Want To Make Israeli Jews Look Racist? Ask Pew
The Pew Research Center has provided ammunition for anti-Zionist Jew-hatred. The response to one survey question is used as proof that Israeli Jews want to ethnically cleanse our country and the West Bank and Gaza of Arabs and that genocide was always our goal. Problem is, the Pew survey was ill conceived, at least in part.
With a good reputation for conducting valuable surveys, Pew claims neutrality and gathering information for information’s sake.
We are rigorously nonpartisan and non-advocacy in our approach. Pew Research Center reports and our posts here on Fact Tank don’t take stands on issues, and we don’t make policy recommendations. Rather, our goal is to supply factual information that can be trusted by those on all sides of today’s partisan and policy divides to provide a foundation for informed debate.
Therefore, journalists believe that they can rely on the results of Pew surveys and can refer to the results when writing on various sensitive topics.
Jews are racist, according to Pew.
It is not surprising, then, that the results of one survey question has been used in various places to denounce the Jews of Israel as being largely racist – or, at least about half racist (if you want to consider the Arabs a race, which they are not, but I think you get the idea). Here is what the survey website reports in about the middle of the page [emphasis in the original]:
Perhaps the strongest indication of the major fractures in Israeli society is that roughly half of Israeli Jews (48%) say Arabs should be transferred or expelled from Israel while a similar share (46%) disagree with this.
If you Google this, you find a long list of media and blog publications, Israeli and otherwise, that lapped up the apparent evidence of racist Israeli Jews. At least academics have been more circumspect (surprisingly) and only one “scholarly” paper quoted it as proof of the author’s contention that nationalism is racist. It was a student thesis paper uploaded proudly onto the college website.
I will explain, below, the impossibility of reaching the conclusion Pew did from just one question. But first, let me show you why their entire survey is suspect.
Pew survey: Was Israel given to the Jews by God?
First problem: Jews who said they did not believe in God were not asked this question (stated on page 148). While it is almost certain that they would have answered in the negative, not asking shows a willingness to rely on assumptions rather than just ask and get a real answer. After all, it would take all of a few seconds to ask and record their answers. What kind of survey decides to not-ask certain questions like this?!
Second problem: even more incredibly, on page 149 of their report, we are told that
Due to political sensitivities, Muslims in Israel were not asked this question.
DUE TO POLITICAL SENSITIVITIES!! I wonder exactly to whom the survey designers were being sensitive– to the Muslims being interviewed for this survey or to the Arab-speakers (Muslims?) surveying the Muslim interviewees? Do I detect some fear here? Is asking such a question similar to drawing a cartoon mocking Mohammad? What the heck is going on here? Either you are conducting a randomized population survey or you are not!
If political sensitivities can determine which questions you ask (or do not ask) in a general population survey, then the survey is biased and invalid. In other words, we cannot be sure the survey is measuring what it says it is.
And if the Pew survey is biased and invalid, then none of the responses should be quoted anywhere as having anything of value to disclose regarding the population of Israel.
The problem with the question regarding transfer
This is one question from about 90-100 questions in the entire Pew survey. In order to be able to draw any conclusions, the question would have to have been asked in at least two different ways. That would ensure that the intent was really understood.
The transfer question is part of a group of three questions. Respondents were asked to rate their degree of agreement or disagreement with the statements. I translate these into English from the original Hebrew:
- It is the birthright of Jews from around the world to immigrate to Israel.
- Jews have the right to preferential treatment in Israel.
- Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel.
First: There is no ambiguity regarding the first statement and fully 98% of all Jewish respondents agree with this, 87% strongly so. Perhaps because this is the raison d’être of Israel!
Second: But what does it mean that 79% of the Jews interviewed said that Jews should have preferential treatment in Israel? Is it because Jews are racist (and favour apartheid, perhaps)? Does it mean that Jews have certain rights because they serve in the army? And what kind of preferential treatment – for housing, medical care, education, pay less taxes (that they do not have, by the way)? What?
While there is interpersonal discrimination for sure, there is no separate legal system or privilege system for Arabs and for Jews. So just what are the respondents referring to when they either agree or disagree with this statement? The Pew report even stated clearly that kind of privilege was not specified.
I think one must wonder what was going on during the interviews when the report says that 38% of leftist Jews agreed with giving Jews privilege. That is in direct opposition to leftist values. Therefore, I wonder if interviewees understood the question, I wonder about how it was asked, I wonder if respondents linked “privilege” with right of Israeli citizenship because the two questions were one after the other, I wonder about the validity of the responses to this statement.
Third: What kind of transfer is intended? And exactly which Arabs are the ones targeted for transfer? The Pew survey never says.
Do they mean transferring all Arabs out of Gaza and Judea & Samaria and into neighbouring Arab countries? Do they mean transferring Israeli Arabs into Gaza and Judea and Samaria? Do they mean Lieberman’s form of transfer?
Minister Avigdor Lieberman openly advocates for transfer. But what does transfer mean to Lieberman? It means, swapping the Arab towns in the Triangle Region of central Israel for Area C in Judea & Samaria (aka The West Bank). In other words, he does not suggest uprooting Arabs from their homes (not like Israel uprooted Jews from Gaza and four communities in northern Samaria in 2005). He suggests that the Arabs of those towns, some of whom demonstrate violently against Israel, become citizens of the Palestinian state that will arise in Judea & Samaria. Palestinian state? Did Lieberman say, Palestinian state? Yes, Lieberman, the right-wing politician supporting transfer, is a two-stater.
So what exactly did the Pew survey interviewees think they were answering when they said how much they agree or disagree with transfer or expelling Arabs? And if we do not know, then we cannot say that Israeli Jews are or are not racist or anti-Arab.
I know that does not matter to those who want to paint us genocidal and apartheid occupiers. Oh well.