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Charge: Poll Denying Majority Opposition to PA State is Flawed

Land of Israel activists charge: Distorted poll data misleads even OU into underestimating extent of Jewish opposition to PA state.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 5/31/2009, 6:40 PM

Israel News photo: (Flash 90)

Land of Israel activists charge that distorted poll data has misled the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (the OU) into underestimating the extent of Jewish opposition to a PA state.

The OU’s Nathan J. Diament wrote last week on the need for – and the opportunity to – unite much of American Jewry on a common stance regarding Israel and the peace process. In an op-ed piece for the June 5 issue of the Jewish Daily Forward, the OU’s director of public policy writes, “Many on the Jewish right… do not oppose - in principle - the creation of a Palestinian state in portions of Judea and Samaria."
Asked straight out if they support or oppose a Palestinian state, 51% said they oppose.

However, the Cities of Israel grassroots movement states that this conclusion is likely based on an apparently flawed public survey – the results of which were blatantly different than another poll.

A Ynet story on a recent Rafi Smith Institute poll was headlined, “58% of the Jewish Public in Israel Supports 2-State Solution.” The story itself explained more precisely that 58% actually only “agreed that the principle of ‘two states for two peoples’ is the basis of any peace agreement with the Palestinians.”

Susie Dym, spokesperson for Cities of Israel, explains that the poll does not accurately reflect support or opposition for a Palestinian state: “Asking whether one agrees that this idea is the ‘basis for an agreement’ is asking only whether the respondent is aware that currently, the two-state idea is practically the only peace plan currently being entertained. It is not at all the same as asking whether one actually supports the ‘two-state’ notion.”

In fact, Dym states, a poll commissioned by her organization asked exactly that - and the results were quite different.

Just days before the recent national election, in which the Likud-led nationalist bloc won a significant victory, a Brain Base Institute telephone survey asked this question: “In light of the experience with Disengagement, the Second Lebanon War and the war against Hamas in Gaza, do you support or oppose the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria?”

51% Oppose Palestinian State, 32% Support
Some 32% said they “greatly oppose,” and another 19% said they “oppose,” for a total of 51%. Only 12% said they “greatly support” such a state, and another 20% said they “support,” for a total of less than a third in favor of a Palestinian state.

It should be noted that the Smith poll showing 58% Jewish support for a PA state asked only some 500 people, while the latter poll surveyed nearly four times that many - 1,894 Israelis.

Dym found another fault with the Smith poll question as well: “It implicitly implied that a ‘peace agreement with the Palestinians' is both desirable and feasible, thus possibly swaying the respondent’s response.”