The Zionist Conspiracy
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Why Sentiments On Settlement Are Distorted
It's easy to refute The Forward's Nathan Jeffay's false assertion that Israeli "sympathy for settlers and the settlements is currently at an all-time low" and that "a majority of Israelis — almost two-thirds — consider the settlements a liability rather than an asset." After all, as Ynet states, the poll Jeffay cites actually shows that Israelis are "spilt on the matter of settlements, with a small majority of 48% saying they weaken the Israeli interest, as opposed to 43% who said settlements actually contribute to the State's interests."
I wasn't great in math, but am certain that 48 percent is less than a majority, and is not almost two-thirds.
Most media distortions about public opinion toward towns located in Judea and Samaria are not so easy to discredit. We are routinely given assurances that "the majority of Israelis oppose settlements" without any factual backup.
On Tuesday, for example, ex-U.S. diplomat Marc Ginsberg asserted that "I can confidently report that most Israelis share President Obama's view regarding the settlements in question despite the rightward drift of Israel's electorate."
I can confidently assert that Ginsberg does not know what he is talking about.
Ginsberg's piece is full of innuendo not based on reality. For example, he is under the impression that Israelis on the far right vote Likud, that President Obama is only making demands with respect to the isolated settlements, and that it was a "fanatical settler who deemed fit to assassinate former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin." (Yigal Amir was a fanatic but not a settler - unless Herzliya is now considered a settlement.)
Ginsberg states up front that he strongly opposes settlements. His bias likely plays a role in his misstatements, but he's not a liar, just grossly misinformed. He has absolutely no business asserting anything - let alone confidently - about Israel.
So why would Ginsberg and so many others in media and in diplomacy believe that most Israelis oppose settlement? Because they overwhelmingly know and associate with only one type of Israeli - the type that lives in northern Tel Aviv and is secular and Ashkenazi - and speaks English. Their experience in Israel occurs in a cocoon in which Israelis are secular, Western and eager to become part of Europe.
Alas, due to their biases and their ignorance-based confidence, diplomats like Ginsberg report to our federal government - and media based in Israel report to their readers, listeners and viewers - that Israelis abhor settlements, and that if you want to pressure Israel, that's the place to hit very hard.