This is the second article that provides a further analysis of a recent survey by Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), prepared by Dogan Akman, an independent scholar reveals the flaws in the research and bias of the sponsoring organizations. The article is the sole work of the author.
By Doğan D. Akman*
PART I: Background
In my first paper titled “The Independent Jewish Voices, Canada (IJV), Israel and the Palestinians” I wrote a critical analysis of the first two parts of a report based on the data generated by the telephone survey of a sample of 1009 persons (“respondents”), sponsored by Independent Jewish Voices, Canada (IJV), Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East(CJPME ) and United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine-Israel(UNJPPI) (“the sponsors”), and conducted by EKOS Research Associates (“EKOS”) between June 5-10, 2020 titled, EKOS Survey of Attitudes in Canada on Israel, the Palestinians and related topics. https://www.caef.ca/post/the-independent-jewish-voices-canada-ijv-israel-and-the-palestinians
On June 17, 2020 and on September 16, 2020 the sponsors published Part 1 and Part 2 respectively of their report. Part 1 is titled, “Out of Touch: Canada’s Foreign Policy Disconnected from Canadians”,
while Part 2 is titled, “No Double Standards: Canadians Expect Greater Impartiality vis-a-vis Israel”.
My critical review shows that neither one of these titles are warranted.
PART II: The object of this review
In the final paragraphs of my review of the reports on Parts1 and 2, I concluded that:
Regrettably, self-evidently, based on authors’ statements and analysis of the background facts; the law relevant to the issues at hand, and their handling of the survey data, and as to be expected from IJV, the paramount objective of this project is to vilify Israel once more and to criticise the Canadian government’s handling of its relationship with Israel in the context of the Palestinian Arab-Israel conflict and more particularly its refusal to vilify Israel.
All of which brings me back to the application of the IHRA definition of antisemitism. Under the guise of free speech and legitimate criticism of the policies and actions of the Government of Israel, I note that the organisations and the authors are applying double standards by:
requiring Israel to behave in a manner not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation, and
treating Israel in a manner which they would not treat any other such nation.
The sponsors must have expected this kind of criticism because on October 7, 2020 they published Part 3 of the survey report titled, Survey: Canadians Reject Branding Criticism of Israel as Antisemitic.
This part of the project was also handled by six investigators and authors, all members of the sponsor organisations, whose names are provided in the report, and whose qualifications are included as follows:
Three executives of the CJPME :the first of whom has a Ph.D. in an unspecified field while the second has an MPA (Master’s degree in Public Administration) and one is referred to as “Senior Analyst”.
Two members of IJV who have a Ph.D. and a Master’s Degree (M.A.) respectively, in unspecified disciplines.
One member of UNJPPI whose academic credentials are not provided.
The object of this paper is to submit Part 3 of the survey and report to a critical review.
PART III: Historical precedents to the present survey and report
The survey and the report seem to be a follow up to two previous EKOS surveys:
First, a 2017 EKOS survey found that 91% of Canadians believe that ‘criticizing Israeli government policies is not necessarily antisemitic’” (Italics mine). This survey sponsored by IJV and CJPME resulted in a report issued by these two organisations on February 16, 2017.One of the report’s authors writing as the IJV representative , Dimitri Lascaris is known to have made a remark which is not necessarily but clearly antisemitic.
Second, a 2018, EKOS survey of Jewish Canadians found that almost half (48%) agreed that ‘accusation of antisemitism are often used to silence legitimate criticism of Israel government policies’”. This survey appears to have been sponsored again by IJV and the United Jewish People’s Order, presumably another organisation that shares IJV’s view of the world and of the Jews and Israel in it.
The authors state, “… to date there has been no data clarifying specifically where Canadians draw the line, and what kind of criticism they deem to be antisemitic. Given the ongoing confusion and heated disagreement as to what does or does not constitute antisemitism, particularly in regard to debates over Israel, we wanted to ascertain which forms they believe to be legitimate criticism .
PART IV-The generic question that guided the survey
The generic question which guided this segment of the survey is:
“Some people argue that the following are (antisemitic / legitimate criticisms). Other people argue that they are (legitimate criticisms / antisemitic). Do you believe that the following statement is, in principle (Italics mine), antisemitic? “
The pre-set optional answers to this question from which the respondents were required to choose were Yes or No or Don’t Know.
The order of the phrases “antisemitic” and “legitimate criticism” in the question were randomized by respondent, to avoid favouring one response or the other.
The respondents were asked the following nine questions each one refers to one of the following statements:
1. Accusing Jewish-Canadians of being more loyal to Israel than to Canada, by a majority;
2. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, by a majority;
3. Claiming that Jews control the world’s media, by two-third, and
4. Painting swastikas on Israeli consulate ,by vast majority
These first four were deemed to be antisemitic by the margins provided for t each of the statements.
5. Accusing Israel of committing human rights abuses against Palestinians
6. Claiming that Israel is unlawfully pushing Palestinians off their lands;
7. Calling for a boycott of Israel because of alleged human rights abuses;
8. Establishing campus groups which criticise Israeli government policy, and
9. Israel’s restrictive movement and residency laws on Palestinians are similar to South African apartheid laws.
Each of these five were considered not to be antisemitic “in principle” by wide margins.
Strangely enough, of the nine only 4 (#1-4) relate to the illustrations of antisemitism described in the IHRA definition of antisemitism, although the third one refers merely to one of the scenarios described in that particular illustration (the no .2 on the list of illustrations, infra.) of the three in which definition the sponsors consider to be objectionable on a number of grounds.
The definition of IHRA
In the spirit of the Stockholm Declaration that states: “With humanity still scarred by …antisemitism and xenophobia, the international community shares a solemn responsibility to fight those evils” the committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial called the IHRA Plenary in Budapest 2015 to adopt the following working definition of antisemitism: www.holocaustremembrance.com
On 26 May 2016, the Plenary in Bucharest decided to adopt the following non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism:
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
This definition is then followed by the statement: “To guide IHRA in its work, the following examples may serve as illustrations”: [A] “Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.”
[B] ”Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:
-Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
-Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
-Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
-Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
-Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
-Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
-Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
-Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation
-Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
-Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
-Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel. “
The authors write: “Out of the eleven examples of antisemitism attached to the IHRA WDA, which are usually understood to be part of the definition, seven of those examples relate in some way to Israel or Zionism. Example 7, for instance, reads as follows: ‘denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor. Although other examples are clear and straightforward, the vast majority are heavily reliant on context, including but not limited to those dealing with questions of Jewish stereotyping (Example 2), dual loyalty charges (Example 6), and comparisons between Israeli policy with that of the Nazis (Example 10). These examples are nevertheless frequently applied uncritically by some proponents of the IHRA WDA to attack those who engage in specific forms of criticism and protest of Israel, including the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement, Israeli Apartheid Week, and anti-Zionism”.
Surely, the fairest way to determine the Canadians’ views of antisemitism, would have been to put to the respondents 11 plus questions each embodying one of the illustrative examples, and for the lengthier illustrations provide them in whole or in several parts..
The sponsors being most anxious to end up with opinions that support their view, resorted to using the nine statements without providing a proper context, despite the fact that each of these statements is heavily reliant on context. Their way of dealing with this issue is reminiscent of the idiom, “Do not confuse me with facts”.
Through this major omission, the sponsors of the project have spared their respective organisations from having their views and organisational activities impeached by the respondents.
The title of this Part 3 report, as is the case with the reports on Parts 1 and 2 is misleading. The accurate title would be: A failed self-whitewashing exercise.
PART V- The Failure to ask critically important threshold questions
The design of the segments of the survey used in Part 3 of the report is as seriously flawed as it is for the segments used in Parts 1 and 2 of the report as next illustrated.
For ease of reference, I will number the flaws below:
First problem: The report does not state precisely what the interviewers told the respondents at the outset of the interview before proceeding to ask the survey questions.
Second problem: The facts are that
First, the rates of antisemitism and of the various types of antisemitic hatred have been rapidly rising in the United States ("U.S"), Canada and particularly in Europe.
Second, antisemitism manifests itself in many guises. In this connection, Canada has adopted, as did 34 other countries, the non-binding definition of antisemitism formulated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (“IHRA”) both on the domestic front and in foreign relations.
Third, these incidents and the rates of increase in antisemitic acts is making headlines both in the American and European mass media, on TV news and on a multitude of websites, in social media, and in other mass publications that feed into Canada from the United States.
Fourth, the Palestinian-Arab –Israeli conflict (“the conflict) has been going on for a long time.
In the circumstances, the average Canadian cannot help but hear about these matters. Nor can s/he ignore the Canadian news concerning these matters, that at times involve gory violent and bloody encounters; death, injury and destruction of property.
Yet, the survey failed to ask the respondents questions concerning the following matters that would have enormously assisted in the proper assessment of their opinions. More specifically,
First, the definition of antisemitism as verbalised by each individual;
Second, questions to elicit their feelings, verbalised by them; for/against, and attitudes towards each of the following
Arabs; Muslims; groups of Palestinians ;those living in Gaza and in the so-called West Bank; the P.A, and Hamas and their respective political leaders;
Jews; the Jewish people; Israeli Arabs; Israelis; Israel, and its political leaders,
Third, the side and the specific issues with respect to which the respondents line up for or against i.e. The Palestinian--Arabs living in one of three locations; 2.Israel; 3. Territory under the Palestinian Authority; Gaza under Hamas.
Fourth, how often has the respondent thought about the conflict?
This is the first time
Fifth, how often does the respondent discuss the Palestinian-Arab--Israeli conflict with others?
Finally, name(s) the specific sources of information that the respondent thinks are trustworthy on which s/he regularly relies to inform her/himself about the conflict and events related to the conflict.
Third problem: The survey describes the respondents by their age; level of education; religious belief; the political party which they support; the region which they inhabit.
Noteworthy among these variables is the fact that 45 % of the respondents have a level of education less than College, CEGEP or other non-university certificate or diploma and when the number of respondents in these categories are added, 66% of the sample has less than a university degree, hardly a level of education commensurate with the complexity of the questions with respect to which their opinions are sought.
The query stumbles on the question of their cultural identity which ought to be considered a relevant variable. More specifically, the respondents are asked: “Other than Canadian, to which ethnic or cultural groups do you, consider yourself to belong to?”
Besides, the Jewish option and the category which comprises a variety of Canadian indigenous cultures, the question provides the respondent a series of choices each comprising a geographical region comprising a mishmash of countries, as for example “Southern European (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish ,Greek, Yugoslav etc.)”.
To begin with, Yugoslavia the country has long ceased to exist and there is no distinct national or ethnic or cultural group whose members are called Yugoslav or refer to themselves as Yugoslavs. Yugoslavia’s demise produced a number of independent republics. To the extent the population of any or more of these republics are Slavic, the response “Slavic” means nothing because Slavs comprise a number of groups with different cultures. On the other hand, as is well known, Spain, comprises at least 3 quite distinct cultural groups. In assessing the responses, religion might play a greater part in forming one’s views that geography given the identity of the parties in conflict.
Since cultural identity is a matter of personal self-identity, it would have been most appropriate to simply let the respondents state their own identity or identities.
Fourth problem: The survey fails to assess the respondents’ own visceral antisemitism by asking such questions as stated below, before proceeding with the related questions of the survey.
Would you agree with the following practices or perceptions in Canada:
Implementing quotas on the number of Jewish students in professional academic programs?
Restricting Israeli speakers on campuses if they have previously served in the Israel Defence Force?
Accrediting student groups on campus that promote tourism, exchanges, business relations with Israel?
Celebrating Jewish holidays in the workplace or giving people time off at work to attend to religious services?
Defining access to services by ethnic, religious or cultural identity?
Reducing ownership of media by Jews and other ethnic minorities.
What would you say in principle,about, the following allegations made by an ordinary Israeli citizen against Canada without any or proper knowledge or evidence to substantiate them?
More specifically,, as things stand at present, would you consider an ordinary citizen of Israel to be in principle anti- Canada and anti-Canadian, if s/he accuses, without the proper evidence, the Canadian Government and/or her officials of
committing human rights abuses against some Canadian minorities;
unlawfully pushing some of their minorities off their lands;
letting provincial governments allow their universities to let students establish campus groups which criticise other countries which members of those groups do so, in part, by students who disagree with their group’s ideas and actions; i. preventing these students to organise their own political meetings or failing that, attempt to derail the meetings verbally or violently by interrupting the invited guests; ii. making these students feel unsafe on campus and in their dormitories, and
enacting restrictive movement and residency laws for one or more of its minority groups similar to what was South African apartheid law.
2. Demands that Israel and other countries, businesses, trusts and universities boycott Canada; divest of their investments in Canada and impose sanctions?
Part VI- The survey’s and authors’ objectives for the related parts of the survey and Part 3 of the report
The paramount objective of the project is a defensive one. More specifically, the sponsors seek to
First, establish a shield to defend themselves against the proponents of the IHRA definition who, the writers allege, frequently resort to the illustrations of the definition “in order to attack [unfairly?] those who engage in specific forms of criticism and protest of Israel, including the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement, Israeli Apartheid Week, and anti-Zionism’”, and
Second, “Given the ongoing confusion and heated disagreement as to what does or does not constitute antisemitism, particularly in regard to debates over Israel” and that “… to date there has been no data clarifying specifically where Canadians draw the line, and what kind of criticism they deem to be antisemitic, to ascertain the [forms] which Canadians believe to be legitimate criticism of Israel.
PART VII- Playing word games: the phrase “not necessarily antisemitic” and the term “in principle”
The phrase “not necessarily antisemitic”
According to the authors, the 2017 EKOS report (supra.) reported that 91% of Canadians found that “criticising Israeli government policies is “not necessarily antisemitic”. What does this answer mean?
I submit that with this answer the respondents are in effect saying: Ex-facie it is or sounds antisemitic, but it is not necessarily antisemitic; it depends on the facts, circumstances, and the specific context in which the statement was made.
In order, for a respondent, to give an informed opinion instead of a tentative one, s/he needs to know the material facts/evidence on the subject of the question. The same reasoning may well be shared by some or all of the respondents who answer “I don’t know”.
In the alternative, the respondents are asked: “Is it necessarily antisemitic to criticise Israeli government policy?” and they are provided with the pre-set optional answers: Yes, No, Not necessarily, I don’t know.
It might be assumed that the respondent who
instinctively or outright answers “no”,” in the absence of alternative explanations, is more likely than not, an antisemite anxious to hang the noose around Israel’s neck;
instinctively responds “yes”, is ,more likely than not, an earnest supporter of the State Israel, and
answers “’Not necessarily’” or “I don’t know” because I cannot tell one way or the other without being provided with all the relevant facts with respect to the policy in issue, the nature and purpose of the criticism is a fair- minded objective person.
The answers “not necessarily” and “I don’t know” do not and cannot possibly lead to an informed opinion, but indicate the individual might want more information before forming an opinion. I would agree with the authors to the extent that both formulations of the questions without more information, lead nowhere but to a dead end.
Consequently, in the absence the respondent having or being provided the requisite factual information, at best, the answers, will provide a smattering of insight about the way the respondent’s mind works, if that.
The term “In principle”
The authors claim to have found the right form by introducing the term “in principle”, by formulating each of nine questions. By way of illustration, taking one of the nine statements, the question reads:
“Some people argue that the following are (antisemitic / legitimate criticisms). Other people argue that they are (legitimate criticisms / antisemitic). Do you believe that the following statement is, in principle, antisemitic? (Italics mine)
*Claiming that Israel is unlawfully pushing Palestinian-Arabs off their land”.
The pre-set answers from which the respondents must choose are: Yes, No, I don’t know.
Definitional problems: The absence of any indication that each of the respondents has an accurate understanding of the term “in principle” and all the respondents share the same understanding.
This formulation of the question is highly problematic and can hardly assist the sponsors to draw the line they have in mind.
In connection with the term, the first set of questions that naturally comes to mind is whether
each respondent is familiar with the term;
can and does provide a proper definition of the term;
has an accurate understanding of the implications of answering the questions in the affirmative, and
all the respondents have the same understanding of the substance of the term and have a common accurate understanding of the implications of answering the question in the affirmative or in the negative.
As matters stand, it is not possible to determine, whether
every respondent knew the meaning of the term “in principle”
all the respondents shared the same meaning of the term and therefore,
the percentages generated by the replies are sound.
Needless to say, the sponsors could have readily solved the definition problems the foregoing matters by providing each respondent with a written text setting out the foregoing information, providing time to read it and then proceeding to ask the nine questions.
For sake of argument only, I will assume that the respondents
know or are familiar with the fact that the term is considered to be synonymous with one or a few of the following, or close to, terms: on balance; generally; in essence; by and large; on the whole; all in all; in the main; all things considered; in theory; theoretically, and “on paper’’, and
more specifically, understand the meaning in this context i. the term means “do we have an agreement in principle that each of the following questions are or are not antisemitic; and ii. an agreement in principle is “an agreement about a general idea that has not yet considered the details which in fact may or may not happen”.
A tall order indeed.
Second problem: The artificial limitation of the pre-set answers
It is unclear as to why the sponsors refused to insert in the set, the meaningful option: “Not necessarily”.
Third problem: The lack of supplementary questions that would focus the respondents on the boundaries of their opinions.
For example, why would the survey deny the respondents
the opportunity to answer the question: What if the person or organisation that makes this statement also made the following 10 statements?
Would you change your reply if the facts were shown to be contrary to what you thought they were when you answered the question the way you did?
People just do not go about making one or more of the foregoing 5 statements for sake of making them, without more. Surely, each of these 5 statements is made in a particular context to a particular end.
Devoid of such information, the questions do not draw the line the sponsors are seeking. Instead they make nonsense of it.
Indeed, if sponsors believe that the proper response may be obtained by formulating simplistic questions without a context, they are merely treating the respondents as the proverbial mushrooms.
The answers to simplistic trick questions both in form and substance that insult the intelligence of or seek to trick Canadians, as is the case here, will not get the sponsors anywhere. And the use of the term “in principle” in the question provides ample evidence that the survey is a con job.
In the final analysis, in this survey, with the term “in principle” correctly defined and understood, the answers that the statement in question is not antisemitic but “legitimate criticism”, simply means: “ while we agree about this being the case for the time being, we now have to research and consider the details/facts pertinent to the allegations made in each statement to determine whether or not our initial conclusion that each and every one of the statements amount to legitimate criticism”.
Consequently, in the absence of such follow up work, the survey results are worthless.
To put it differently, these questions are in effect asking the respondents “to shoot first and ask questions later”. And this makes, the sponsors’ treatment of the Israeli government is not merely antisemitic, it is its homicidal version of it.
PART VIII- Review of the five statements said not to be, “in principle” antisemitic
According to the report, the majority of the respondents do not consider the following behaviour to be antisemitic, in principle, namely
1. Questions concerning Israel’s alleged breach/abuse of the human rights of Palestinian-Arabs
The first question reads:
Some people argue that the following [statement] is antisemitic. Other people argue that they are legitimate criticisms. Do you believe that the following statement is, in principle, antisemitic?
Accusing Israel of committing human rights abuses against the Palestinians. Yes/ No/ Don’t Know
The authors summarise the opinions of the respondents as standing for the proposition that save for only a small minority, Canadians believe that accusing Israel of committing these human rights abuses is not antisemitic.
The second question concerns the call for a boycott of Israel because of the alleged abuses of the human rights.
Again, the authors summarise the opinions of the respondents as standing for the proposition that, save for only a small minority, Canadians believe that calling for a boycott of Israel because of the alleged human rights abuses is not antisemitic.
Unless the respondents understood the proper meaning of the term in principle, for which there is no evidence, the first and critically serious problem with these opinions is that they are governed by the mob rule. Unbelievably enough, they stand for
The mere accusation of abuse by Israel without any reference to substantiation is not antisemitic, and
The punishment of Israel through a boycott premised on the foregoing proposition is not antisemitic.
Coming from Canadians who have been taught to believe and adopt the Rule of Law which states that a person is innocent until proven guilty, the question in itself is abusive.
In the circumstances, these questions are opinions that show ignorance of the law, and a bad streak of antisemitism. Hence the critical importance of the threshold questions identified above.
2. Questions concerning Israel’s alleged breach/abuse of the human rights of Palestinian Arabs
The problems with the second of the two preceding questions do not end there.
Save for the question, the narrative of the report makes no mention of “boycotting” but uses the acronym BDS spells out the meaning attached to each letter.
Consequently, the survey question is deliberately misleading.
At all events, prior to getting to the second question, the respondents ought to have been first asked whether
they are familiar with the acronym BDS and if so, what its letters stand for;
they are familiar with the phrase the 3Ds and that they stand for Delegitimization of Israel; Demonization of Israel, Subjecting Israel to Double standards)
they know of a connection between BDS and the 3Ds(; and if so, what the connection is, and
they are aware of the fact that many of the organisations that engage in BDS do so in order to 3D Israel?
In the event, the respondents do not know the answers to these questions then surely there is no point to proceed with the second question.
In all events, the respondents ought to have been asked instead the following two questions:
As a matter of principle, in the absence of proper proof that would cause Israel and Israeli officials to be convicted in a court governed by the rule of law of abusing the human rights of Israeli Arabs, would advocating that countries and businesses, universities and foundations boycott Israel, divest themselves of all of their investments in Israel, and otherwise sanction the country, be antisemitic?
As a matter principle,- in the absence of proper proof that would cause Israel and Israeli officials to be convicted of abusing the human rights of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians-would you consider that advocating that Israel be delegitimised, demonised and subjected to double standards compared to other countries to be antisemitic?
On these subjects readers might be interested to read the following two articles, among other informative pieces pertinent to the subject, Ingel, Ari and Oschin Karys.S, BDS Anti-normalization Bent on Silencing Arabs, Creative Community for Peace, September 29,2020;Sharansky,Natan, Why BDS Fails My 3D Test on Anti-Semitism, Newsweek, September 25,2019.
On February 22, 2016, the House of Commons whose members are presumably in touch with the opinions of their constituents and represent them, passed by a 229-51 vote, a resolution calling on the Canadian government to “condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.” Why would the House of Commons pass such a motion, unless the movement is in principle antisemitic.
In addition, the motion noted Canada and Israel’s “long history of friendship as well as economic and diplomatic relations.” The motion says the BDS movement “promotes the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel.” see also: TOI Staff, Trudeau blasts the BDS movement as anti-Semitic, Times of Israel, January 17, 2019.
The question concerning Israel’s alleged breach of Palestinian Arab land rights
The question on this subject is whether “claiming that Israel is unlawfully pushing Palestinians off their land is antisemitic.” Not surprising the survey question deliberately neglected to clearly phrase the question by specifically identifying the lands in question.
In the event, the lands at issue are those over which the Government of Israel intended to extend its sovereignty, this matter has already been addressed under the heading of Topic 1 in my first paper dealing with Parts 1 and 2 of the Report.
The authors conclude, that save for a small minority, Canadians believe that claiming that Israel is unlawfully pushing Palestinian Arabs off their land is not antisemitic.
Again, before asking this question, the survey fails to ask two sets questions, namely; whether the respondents know anything about
the lands of Israel and
if so, what do they know?
the lands of Palestinian Arabs;
if so, what do they know?
Clearly if they do not know the answers to the questions, there is no point going further.
At all events, the question ought to have been phrased as follows:
In the absence of factual and legal proof that Israel is unlawfully pushing Palestinian Arabs off their land, is the statement that Israel is doing so, antisemitic?
The question concerning the establishment of campus groups which criticise Israeli government policy
The threshold questions to this matter are whether
the respondent is personally familiar with what is happening at universities concerning campus groups which criticise Israeli government policy; and
if so, to describe his or her knowledge of the matter or experience.
Again in the event, the respondent is not personally familiar with the matter that would be the end of the respondent's contribution.
Logically, the question should have been split into two parts; namely,
1. Is the establishment of a campus group which criticises Israeli government policy and in the process engages in the following activities on and off campus
the verbal intimidation and abuse or physical harassment of Jewish students, sororities and fraternities and Jewish campus organisations;
interferes with or disrupts Jewish students’ public gatherings;
breaches the rights to freedom of assembly and speech by Jewish students and the security of their persons;
threatens Jewish students’ mental health and well-being by preventing them from safely using university facilities such as libraries, dining rooms, social centres and dormitories antisemitic?
2. Having failed to heed the university’s demand and warning that this group and its members cease and desist from behaving in this manner against Jewish students, is the university’s failure to banish this group from campus antisemitic?
The question concerning the suggestion that Israel’s restrictive movement and residency laws on Palestinian Arabs are similar to South African Apartheid Laws.
The authors fail to provide the readers with any references to and accurate summary of any such law(s) and.
a. contrary to rules governing the questioning of the respondents, this is a leading question, and
b. the question fails specificity to name any such laws and provide the respondents with an accurate synoptic description of the impugned provisions of the law,
in effect within the armistice lines of 1949;
in effect within the post -1967 6-Day War lines, including the lands which Jordan illegally occupied and exploited between 1949 and 1967 and which it subsequently gave up any and all rights on or to them in the context of the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel;
in areas off limits for internal and/or external security of the country;
governing private endowment lands;
governing areas A, B and/or C respectively within the post-1967 lines delineated under the Oslo accords which reserve to Israel the exclusive occupation of Area C;
governing the Palestinian migrant workers who reside in Areas A and B and are employed by Israeli and foreign companies located within the armistice lines of 1949 and/or beyond, who are required to return to their place of residence at the end of their shifts;
governing Arabs who are neither permanent residents of Israel nor Israeli citizens but wish to live in Israel;
governing the handling of cases where the occupant of the land and/or building is in unlawful possession of real estate.
In the absence of such specificity with respect to restrictions of movements and residency laws, the question is meaningless.
This question ought to have been preceded by the following questions:
Does the respondent know whether or not Israel has residency and freedom of movement laws concerning the Palestinian Arabs, and
If so, what precisely does the respondent know on the subject?
If the respondents do not know or what they know does not disclose knowledge of the applicable laws, then surely once again, that is the end of the matter because otherwise the respondent would end up giving an ignorant answer to a theoretical question.
One last observation on terminology
The survey questions refer to Palestinians without making a preliminary distinction between the Arabs living in Israel, those living in the territory which is under the civil jurisdiction of the P.A., and those under the control of Hamas in Gaza.
In the circumstances, it is impossible to determine whethe the respondents answered the questions with respect to the all Palestinians or the same group(s) of “Palestinians”. In the premises, it is impossible to determine the validity of the responses.
This problem is further compounded by the manner in which “Palestinian” Israeli citizens identify themselves .Thus in a survey conducted in August 2017 by the Israel office of Konrad Adenauer Sifting, the Konrad Adenauer Program for Jewish-Arab Co-operation at Tel-Aviv University’s Dayan Centre and Kevon, a research, and strategy and communication company. The poll surveyed 876 citizens of Israel and 1215 east Jerusalem permanent residents. The margin of error of the poll is 2.25+/- 19/20.
In response to the question “Which term best describes you? ” 28% of the respondents replied ‘Israeli Arab” ;11% said “Israeli”;13% said “Arab citizen of Israel”; 2% said “Israeli Muslim” .Only 15% said “Palestinian”;4% said “Palestinian in Israel,3% said “Palestinian citizen in Israel” and 2% replied “Israeli Palestinian”.
Hence the concept “Palestinian” can hardly be used in an indiscriminate fashion as it has been done in this survey.
PART IX-Concluding remarks
Based on the fatal flaws in the design of the entire survey, among others, the missing key threshold questions, improperly formulated questions and in the manner in which the authors framed the, begs the question as to what the three sponsor organisations really had in mind.
Given the bias in construction of the survey such as loaded questions, unavailable data on respondents in terms of their level of knowledge or interest in the subject matter, their real ethno-specific identity, previous history in relation to the Israel-Palestinian-Arab conflict and the numerous other issues and problems identified above, it is indisputable that the purpose of the survey was a strategy to build a case against Israel by people who have an anti-Israel agenda.
Both the sponsors and the authors, appear to be infected by a non-lethal antisemitic virus, or to use a popular term nowadays, they may be the victims of a self-inflicted systemic breed of antisemitism. And what that makes of the Jewish members of the IJV crowd, one might well ponder.
By the definition of the IHRA and adopted by the Government of Canada, and just as importantly, based on common sense it is very hard to think that a group that advocates BDS and thereby gives comfort to, aids and abets the antisemitic and anti-Israeli organisations that are the enemies of Israel and use the BDS program to pursue their 3D objectives is not antisemitic
Likewise, folks that partake in Israel Apartheid Week, despite the facts on the ground; namely that Israel is a country where all citizens enjoy the same civil and human rights; live under the rule of law; are afforded the same educational opportunities and so on and on and on, cannot be other an antisemitic.
As to those who are anti-Zionists we share the precept of the Anti-Defamation League which has stated, “ Anti-Zionism is a prejudice against the Jewish movement for self-determination and the right of the Jewish people to a homeland in the State of Israel. It may be motivated by or result in anti-Semitism, or it may create a climate in which anti-Semitism becomes more acceptable.
Anti-Zionism can include threats to destroy the State of Israel (or otherwise eliminate its Jewish character), unfounded and inaccurate characterizations of Israel’s power in the world, and language or actions that hold Israel to a different standard than other countries.”
Again besides seeking to justify their behaviour and utterances against Israel, a key objective of this part of the report, as is the case with the previous two parts, is to urge the government of Canada to read and pay heed to the answers of the respondents and to re-align its foreign policy concerning the Palestinian-Arab--Israeli conflict in accord with the opinions of the majority of the respondents.
It is the author’s hope that the Government of Canada will ignore the contents and the conclusions of the fundamentally flawed beyond repair, subjectively biased reports, “so long as the sun shines and the rivers flow”, as a Treaty Commissioner put it at the conclusion of the negotiation of a Treaty with aboriginal peoples, to assure them of the Crown’s intention to honour and abide fully by the terms of the Treat they had just signed.
The foreign policy of the Trudeau government concerning the Palestinian-Arab--Israeli conflict should not be informed by the disingenuous work of these organisations in the case at hand. For an understanding of the current government’s policies and actions, the following material is offered: (1) Canada: The Liberal Party speaks with a forked tongue on BDS and does nothing, June 10, 2018;(2)More on Canada’s policies regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict, June 16,2018;(3)The saga of the toxic school books financed by Canada: Canada’s Middle-East policy is God’s vengeance on logic, August 11,2018;The recent $50 million aid grant to Palestinians: Canadian Middle-East policy is God’s vengeance on logic, August 12,2018, at https://www.israpundit.org ; Prime Minister Trudeau: Is Canada a fake ally and fair-weather friend of Israel? Parts I--IV, May 19 to 25/2018. blogs.TimesofIsrael.com/author/Dogan-Akman
Suggestions to the Sponsors
It might assist in their endeavours, that the researchers and authors of the project familiarise themselves with the contents of a number of surveys conducted in Israel independently or jointly by Arab and Israeli organisations as well as well as by a number of other organisations.
One such survey project was undertaken by the Evens Program for Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Tel-Aviv University and the Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research of the Israel Democracy Institute (“IDI”) was conducted on April 18-19, 2017 with a national sample of 600 respondents who constituted a representative national sample of the adult population aged 18 and over. The results were released the same year on the eve of the commencement of Israel’s Independence Day on May 1. The maximum measurement error for the entire sample is ±4.1% at a confidence level of 95%.
The title of the survey asked Israelis the question “How is it going?” Regrettably, being unable to locate an English version of the report, I will quote the summary of the findings released by the IDI reported by JTA under the heading “Arab Israelis are more positive than Jews about Israel, survey finds”.
“Some 66 percent of Arab Israelis said their country’s situation was “good” or “very good,” according to a survey released Sunday by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University. Only 43.9 percent of Israeli Jews agreed with that statement.
Arabs were also more likely than Jews to assess positively Israel’s performance in different fields and on various issues. In the fields of medicine and health, economic stability, education and science, and on the issues of the state’s attentiveness to the needs of its citizens and reduction of social gaps, a larger percentage of Arab Israelis assessed the country’s achievements as “very” or “moderately good.”
For example, 93 percent of Arabs and 67 percent of Jews had a positive view of Israel’s achievements in medicine and health, and 46 percent of Arabs and 19 percent of Jews had a positive view of their country’s achievements in reducing social gaps.
Only in one field — national security — did a higher portion of Jews, 83 percent, assess the state’s achievements in a more positive light than Arabs, at 74 percent.
However, the Arabs were less likely to show national pride than their Jewish counterparts, with 51.1 percent and 86.1 percent, respectively, saying they are proud of their Israeli identity. A majority of both groups — 61 percent of Arabs and 73 percent Jews — are optimistic about Israel’s future.” www.jweekly.com › 2017/05/02 › Arab-Israelis-are-more..
First question to the sponsors of the survey and reports:
Some people and organisations characterise Israel as “an apartheid state that engages in the violation and abuse of the rights of Israeli Arabs.
In the light of the foregoing statistics, in your opinion, is this characterisation justified?
Possible answers: 1.Yes. 2. No 3.I don’t know. 4. Not necessarily 5. I rather not answer 6.Respondent dropped due to his/her failure to answer correctly the pre-requisite knowledge questions.
A second survey on the matters pertinent to the survey under review was that conducted by the Israel office of Konrad Adenauer Sifting et al, to which I referred above and quoted one of the findings.
The survey further generated the following data:
62% of Israeli Arabs have a strong sense of belonging to Israel;
more than twice as many Israeli Arabs identify as some form of Israeli rather than Palestinian;
nearly three quarters of the Israeli Arabs be proud to have a relative in the Government;
60% of the Israeli Arabs who live in Israel view it favourably;
63% of Israeli Arabs say Israel it is a positive place to live;
61% of Israeli Arabs optimistic about the future of Israel;
66% Israeli Arabs see Israel’s situation as good as even Israeli Jews do (44%);
51% of Israeli are proud to be Israelis;
95% of Israeli Arabs have good working relations with their Jewish co-workers.
To which I should add that under Israel’s labour laws both Israeli Arab workers or those who come to work in Israel from the P.A jurisdiction have the same rights, benefits and access to remedial action as do the Israeli Jewish workers.
Second question to the sponsors of the survey and reports:
Some people and organisations characterise Israel as “an apartheid state that engages in the violation and abuse of the rights of Israeli Arabs. In the light of the foregoing statistics, in your opinion, is this characterisation justified? Possible answers: 1.Yes. 2. No 3. I don't know. 4. Not necessarily 5. I rather not answer 6.Respondent dropped due to his/her failure to answer correctly the pre-requisite knowledge questions.
Third question to the sponsors of the survey and reports:
In the light of the following facts, in your opinion, is the characterisation of Israel as “an apartheid state that engages in the violation and abuse of the rights of Israeli Arabs justified?.
Israeli Arabs volunteer to and enlist in the Israeli Army where they are not required to serve?
Israeli Arab citizens have and exercise the full rights of citizenship;
Arab Israeli citizens and organisations enjoy, the same rights as any other citizen to resort to the courts of the land to seek justice with respect to land ownership, land transactions, the protection of personal and real property; matters concerning human rights and, if the proper legal grounds are established, to obtain it as the Superior and Supreme Courts of Israel protect their legal rights and render them justice, as they see fit. As a matter of fact Israeli Arabs like the Supreme Court of Israel better than Jewish Israelis
The Israeli Arabs elected 15 members to the 120 seat Knesset (“MKs”)
Possible answers: 1.Yes. 2. No 3.I don’t know. 4. Not necessarily 5. I rather not answer 6.Respondent dropped due to his/her failure to answer correctly the pre-requisite knowledge questions.
“On March 13 of 2019, Sarah Zaobi, an Israeli Arab, resident of Ramallah took issue with the statement of an Israeli actress and TV host Rotem Sela who in an Instagram wrote: “When the hell will anyone in this government tell the public that Israel is a state for all its citizens and that all human beings are being born equal including Arabs?”
Zaobi’s rebuke of Sela is posted with MIDA which is self-described as “…a news and intellectual daily magazine, which aims to present the public with information and opinions not common in the Israeli media.” It reads:
“I believe in the right of the Jewish people to have their own state, to have a Jewish nation-state, with full equal rights to all its citizens living in Israel, including its Arab citizens”, says Sarah Zoabi, an activist for Israeli advocacy, after the media storm that occurred at the beginning of the week caused by Rotem Sela.
“….The post drew reactions from across the political system, including Prime Minister Netanyahu who responded to Sela and wrote: “Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people – and only [of the Jewish people]. As you wrote, there is no problem with the Arab citizens of Israel – they have equal rights as all of us and the Likud government invested more in the Arab sector than any other government.
In a conversation with “Mida”, Sarah Zoabi also criticized Rotem Sela’s words. “With all due respect to Rotem Sela, I think she lives in a Tel Aviv bubble without being aware of what is happening [outside of it] and maybe she understands the world of celebrity, but she certainly does not understand politics.” According to Zoabi: “I was privileged to be a citizen of a country that respects my honor, which gives me freedom of expression and of religion.” “Who is Rotem Sela talking about sitting in the government? About Ayman Odeh, who went to Barghouti the murderer and told him that in the future they would travel together in Jerusalem? Or about Ahmed Tibi that praises shaheeds (martyrs) and murderers of Jews?” Zoabi wondered and added: “many Arabs think like me, but not many have the courage to tell the truth. This is a difficult truth to say in our society. We have to stop whining and complaining. I want Arabs who are proud of their Israeliness and of their government.”
According to Zoabi, apart from the incitement against Jews that she claims is promoted by the existing Arab political parties, these parties did not act to solve the problems of the Arab sector but rather preferred to “deal with other matters” while the Likud government actually invested money in the Arab sector.
The current government invested a lot in the Arab sector, in terms of budgets and security provided to all of us by the most moral army in the world. It is true that there is no perfect world and there is much to improve, but the government does not neglect us. In any case, my love for the people of Israel and for the state is unconditional”, she explained.
Zoabi mentioned that she hoped that one day an Arab party would be established and would follow a similar line. “We live in a paradise and we need to wake up. Let them see what happens to the Arabs in the Arab countries under dictatorships – those who do not like it, can move to one of the 22 Arab countries. You have to taste bitter to appreciate sweetness.”https://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/sara-zoabi-rotem-sela-lives-in-a-bubble-i-am-a-proud-arab-and-israeli/2019/03/13/
Fourth question to the sponsors of the survey and reports:
Some people characterise Israel as “an apartheid state that engages in the violation and abuse of the rights of Israeli Arabs.
In the light of the foregoing statement by an Israeli Arab, in your opinion is this characterisation justified?
Possible answers: 1.Yes. 2. No 3.I don’t know. 4. Not necessarily 5. I rather not answer 6.Respondent dropped due to his/her failure to answer correctly the pre-requisite knowledge questions.
Question 5: In principle, in the light of the materials presented for the previous four questions, would it be fair to think that the the manner in which sponsors and authors
accused Israel in the way they did, and
made statements that are antisemitic are, more likely than not, antisemites?
If the sponsors and authors were required to answer these question in front of the respondents, I very much doubt that they could have, first, frame their questions the way they did; second, receive the same opinions from the respondents, and finally, interpret the data as they did in all three parts of the project report.
Israel is located in a militarily and politically unstable region and its government is subjected to all kinds of political pressures and game plays from both within and without the country. She must deal on a timely basis, with rockets and fire balloons originating from Gaza; the hostile moves of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria and stay at least one step ahead of Iran, not to mention having to deal with E.U-P.A funded terrorism.
In the result, the regional and national flavour of the day may change overnight or cumulate and change over a longer period of time as a result of the nature, source(s), configuration of problematic events and the identities of the participants who triggered one or more of such events.
Admittedly such matters may and often do affect the thinking, emotions and views of the world of Israeli Arabs in a number of possible ways and may well influence their answers to survey questions over time. Accordingly, it is reasonable to expect that from time to time, the survey results may be or are less positive.
I can honestly state that I am not aware of any properly framed and analysed surveys that would substantiate the sponsors’ case. On the other hand, besides the foregoing two surveys there are a number of other studies that would sink the positions of the investigators and writers practically out of sight. Among these there is one in particular conducted by an Arab enterprise, located outside of Israel that compared how Israeli Arabs and those in selected Arab countries in the area fared. The survey results established that the Israeli Arabs were faring in some areas as good as their brethren in the selected countries and better than their brethren in other areas.
I wish to express my appreciation to and thank Andria Spindel, Executive Director of CAEF, for her most valuable assistance in the writing of both this and the previous piece. Merci beaucoup.
*Doğan D. Akman is an independent researcher and commentator. He holds a B.Sc. in sociology, an M.A. in sociology/criminology and an LL.B in law. He held academic appointments in sociology, criminology and social policy; served as a Judge of the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, and occupied the positions of Crown Counsel in criminal prosecutions and in civil litigation at the Federal Department of Justice. His academic work is published in peer-reviewed professional journals, while his opinion pieces and other writings are to be found in various publications and in blogs.