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*
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:
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”.
Two members of IJV 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.
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:
The announcement of the Israeli government’s intention to “incorporate” Palestinian territory into her own.
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.
The role and position of Canada with respect to the alleged human rights violations/abuses committed by Canada’s allies and by Israel.
(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.
The status of Jerusalem.
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,