Shock findings of ‘apartheid’ poll questioned

A controversial poll suggesting that Israeli Jews would “support apartheid” if the West Bank were annexedhas been strongly criticised.

The poll, whose results were reported in Ha’aretz on Monday, was commissioned by the Yisraela Goldblum Fund, an independent family foundation in the name of the former senior news editor of Kol Israel, who died in 2006.

Among the findings was that 69 per cent of the 503 Israeli Jews questioned would object to Palestinians being given voting rights in Israel if the West Bank were to be annexed. Seventy-four per cent supported separation of Israelis and Palestinians on roads in the Occupied Territories, while 58 per cent believed there was “apartheid” in Israel.

But the poll was criticised by Dermot Kehoe, the chief executive of Bicom, who said it was “poor social science, and its results therefore bogus.

“This poll is deeply unhelpful, will be jumped on by Israel’s critics and does not reflect the true views and values of Israeli society.”

Professor Alan Johnson, Bicom’s senior research fellow, said: “It is not true that most Israelis want to live in an apartheid state. Most Israelis do not want to annex the West Bank, precisely because they don’t want to live with the consequences of ruling over 2.5 million Arabs. That is why most Israelis support a two-state solution. Given that, the conditional ‘what if’ question is pretty meaningless.

“It is not true that three-quarters favour separate roads in the West Bank. If you look at the numbers, only a quarter think that’s a good thing, whilst half think it’s necessary — i.e. justified on security grounds, as opposed to desirable. The questions were poorly worded and the choices were incoherent [a vehement opponent of the occupation because of the threat of apartheid and a radical Arab-hating settler would give the same answer to a few of the questions based on the options given].”

Hebrew University professor Amiram Goldblum, widower of Yisraela Goldblum, was instrumental in commissioning the survey. Among those who set the questions were Mordechai Bar-On (a former chief of education in the IDF), Ilan Baruch (ambassador to South Africa 2004-8), Dr Alon Liel (former ambassador and head of Foreign Ministry), and human rights lawyer Michael Sfard.

Asked about the results, Professor Goldblum said: “The bad surprises are the ‘Meir Kahane’ trends: 33 per cent in favour of blocking Israeli Arab citizens from voting, 47 per cent in favour of partial transfer of Arabs to the Palestinian authority, 59 per cent for preference in government against Arabs, 49 per cent in favour of preferred treatment of Jews in all aspects of the state. Terrible. I did not realise how much this unJewish monster has grown”.

Last updated: 3:33pm, October 25 2012