BICOM Expert View: The Apartheid Smear, by Shany Mor

A widely reported article by Gideon Levy, published in Haaretz on 23 October, claiming ‘most Israeli Jews would support [an] apartheid regime in Israel’, grossly distorted the polling data that it was based on, which does not justify any such conclusion. No question in the poll asked respondents if they support apartheid, and nowhere in the poll did Israelis say they do. Far from revealing support for apartheid, the poll, if anything, shows most Israeli Jews think that separate roads in the West Bank for Israelis and Palestinians is a bad thing; would not have a problem living next door to an Arab family; and believe that Arabs should continue to have the vote in Israel. An analysis of the original data in Hebrew shows that the poll was mistranslated into English and its results misrepresented. It also reveals that the language in many of the original polling questions was confusing, using mixed categories and ambiguous terms.

In this paper, BICOM Senior Associate Analyst Shany Mor deconstructs the poll based on the original Hebrew data, and determines what it does and does not tell us about public attitudes in Israel and the dangers of vaguely worded polling questions.