The Independent Jewish Voices, Canada (IJV), Israel and the Palestinians


This 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*


Introduction

This paper assesses the relative merits and overall worth of

First, the telephone survey of a sample of 1009 persons (“respondents”) sponsored by the Independent Jewish Voices, Canada (IJV) together with two other organisations i.e. 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.

The authors state that while the margin of error associated with the sample is plus or minus three (3) percentage points 19 times out of 20 and that the margin increases when the results are divided.

Second, the two- part report that analyses and interprets the survey data was published on June 17 and September 16, 2020 respectively and comprises a large number of tables that summarise the survey data.

The first part of the report is titled: Out of Touch: Canada’s Foreign Policy Disconnected from Canadians, https://unjppi.org/uploads/3/4/3/8/34381416/survey-2020_israel-palestine_-_2020-06-16-final.pdf.

The title of the second part is: No Double Standards: Canadians Expect Greater Impartiality vis-a-vis Israel. https://www.ijvcanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Survey-2020-Release-two-%E2%80%93-Final-1.pdf

In addition to the personnel of EKOS, the project was handled by six investigators and authors, all members of the sponsors with respect to whom the report, in addition to their names, provides the following information:

  1. Three executives of the CJPME the first of whom has a Ph.D. in an unspecified field; the second has an MPA (Master’s degree in Public Administration) and one is referred to as “Senior Analyst”.

  2. Two members of IJV have a Ph.D. and a Master’s Degree (M.A.) respectively in unspecified disciplines.

  3. One member of UNJPPI whose academic credentials are not provided.

Topics addressed by the survey and analysed in the report

This paper focuses on the following six (6) topics concerning Israel and Palestinians addressed in the report:

  1. The announcement of the Israeli government’s intention to “incorporate” Palestinian territory into her own.

  2. The legal power and authority of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate alleged crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression committed anywhere in the world and by Israeli officials.

  3. The role and position of Canada with respect to the alleged human rights violations/abuses committed by Canada’s allies and by Israel.

  4. (in the context of the nature and scope of Canada’s alignment with the international community) The adequacy of the degree of support Canada provides for Palestinian Human Rights.

  5. The status of Jerusalem.

  6. Canada’s failure to treat Israel impartially.

Considering the title of the survey, the curious thing about both the survey and the report is that among the survey questions that relate to these topics only one refers to the Palestinian territory (Topic1), one refers to Palestinian human rights in the context of Canada’s support of these rights (Topic 4) and one refers to Palestinians (Topic 5).

In a conflict such as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict “the conflict”) between two parties, as the expression goes” it takes two to tango”. In the premises, the failure to ask the respondents questions about the behaviour of Palestinians that include the Palestinian terrorists and the Palestinian Authority (“P.A”) is simply bizarre.

Instead, the authors chose to take the lazy short cut to use the answers to impugn by implication Israel’s conduct vis a vis the Palestinians and to criticise Canada’s failure to treat Israel “impartially”.

About EKOS Research Associates


The authors describe EKOS as an “experienced public opinion firm” and “one of the leading suppliers of evaluation and public opinion research for the government of Canada”. Further, they “acknowledge and gratefully appreciate Earl A Washburn, Senior Analyst at EKOS for his skill, support and patient guidance in designing and analyzing [the] survey.”

Based on my analysis of the survey questions and of the report, I have serious doubts, not to say more, that the sponsors bought into Mr. Washburn’s patient guidance.


The topics of the report concerning Israel and the related survey questions

First topic: The intention of the Israeli government to formally incorporate into her present territory, portions of what the authors assert to be Palestinian territory. (Part 1 of the report).

The survey question reads: “The government of Israel has announced its intention to formally incorporate portions of Palestinian territory into the state of Israel in July 2020. For years, the Government of Canada has advocated for a peaceful solution between Israel and the Palestinians, where each people have its own country and lives in peace and security with its neighbour. Of the following options, how do you believe the Government of Canada should react to Israel's plan? ● Support Israel’s plan ● Do nothing ● Express opposition to Israel’s plan, but take no other action ● Impose economic and/or diplomatic sanctions on Israel ● Don’t know/No response.


N.B. 1.The preamble to this question was set up as a split sample, randomising the order of the two sentences in the preamble: ●Half the respondents answered the question with the preamble: The government of Israel has announced its intention to formally incorporate portions of Palestinian territory into the state of Israel in July, 2020. For years, the Government of Canada has advocated for a peaceful solution between Israel and the Palestinians, where each people have its own country and lives in peace and security with its neighbour. ●The other half of the respondents had the preamble: “For years, the Government of Canada has advocated for a peaceful solution between Israel and the Palestinians, where each people have its own country and lives in peace and security with its neighbour. The government of Israel has announced its intention to formally incorporate portions of Palestinian territory into the state of Israel in July 2020.

N.B. 2. According to the authors, the survey used this technique throughout in order, as the authors’ phrased to minimise the possibility of influencing the respondents into answering the question in way that does not really represent their true thoughts on the matters addressed by the questions.

I question the validity of the authors’ explanation but I do not propose to address it in this paper.

Second topic: The jurisdiction, power and authority of the International Criminal Court (ICC). (Part 2 of the report)


The authors state: “With two of the survey questions, [the sponsors] wanted to explore Canadians’ views on the ICC, especially as it relates to the Court’s potential investigation of Israeli officials. Notably, the authors state that the sponsors sought to answer what they characterised to be “two high-level” questions”; namely,


1. Do Canadians want the ICC to be entirely impartial in its application of international law around the world, even if that means that Israeli officials could be prosecuted by the Court?

2.1 Do Canadians want the Canadian government to respect [ICC] even if it means that the perceived interests of the government could be threatened?

2.2. And, should this respect for the independence of the Court be maintained, even if the Court decided to investigate Israeli officials?

The two survey questions on the subject read:


  1. “The International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague investigates individuals accused of serious crimes, namely genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Do you think that the International Criminal Court should investigate alleged war crimes, a. wherever they may occur? b. committed by Israeli officials? AND

  2. “[When a country is accused of / Given that Israel has recently been accused of serious human rights abuses, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague is asked to carry out an investigation, do you think the government of Canada should consider stepping in if it is opposed to the investigation?”

N.B.1.The two scenarios in Question 1 were asked as a split sample, so that with respect to the first question half of respondents were asked the question that addressed (a) while the other half were asked the question that addressed;(b) while with respect to the second question, half of the respondents were asked their opinions about the possibility of Canadian intervention with an ICC investigation in the abstract, while the other half were asked about the possibility of a Canadian intervention in an ICC investigation of Israeli officials.

N.B.2 The two scenarios in Question 2 were asked as split samples where one half of respondents were asked generally about the conduct of the ICC, while the other half were asked their view about an ICC investigation focused on Israeli officials. The splits were identical for each question, so half of the respondents received back-to-back questions relating to the ICC generally, while the other half received back-to-back questions relating to the ICC and the case of Israeli officials.

Third topic: Whether or not Canada should overlook the alleged human rights violations/abuses committed by Canada’s allies / by Israel (Part 2 of the report)

The survey question reads: “How much do you agree or disagree with the following [5] statements about Canada’s relationship [with its allies/with Israel]?” Each question is related to one of five scenarios, namely; where the country is ● an ally ● a partner in the fight against terrorism; ● considered by many to have shared values in Canada; ● under threat; ●passes laws that discriminate against minority groups.

N.B. Again, the question to one half of the split sample referred to one of the five types of partners while the question to the other half of the split sample specifically named Israel. By way of illustration one set of split questions read: Split 1:Canada should overlook a country’s alleged human rights violations if it is a partner in the fight against terrorism Split 2:Canada should overlook Israel’s alleged human rights violations since it is a partner in the fight against terrorism.

Fourth topic: Canada’s support for Palestinian human rights (Part 1 of the report)

The survey question pertinent to this paper reads: “Canada is competing for a seat on the United Nations Security Council this year. According to some experts, Canada’s candidacy may be influenced, positively or negatively, by the key factors mentioned below [These are identified above under the heading “Topics addressed by the survey and analysed in the reportand specifically refer to items 3 and 4]. Using a five-point scale, how much would you agree or disagree with the following statement(s): Canada should [increase/decrease] its support for Palestinian human rights”

N.B. This question also used a split sample approach, with half the respondents being asked to what degree they agreed with an increase in Canada’s support for an issue, while the other half of the respondents were asked to what degree they agreed with a decrease in Canada’s support.

Fifth topic: The status of Jerusalem: Whether it ought to be exclusively Israel’s capital city of Israel or city shared with the Palestinians. (Part 2 of the report)

The survey question reads: “Since the 1940s, the international community - including Canada - has envisioned Jerusalem as a city to be shared between Israel and the Palestinians. Whereas the US has recently recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Canada's current policy does not.

Which of the following statements most closely matches your own opinion?

a) Canada should maintain its current policy, and continue to call for Jerusalem to be shared; OR

b) Canada should change its current policy and recognize Jerusalem as exclusively Israel's capital.

N.B. The order of the response bullets was randomized for each respondent.

At this point, it needs to be pointed out that, these are not the only choices. There are other alternatives, as is presently the case where the sacred Muslim religious sites are placed in a Waqf (Trust) exclusively administered by Jordan.

Sixth topic: Whether Canada’s foreign policy is partial to Israel?

The focus of this paper.


My analysis and assessment of the data and report focuses on critical features of the survey questions and of the replies by way of the opinions of the respondents. More specifically, the focus is on

  1. the substance of the survey questions;

  2. the absence of critically important survey questions and other questions highly relevant to the personal and professional characteristics of the respondents;

  3. the manner in which i. the survey questions are framed as illustrated by the comments that accompany the questions concerning Topics 1, 2, 3 and 4 ii. the survey data is organised; iii. the manner in which the authors present and interpret this data;

  4. the juridical problems raised by the questions ; the respondents’ opinions and of the authors’ reliance on these opinions, and

  5. the tenor of the report.

Based on this analysis, the overall objectives pursued by the sponsors and the authors in this project may be fairly described as follows:

First, certainly insofar as IJV(with whose work I am more familiar compared to that of the two other organisations involved in the project) and judging from the manner in which the other two organisations worked with IJV on all aspects of the project, clearly the overriding objective of the enterprise is to carry on with its consistent and continuous gratuitous and unfounded criticisms of and attacks on the manner in which Israel is dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict , in this instance, in the context of the six topics.

Second, to score against Canada’s alleged foreign policy concerning Israel and more specifically, to demonstrate that

a) Canada’s treatment of Israel is not impartial, and

b) Canada’s policy in this regard is disconnected from the views of the majority of Canadians who want Canada to adopt a more “impartial” policy.

Finally, as a political bonus of sorts, to criticise, by implication, the policy positions and the related actions taken and gestures made towards Israel by the leaders of the Conservative Party; presumably, starting with former Prime Minister Stephen Harper; carried on by former leader Andrew Sheer, and seemingly expected to be carried under the recently elected leader of the party Erin O’Toole, by pointing out that in this regard these are not only at odds with those of the supporters of the other federal parties represented in Parliament but also, and more importantly, at odds with those of their own supporters.

The overall assessment of the survey and of the report

Both the survey and the report are fundamentally and fatally flawed on the following grounds:

  1. The survey failed to secure critically important sets of facts concerning the respondents that would have enormously assisted in the assessment of their opinions expressed in reply to the survey questions, as well as some helpful questions concerning the respondents themselves.

  2. The survey failed to ask the respondents appropriate questions in order to assess their sincerity and whether the questions were answered in good faith.

  3. The authors’ construction and statements of law is guided by partisanship and willful ignorance of the law while the opinions of the respondents with respect to the questions that raise legal issues are worthless.

  4. The authors’ assertions that a. the manner in which Canada treats Israel as preferential and lacks impartiality, and b. Canada’s foreign policies concerning Israel and the treatment of Palestinian human rights are at odds with the opinions of the Canadians are purely speculative.

  5. The formulation of the survey questions breaches at least one fundamental rule governing the formulation of survey questions.

  6. The opinions expressed by the respondents with respect to a. questions that raise or address legal issues, and b. matters where there is no evidence that the respondents are reasonably knowledgeable about the matter

  7. The absence of First, information concerning the specific ways in which EKOS participated in the survey and minimally, the degree to which EKOS was allowed to exercise its own judgment in the formulation of the questions and answers; Second, a separate report or a section of the final report drafted by drafted by EKOS that addresses methodological matters such as the formulation of the survey questions and of the framing of the set of “prescriptive” answers provided to the respondents their assessment of the manner in which the respondents handled the interview and particular questions, it is fair to draw an adverse inference about the manner in which the sponsors carried out the project and the authors wrote the report.

  8. The ultimate problem with the survey and the report: IJV and its two confederates.

In a number of instances, the following submissions address more than one criticism of the authors’ positions, opinions and conclusions as the case may be.

Submissions concerning the design of the survey


Omissions

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. At all events, with the very first question on Topic 1, a respondent with an average intelligence would have been inclined to believe, guessed or at least suspected, that the survey was about Israel in the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Second problem: The facts of the matter are that, first, the rates of antisemitism and of the various types of antisemitic hatred have been rising rapidly in the United States ("U.S"), in a large number of European countries, and in Canada and, second, the subject keeps making headlines in the American and European mass media, on TV news, multitude of websites, in the social media that feed into Canada mostly from the United States.

The antisemitism also manifests itself under many guises.

In the circumstances, the average Canadian cannot help but witness this state of affairs and be influenced in their thinking and opinions concerning the subject of antisemitism on its own and in the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and not necessarily in this order.

On the subject of antisemitism, Canada has adopted, as did over 30 other countries, the non-binding definition of the term formulated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (“IHRA”) both on the domestic front and in foreign relations.

IJV Canada having categorically rejected the validity of the IHRA definition has been fighting tooth and nail against its adoption, among others, by provinces and municipalities. One might surmise that IJV is doing that fearing that the application of the definition to the nature of IJV’s activities related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the objectives of these activities might lead one to the conclusion that it is an antisemitic organisation.

At all events, despite the self-evident fact that the responses to such questions would have enormously assisted in the proper assessment of the respondents’ opinions both by the authors and readers of the report, the sponsors deliberately ignored the matter.

Nevertheless, the survey fails to ask the appropriate questions to elicit the following critically important facts:

First, whether or not the respondents have established negative or positive opinions about

  1. Arabs; Muslims; the groups of Palestinians identified above as Palestinians; the P.A, Hamas the political leaders of the Authority, and Hamas,

  2. Jews; the Jewish people; Israelis; Israel, and its political leaders;

Second, in the context of the “the conflict”, the side and the specific issues with respect to which the respondent’s favour

- Palestinians in the groups identified above;

- Israelís

- the P.A;

- Israel,

-Hamas,

Third, how often the respondent thinks about the conflict

-all the time;

-often enough;

-from time to time;

-rarely,

-this is the first time.

Fourth, determining the specific sources of information that the respondent thinks are trustworthy on which s/he regularly relies to inform him/herself about 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 variable is the fact that 45 % of the respondents have a level of education less than College, CEGEP or other non-university certification or diploma, and when the latter category is added, 66% of the sample has less than a university degree, hardly a level of education commensurate with the complexity of the issues by the questions with respect to which their opinions are sought.

At all events, the query stumbles on the question of their cultural identity which need be considered a relevant variable. More specifically, the respondents are asked: “Other than Canadian, to which ethnic or cultural groups do you, considers yourself to belong to?” Besides, the Jewish group, the question provides a series of choices each of which comprise a variety of Canadian distinct indigenous cultures, and list of geographical regions of the world each comprising a mishmash of countries, as for example “Southern European (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish ,Greek, Yugoslav etc.)”.Surely, each of these countries has its own distinct culture, and furthermore within each of these countries there are a number of different subcultures and histories in their dealings with their respective Jewish populations.

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-Part I: The survey provides predetermined sets of possible answers to each question from which the respondent is required to choose the one that best reflects his/her opinion on the subject matter of the question. One of these possible answers is: “Don’t know/No response“.

The answers that fit into this category are referred to as “the residuals”.

The authors do not define the meaning of “No Response”. It could mean any number of things such as those instances where a member of the sample group

  1. was not available to take the call;

  2. for some reason or another chose not to take the call, or

  3. for example, confronted with a particular question in the survey instead of saying “I don’t know” chose to make no response by remaining silent instead of admitting, for example, that s/he did not know the answer, or that the question, as framed was bothersome or objectionable and the respondent did not care to answer it.

Further,

  1. the answer “Don’t know” is as valid and meaningful as any of the pre-set answers provided to the respondent. Therefore this answer ought to have been treated the same way as the other answers;

  2. combining these two types of answers, each of which describes a different reality, makes absolutely no sense because it muddles the picture, and

  3. in order to assess the data properly, the reader is entitled to know the percentage of the respondents who answered “Don’t know” and the instances where “no response” is indicated.

Yet the authors chose to

  1. exclude the residuals in the computation of the percentages of the respondents’ answers and worse,

  2. relied on the percentages derived in this manner.

For example, on the Topic 1, concerning the extension of Israeli sovereignty to lands alleged to belong to the Palestinians, Table 6 shows that the residuals amount to a sizeable 14% of the total number of answers. Yet, in Table 7, the authors by excluding the residuals claim that 42% of the respondents chose the answer “Canada should impose economic and/or diplomatic sanctions on Israel if she proceeded with the annexation”.

However, when the residuals are included in the computations (Table 7), the percentage of the respondents who chose to give this answer is reduced to 36% and the percentage of the respondents who answered “express opposition to Israel’s plan but take no action” declined from 32% to 28%.

Consequently, while the authors argue that “an overwhelming 74% (32%+ 42% in Table 6) of Canadians indicated that ‘Canada should oppose annexation through words or action,’” had the residuals been included in the computation, the overwhelming 74% would turn out to be a not so overwhelming 64 %.( Table 7).

In the circumstances, short of going table by table and comparing the percentages, by separately keeping in the categories “Don’t Know’ and “No response”, something which is impossible to do in this project and re-computing all the percentages, the reader is left in the dark as to the true facts that should actually be generated by the data.

Again, the authors insisted in using the percentages generated by the tables where the residuals are eliminated.

This problem becomes particularly acute in the light of the facts that

  1. on questions that focus on Israelis, the percentage of answers in the residuals reach as high as 20% as illustrated in Tables 3 and 5, and

  2. while the margins of error associated with the sample is plus or minus three (3) percentage points 19 times out of 20 that margin increases when the results are divided.

Furthermore, in those instances where the respondents choose the reply “Don’t know” unaccompanied by an explanation as to why the respondent is saying that, surely the reply is not very informative and consequently not as useful as it could be.

In the premises, the respondents ought to have been given an opportunity to state his/her reasons for their apparent lack of knowledge on the matter addressed by the question as for example: lack of knowledge of the pertinent facts and/or knowledge of the law applicable to or governing the matter addressed by the question, and/or others such as dislike of and/or emotional discomfort with the subject.

Finally, in the event an answer/opinion is not based on a particular body of knowledge, the respondent ought to have been asked whether his or her answer is based on moral values or considerations such as sincere belief or simply represents an attempt to give a logical or a fair -minded answer based on what makes sense to the respondent.

Fourth problem-Part II: A situation similar to collapsing different categories of answers arises when the authors interpret the data by collapsing two distinct types of answers into one. This is illustrated in the type of table shown as Table 1. More specifically, in at least one instance where the Table presents the tabulation of the responses to the question “Canada should increase its support for Palestinian human rights”, where the authors proceeded to examine the answers, “Somewhat agree” and “Strongly agree” as one. Surely such a step is not justifiable having regard to the fact that there is a strong qualitative difference between a somewhat reluctant partial agreement, where the nature and substance of the “somewhat” is unknown, and a strong agreement.

Fifth problem: The survey failed to ask the respondents comparative contextual questions in order to enable the readers to assess the sincerity and logic of their answers.

For example, it would have been most enlightening and helpful in the interpretation of the data, to obtain the opinions of the respondents with respect to topics 2, 3 and 4 by reframing the questions and substituting “Canada” for Israel and “Canadian Officials” for the Israeli ones as those who are alleged to have a) perpetrated the crimes described in the questions concerning the ICC, and b) violated and/or abused the human rights of its citizens and of members of their minority groups.

Such questions would have been most appropriate and timely having regard to the facts that from the Prime Minister down, members of the federal cabinet; the directing minds of organisations such as the RCMP among others; a good number of social reform organisations; some major corporations such as Telus and large law firms and their members; a lot of citizens at large admit, concede and accuse Canada of being a racist society where the racism is “systemic” and that consequently the country discriminates and breaches the human rights of racial minorities such as those who are black, members of the Indigenous communities, and some “racialised” groups.

Would the respondents agree that Canada’s allies or countries of the types described in the survey dealing with Topic 3 should not overlook the publicly admitted and confessed breaches of the human and civil rights of the foregoing groups by both the federal and the provincial governments and a number of their respective creations?

More specifically, should anyone or more of the countries that are

  1. allies of Canada

  2. Canada’s partners in the fight against terrorism;

  3. have shared values with Canada,

overlook Canada’s abuse/violations of the human rights of its minority members even if Canada is under threat and/or enacted discriminatory legislation?

Better still, with respect to Topic 5 concerning the status of Jerusalem, would the respondent

a) abide by the international community; including Israel, that Canada must legally share the City of Ottawa with the Algonquin First Nation because the city including the Parliament Hill lies on lands to which the Algonquin hold an unextinguished the aboriginal title?

The pre- set of answers to the foregoing two questions would be those framed in the survey: 1.Disagree; 2.Strongly disagree; 3.Somewhat agree; 4.Strongly Agree; 5.I don’t know, and 6.No response.

Sixth problem: The authors’ formulation of one of the questions is quite sloppy and as a result of which it became a leading question.

The question is found in Topic 2 which addresses issues concerning The International Criminal Court (ICC).

It reads:

The International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague investigates individuals accused of serious crimes, namely genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Do you think that the International Criminal Court should investigate alleged war crimes?

  1. wherever they may occur?

  2. committed by Israeli officials?

The question relating to Israeli officials is a mere allegation. Since Israel has not been shown to have committed any of the kinds of crimes described in the question of human rights, and second, nor had she been duly convicted by a Court governed by the rule of law, surely there is no reason to omit the qualifier “alleged“. Such is the nature of the anti-Israel bias that flavours the survey data and animates the report.

In the meantime, it is not unreasonable to believe that the form of the question may well lead the respondents to answer this question in the belief that Israeli officials have actually committed such offences.

Seventh problem: The preceding problem brings me to the present one, namely, breach of the rules governing the proper formulation of survey questions. By way of illustration, I propose to deal with just one of them namely: the prohibition to ask leading questions to one’s own witness and in the premises to the respondents of a survey assembled by the sponsors.

A leading question is one framed in such a way as to lead, influence, require, induce, cause or force the respondent to answer the question in the manner desired and hoped for by the sponsors of the survey. In the case at hand, the respondents were asked leading questions on the topics of annexation; the ICC; the support of Palestinian human rights, and the status of Jerusalem.

More specifically, the sponsors sought to lead the respondents as follows:

In Topic 1 concerning the alleged Palestinian territory, the question refers to Canada’s position which by the way, is not relevant to the legal merits of the issue at hand, making the implicit suggestion that the annexation may well or would defeat Canada’s sensible and fair position, when the fact of the matter is that Canada’s position has been that the delineation of the final borders is a matter best determined through negotiations between the parties; although more recently based on the public comments of the newly minted Minister of Global |Affairs there seems to be a drift towards the position that pending the outcome of negotiations, Israel ought not to add any of the disputed territory to current one..

In Topic 2 concerning the ICC the leading component of the question is the preamble. The question is formulated to lead the respondents to think along the lines that, if the ICC is set up to do that, then surely the reply to the first question has got to be in the affirmative and why should Israel be treated differently?

Needless to say, the respondents were not informed that under The Rome Statute of the International Court (often referred to as the International Criminal Court Statute or the Rome Statute),

  1. the ICC does not have exclusive universal jurisdiction to handle all cases dealing with the kinds of crimes in issue;

  2. the Rome Statute affords the states in which the crimes have been allegedly committed, such as Israel, to prosecute alleged offenders on her territory, and that

  3. he ICC steps in where the states cannot comply with the reasonable provisions of the statute. Cf. Articles 17 and 18.

In Topic 4 which deals with the level of support afforded or to be afforded by Canada to Palestinian human rights, the respondents are being led with the preamble to the question which states that Canada is competing for a seat in the U.N. Security Council in the hope of generating answers like: “Hey listen, if this is what it takes for Canada to get or help to get the seat, then of course, Canada should do that”.

In Topic 5 dealing with the status of Jerusalem, the preamble to the question is the means by which the respondents are sought to be led to provide the desired answer.

In this instance the respondents are not informed that the Palestinian Authority has, and continues to demand that Jerusalem as a whole must be exclusively the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Failure to address properly factual issues: Topic 6-Canada’s treatment of Israel

The survey does not require the respondents to answer directly and separately questions designed to elucidate specifically the manner in which Canada treats Israel compared to the manner she treats the Palestinians and the P.A. (Note there is no such country as Palestine but the Arabs in Judea and Samaria are governed by the Palestinian Authority and those in Gaza are under the rule of Hamas, a listed terrorist organization.)

Instead, the authors assert à priori that

  1. Canada exhibits the frequent tendency of giving Israel a pass which according to the authors is allegedly also known as “Israeli exceptionalism”;

  2. Canada’s has “a “long-time” pattern of diplomatic actions that seek to shield Israel from accountability over its violations of human rights and international law;

  3. Canada is using double standards in dealing with Israel, and by implication, if Canada’s foreign policy is partial to Israel, it must be indifferent or, more plausibly, unjust in its treatment of the Palestinians and the P.A.

The authors then erroneously assert that the answers to the survey questions with respect to Topics 1 to 3 inclusive substantiate the foregoing propositions and conclude that Canada’s foreign policy concerning Israel is out of touch, disconnected from the views of the majority of Canadians.

The foregoing assertions are unfounded. Based on empirical evidence, the incontrovertible facts of the matter are that

  1. Canada does not treat Israel better than it treats the P.A;

  2. Quite to the contrary Canada treats the P.A better than Israel, and

  3. On the subject of alleged human rights violations /abuses, Canada treats the P.A far better than it treats Israel

Cf. Prime Minister Trudeau: Is Canada a fake ally and fair-weather friend of Israel? Parts I to IV, May 19-25/2018. blogs.TimesofIsrael.com/Dogan Akman

By way of further illustration, when did Canada last criticise, let alone both criticise and sanction the P.A., among other things, for

  1. refusing to consider and respond peace proposals;

  2. doing things that are inimical to promoting peace by i. continuously providing school students with books and materials that contain hateful treatment of Jews, Israelis and Israel, and incite the students to engage in terrorism certainly by the time they reach the age of majority; ii. naming schools and public buildings after terrorists; iii. praising Hitler’s treatment of the Jews; iv. encouraging Palestinians to become martyrs by getting killed by the Israeli police or IDF in the process of attacking, maiming or killing Israelis or destroying Israeli property; v. speaking of terrorists as martyrs in glorious term; vi. financing terrorism through the “pay for slay” program;

  3. breaching the democratic rights of the Palestinians living on lands governed by the P.A by i. being an illicit/illegitimate government, and ii. refusing to call general elections in the past 14 years;

  4. breaching their citizenship rights by i. appointing acolytes to the public service; ii. depriving the opponents of the regime of their entitlements to certain social and civil benefits; iii. depriving the inhabitants of the full benefits of the financial assistance provided by the member countries of the E.U. and others by converting large portions of this aid to their personal use and benefit.

  5. breaching their human rights by such things as failing to afford due process in criminal proceedings by making arbitrary arrests;

  6. treating the public service employees arbitrarily by cutting the wages to which they are entitled in order to insure that the benefits of the pay for slay program has sufficient funds to pay fully the ever increasing benefits to which terrorists’ or their survivors are entitled.

I venture to state that the parties that commits serious as well as the frequent breaches of the human rights of the Palestinian Arabs are not Israelis but the P.A. and Hamas.

In the premises, if Canada wishes to focus properly on and increase its assistance to protect and support the human rights of Palestinians she ought to focus on the Palestinians living under the P.A. and Hamas regimes, rather than the Israeli Arabs who live in Israel and exercise their civil and citizenship rights.

In substantiation is needed, all one has to do is to compare the annual number of Israeli Arab who wish to move to Gaza or to P.A. land with the corresponding number of residents of these territories who want to move to Israel, move legally or illegally and are anxious to remain in Israel.

Failure to address properly the legal and related issues

The respondents’ opinions in response to questions that raise legal issues are simply worthless

A group of lay persons’ opinions on legal issues may be peddled in the public arena, for electoral purposes and for specific political purposes between elections to advocate for and militate in support of various causes.

However, it is self-evident that the opinions expressed by the respondents in response to questions that raise or address legal questions are worthless. This is so, because there is no survey evidence that respondents are trained and qualified as lawyers, let alone specialised in the areas of the law relevant to the questions they were asked to answer.

In the circumstances, there is no point asking respondents’ opinions on legal matters about which they are not qualified to answer.

Consequently, both the respondents’ answers and the conclusions of the authors based on these answers are worthless on the legal merits of the matter(s) in issue.

Illustration of the foregoing submissions


First illustration: The authors’ treatment of Topic 1 concerning the intent of the Israeli government to incorporate some of the territory located in Judea and Samaria

Considering the fact that the organisations involved in this project have been fighting against Israel for quite some time, the authors’ feigned ignorance of the facts and law pertinent to this topic is inexcusable.

For ease of reference I repeat the survey question on this topic. It reads: “The government of Israel has announced its intention to formally incorporate portions of Palestinian territory into the state of Israel in July 2020. For years, the Government of Canada has advocated for a