Jews show 72.5 percent supporting Israeli military action in such a scenario in 2012, with 67 percent supporting such action in 2011 – indicating relatively consistent support over the past three years for a potential Israeli attack.  

More broadly, a major study by Pew Global released this year demonstrated that about 70 percent American Jews are “emotionally very attached to Israel”, findings, Pew noted, which “closely resemble results from the last National Jewish Population Survey conducted in 2000-2001”.

So, it seems clear that – despite The Economist’s misleading characterizations of the polls cited – American Jewish support for Israel (including support for any future Israeli military action which may be required) shows no signs of wavering. 

23 replies »

  1. “APPEARANCES to the contrary, the Israeli government does not have a problem with the terms of the deal that was struck on Iran’s nuclear programme on Sunday. Rather, the Israeli government has a problem with the fact that a deal was struck on Iran’s nuclear programme on Sunday.”
    A ludicrous assertion that the Economist backs up with nothing, but, I suppose is necessary to push the rest of the canard. Nothing but b.s. from beginning to end.

    • That was exacltly my take on first reading it. This ‘journalist’ comes up with an utterly false premise and then builds his house of cards on it. With the simple aim, naturally, of bashing Israel while giving the foul Iranian regime a free pass.

      And he actually get paid to write such crap, editors accept it and a gullible public swallows it.

      • “And he actually get paid to write such crap…”
        I never mention it here, but you’ve touched on one of my pet peeves, that writers get paid handsomely for pushing such dreck.

  2. What’s wrong with taking a neutral position? I’m American, not Israeli. What Israel does is of my interest, and I can support or criticize, but I can’t possibly expect to have my perspective listened to.

    And, by the way, through gerrymandering, my representative to the US government is some douchebag living more than 200 hundred miles away in a suburb of some other city. He and I, believe it or not, don’t see alike.

    This is the reality of the All-Powerful Jew.

  3. The article seems to be celebrating war mongering . Yes if the original article is wrong then the Economist must be challenged but if a large proportion of American Jews want a strike on Iran against common sense , world and even US opinion this is shocking and indicative of a dreadful and dangerous situation.

    The strength of the Jewish people for thousands of years refusing to be moulded into shape by threats , pogroms or holocaust is one thing but starting WW3 is just too ghastly to contemplate. Jews will be blamed …not Israel …but Jews. How on earth is this going to combat anti Semitism?

    • “The article seems to be celebrating war mongering ”

      Where in the article, and how is it ‘celebrating war mongering’ ?

    • Let me get this straight:

      Most American Jews support a potential Israeli strike – if diplomacy fails – to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. And, you see such support for Israel – to prevent a country which seeks its annihilation (a scenario, I hope you’ll agree, is “too ghastly to contemplate”) from obtaining the means to do so – as itself a war-like act?

      Remarkable inversion.

    • How on earth is this going to combat anti Semitism?

      One way of combating antisemitism camouflaged as anti Zionism is simply a matter of outing those obsessed negatively by the ‘evil Zionist entity’ who are somewhat silent or blind to the abominations of countries and sects who are inherently anti Western.

      Ring a bell Houshold name???

      • Nobbly

        ” those obsessed negatively by the ‘evil Zionist entity’ ”

        I guess this is a poke at my good self and I would love to see where I have used such language. You have used quotation marks and given this is a site which holds writers to account for precise language then this is either a school boy blunder or an attempt to conflate criticism of an Israeli posture with the views of extremist plodders.

        Adam Levick

        ” a country which seeks its annihilation ”

        Again may I suggest such rhetoric does not fit well in a site purporting to examine precise language . No serious writer would ever say “Israel seeks to attack Iran ” given a significant minority of moderate Israelis would blanche at the thought …it would be narrowed down to the actual extremists who are promoting such an attack which could easily lead to WW3.

        The question of how a third world country could annihilate the astonishingly powerful Israel is altogether another issue .

        Gerald

        “celebrate ”

        Agreed I withdraw the phrase and instead suggest “meekly accept” war mongering .

        • “Agreed I withdraw the phrase and instead suggest “meekly accept” war mongering”

          So where in the article, and how, does it meekly accept war mongering?

          • ” So where in the article, and how, does it meekly accept war mongering? ”

            Sorry I should have made it clear .I was referring to this article. A line considering the impact of a unilateral assault sanctioned by US Jews on a poor yet hugely influential Muslim majority country and the certainty that Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and many other areas would explode might have given the impression that a degree of thought had gone into it.

        • “The question of how a third world country could annihilate the astonishingly powerful Israel is altogether another issue .”
          Didn’t know you were a military expert. By the way, just how many rockets, missiles and proxy armies does Israel have on Iran’s border?

    • Of course you see War Mongering with this post. Why wouldn’t you? You’re boring and stupid and have a one track mind. You are what is commonly known as a Hate Mongering and Pathetic Asswipe.

      How does this combat expect to fight anti-Semitism? By removing the sheet ontop of the Klansman, and showing to the crowd the shit stain smeared all over it.

      Happy Holidays, Housey. May your roof cave in soon.

      • koufaxmitzvah it is wrong to refer to ‘Household name’ as a “Hate Mongering and Pathetic Asswipe”

        He lives in the UK, which means he is a “Hate Mongering and Pathetic ARSEwipe.”

  4. ” Asswipe.”

    In my country that means someone who cares for a donkey . In the US it means that someone is anally fixated and incapable of expressing themselves with any flourish or panache. You take care

  5. “but if a large proportion of American Jews want a strike on Iran against common sense , world and even US opinion this is shocking and indicative of a dreadful and dangerous Situation.”

    “wants”, that is. English isn`t your native language either, I suppose.
    Besides the idiocy of claiming the US opinion, world and common sense for an Iran with nuclear weapons. Well, Antisemites can live with that, no doubt.