Cutting through the bullshit.

Friday, 28 December 2007

Who pays the piper

Much quicker off the mark than me, within a day of the 11 December release of the latest AJC Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion (conducted 6-25 November 2007), Glenn Greenwald was writing in Salon on ‘How Unrepresentative Neocon Jewish Groups Are’, concluding,

One of the defining traits of war-loving neoconservatives is that their unrelenting and exclusive fixation on the Middle East...often casts the appearance that they are some sort of spokespeople for the “pro-Israel” agenda or the Jewish viewpoint.

Manifestly, they are nothing of the sort. Even among American Jews, they comprise only a small minority, and their generally discredited militarism is widely rejected by most Jews as well. It is always worth underscoring these points, which are so frequently (and deliberately) obscured, and this comprehensive poll provides potent — actually quite conclusive — evidence for doing so.

The same day, Yoshie, citing Greenwald, concurred on his own Critical montages blog, as well as in a guest post on Lenin’s tomb ‘that neo-conservatives are a tiny minority at odds with a great majority of Jewish Americans they claim to represent’, observing further that ‘after all these years, Jewish Americans still largely lean to the Left’.

Eric Alterman remarks in the Nation that

it's news only if you haven't been paying attention. An examination of past AJC surveys as well as a number of other polls of American Jews demonstrates that Jews have remained remarkably faithful to the values of liberal humanism. These views, however, have been obscured in our political discourse by an unholy alliance between conservative-dominated professional Jewish organizations and neoconservative Jewish pundits, aided by pliant and frequently clueless mainstream media that empower these right-wingers to speak for a people with values diametrically opposed to theirs.

These observers are quite emphatic – ‘It is beyond dispute that American Jews overwhelmingly oppose core neoconservative foreign policy principles’, ‘values diametrically opposed’, ‘at odds with a great majority’.

To be sure, only minorities claim to adhere to some of the positions of the Zionist organisations. For example, while the AJC itself appears to be on a campaign to discredit the NIE and keep Americans in fear of the Iranian nukes imminently raining onto Israel, or worse, only 35% of American Jews said that they ‘support the United States taking military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons’, the same as last year, and before release of the new NIE asserting that Iran had a nuclear weapons program but discontinued it in 2003.

When I say, ‘the same as last year’, it is important to bear in mind that in a small sample like this, the ‘margin of error’ is three percentage points. So last year’s estimate of 35% could in fact be anywhere between 32% and 38%, as could this year’s. In other words, the same estimate could conceal either a rise or a fall of up to six percentage points, or more.

It might be worth reiterating that three percentage points is not the same as 3%. If, for example, we had an estimate of 50% of American Jews who claim to be members of synagogues, a margin of error of three points gives us a range of 47% to 53%. If the margin of error were 3%, 3% of 50% is 1.5%, so the range would be 48.5% to 51.5%. Quite a different kettle of fish. Furthermore, you would calculate the latter difference on the basis of the original absolute estimates, although in this case, it shouldn’t matter. The reason that these estimates may be off by more than 3 points either way is that there is a certain level of confidence that that is the margin of error, unstated in this case. It is definitely less than 100% for obvious reasons, and is probably about 85%.

In a 17 December article, ‘American Jews on War and Peace: What Do the Polls Tell Us and Not Tell Us?’, James Petras sets out to answer

How is it that a majority of US Jews who, according to the AJC poll (and several others going back over two decades) differ with the principal American Jewish organizations, have not or do not challenge the position of the dominant Jewish organization, have virtually no impact on the US Congress, the Executive and the mass media in comparison to the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations?

And I think Richard Silverstein has come up with a more plausible explanation than Petras’s.

Petras has a grasp of the organized Jewish community but no grasp at all of unaffiliated Jews, who constitute just under half of the population. The AJC survey includes ALL Jews whether affiliated or unaffiliated. Unaffiliated Jews are much more likely to have views to the left of the "dominant Jewish organizations." The reason that unaffiliated Jews do not challenge the prevailing wisdom in the mainstream community is that doing so does not interest them. That's why they're unaffiliated. It's a vicious circle really. So to blame those who have essentially opted out of the program for the perpetuation of noxious attitudes among those who are still with the program misses the point entirely.

Blaming Jewish peace groups for not moving the Jewish agenda toward the left is wrong-headed. These groups attempt to work with both affiliated and unaffiliated Jews to move the prevailing consensus in a leftward direction. There are many reasons why they have not had more success (lack of funds and powerful leaders, lack of strategic vision, strength of their opponents). And I think that most members and staff of these organizations realize they need to do more. But to denounce them for this lack of success and blame the troubling AJC results on them is mean-spirited and just flat out wrong.

While admitting that ‘it is surprising, and disturbing, that the result is as close as it is’, Silverstein finds comfort in the 46% plurality saying they ‘favor the establishment of a Palesitnian state’, in comparison to the 43% opposed. As it happens, the AJC have asked the same question every year since 2000, and this year’s 46% support is the lowest it’s stood over that period, significantly falling by eight points from last year’s 54%. Similarly, the proportion opposing a Palestinian state has increased from 38% last year and the year before to 43% in 2007, the second highest level recorded over the eight year period. (It was 47% in 2002.) As the margins of error overlap, this may or may not be significant, but the stability of many of the estimates over time suggests that a five point increase could be.

What’s interesting about the question, however, is not the numbers, but the wording, ‘In the current situation, do you favor or oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state?’ Without additional information, the answers to such a question don’t tell us very much. Some respondents may favour establishment of a Palestinian state from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. Others may favour a series of disconnected bantustans whose borders, airspace, port, communications infrastructure, etc. are under Israeli control. Some of those opposed may prefer a single democratic secular state throughout historic Palestine, or the annexation of the West Bank and Gaza to Israel and the expulsion of the remaining non Jewish population. So it is not at all obvious that favouring establishment of a Palestinian state is necessarily a progressive view, or that opposing it is not. In fact, even if it were safe to assume that all respondents understood the question the same way, as something like the Geneva initiative, with a return to more or less the Green Line and a ‘symbolic’ gesture towards justice for the refugees, that is a long way from progressive. As I’ve discussed before, it entails accepting that ethnic cleansing and terrorism are acceptable nation building strategies, that territory can legitimately be acquired by force of arms, that refugees deserve permanent exile and statelessness, that it’s ok to privilege one group over another on the basis of religion or ethnicity, and other positions that are prima facie anti progressive.

To understand what the opinions about the establishment of a Palestinian state mean, I would have liked to see answers to questions about the refugee issue, about Israel’s status as a Jewish state, whether a Jewish state can be democratic, the status of the Israeli Arabs, ‘targetted assassinations’, checkpoints, the boycott of Hamas and the siege of Gaza, the bypass roads, the future of the ‘large settlement blocs’, (In 2005, the last time they asked the question, 36% opposed dismantling any West Bank settlements, the highest ever and up seven points from 29% in 2004.), the construction and route of the wall (In 2006, 73% supported ‘the Israeli government's decision to build the security fence separating Israelis and Palestinians?’, up from 69% the previous year.), among other things. In particular, I’m interested in the proportion of US Jews who subscribe to views that I would define as Zionist, that is, who believe that a state that privileges Jews is acceptable. But I wasn’t really expecting them to ask that. I think it is clear from the phrasing of other questions, the ‘destruction of Israel’ question in particular, that those framing these questions simply assumed that it went without saying that all respondents do hold such views. It would be frightening, but not really surprising, if they are right.

A couple of questions touch on my concerns, if tangentially. When asked,

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "Caring about Israel is a very important part of my being a Jew."

69% agreed, 28% disagreed, and 3% weren’t sure. Now you can spin this question so that I could honestly agree. Indeed, caring about what Israel purports to do in my name is the most important part of my being a Jew. But in all likelihood, none of the respondents interpreted it that way. If not, then it may be of interest that the proportion agreeing is the lowest in the eight years for which data are available on the AJC site, falling five points from 74% last year.

The other,

How close do you feel to Israel?

is the nearest thing they ask to a measure of Zionist sentiment, as I define it. Still, without knowing respondents’ motivations – without asking why – we don’t know whether those who feel ‘very distant’ from Israel oppose any discussion of dismantling settlements and favour immediate forcible transfer of all Palestinians from ‘Eretz Yisra’el’, or object to the existence of a Jewish ethnocracy. I think we can, however, interpret those 70% who say they do feel close to Israel as among those who unequivocally do feel comfortable with a state that privileges Jews. It is mildly encouraging that the proportion who said they felt ‘slightly close’ or ‘very close’ has fallen six percentage points since 2006 to it’s lowest recorded level.

Returning to the issue of the Palestinian state, what we do know from the survey is how respondents answered

In the framework of a permanent peace with the Palestinians, should Israel be willing to compromise on the status of Jerusalem as a united city under Israeli jurisdiction?

Like most of the questions in the AJC survey, there are problems with the wording. To begin with, it rests on the assumption that ‘a permanent peace with the Palestinians’ is conceivable without a capital of the Palestinian state, whatever its configuration, in al Quds. And that already betrays further assumptions – that ‘the Palestinians’ means the PA; that anyone purporting to represent ‘the Palestinians’ could negotiate sovereignty over Jerusalem, that ‘peace’ means simply the end of all resistance. Furthermore, the question assumes that it would be a compromise for Israel to relinquish sovereignty, when not even the US recognises Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem. Anyway, the answers to this question do shed a little light on the Palestinian state question.

A majority of 58% said that Israel should not be willing to make this compromise. On the face of it, therefore, that would mean that at least 4% of the sample favour a Palestinian state with no sovereignty over Jerusalem. It could be, and probably is, much higher than that, but that is the extent of the overlap between the two proportions, so it’s all we can be sure of. Taking the three point margin of error into consideration, however, it is possible that the populations would not overlap at all, if both estimates were high, that is, if, say, the proportion that favoured the Palestinian state was actually as low as 43% and only 55% wanted Israel to keep Jerusalem.

At one level, it would be nice to have access to the raw data and run some cross tabulations. Then we could have estimates of the proportion, for example, who both favour a Palestinian state and think Israel should compromise over Jerusalem, in other words, the population close to a standard two state position. But that type of analysis effectively looks at smaller sub populations, so the sampling error would be much higher and the estimates less reliable. That said, the AJC itself has announced that 70% of those identifying as Democrats support Hillary Clinton. It’s a large enough proportion that it is probably meaningful, but the margin of error would be much higher than three points. Somewhat more suspect is Rebecca Spence’s report in this week’s Forward that

According to the AJCommittee survey for 2007, 42% of Orthodox respondents identified themselves as Democrats, while 30% identified as Republicans.

Since only 8% of the AJC sample identified as Orthodox, that is, between 75 and 84 of the 1000 respondents, the margin of error would be very high, or what amounts to the same thing, the confidence that the margin of error is three percentage points would be much lower than 85%, or whatever it is for proportions of the entire sample. The figures do, however, appear to coincide with those asserted by the Orthodox Union, however they were collected.

Notwithstanding the small consolation Silverstein finds in the possible plurality favouring a Palestinian state,

The remaining answers are flat out unnerving and make me realize how much work remains to be done if there is ever to be a realistic understanding of the IP conflict among American Jews. As a group we have swallowed hook, line and sinker some of the worst prejudices and ignorant attitudes toward Palestinians and the Arab world as a whole.

Most of the questions that concern him resemble the ‘How close’ question in that an affirmative response is more meaningful than a negative. For example,

Do you think that negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas can or cannot lead to peace in the foreseeable future?

The 55% who answered ‘Cannot’ may comprise those who don’t think there will ever be peace under any circumstances; those who think there will be peace, but not in the foreseeable future; those who think there will be peace in the foreseeable future, but not as a result of the negotiations; those who don’t agree that those two parties are negotiating; etc. Those who said, ‘Can’, on the other hand probably all share at least a desire to appear optimistic, and may actually believe that Olmert and abu Mazen both enjoy sufficient credibility among their purported constituencies and with each other to be able to negotiate in good faith, that their common objective is peace in the foreseeable future, and the other profoundly implausible assumptions that would make sense of an affirimative response.

What is rather alarming is the 82% majority agreeing

...with the following statement? "The goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel."

What this question does above all else is invite the respondent to buy into racism. By refusing to specify whether ‘the Arabs’ are ‘the moderate Arab states’, the PA, the Palestinians in general, Arabs in general, or whatever, the question’s framers force the respondent to accept the racist presupposition that ‘the Arabs’ are of one mind. They are duplicitous in pretending to demand the return of the territories occupied in 1967, but in reality, they are bent on Israel’s destruction, a second Holocaust. Again, we can’t really tell much about those who disagreed without knowing why they did so. But it’s pretty clear that those who agreed were prepared to accept those assumptions.

Several of those writing about the poll have made much of the high proportion of American Jews identifying as ‘liberal’ and Democrat. On this, Petras is spot on.

Progressive analysts who cite overwhelming Jewish support for the Democratic Party, its top three Presidential candidates and their preference for the liberal label as differentiating them from the leaders of the major organizations, commit an elementary logical and substantive fallacy. Liberals, like the Clintons, supported the wars against Iraq and are among the driving forces promoting a military attack on Iran. The Democratic majority in Congress has backed every military appropriation demanded by the Republicans and the White House. Being Democrat and ‘liberal’ is no indicator of being ‘progressive’ using any foreign policy indicator, from the Middle East wars to destabilizations efforts in Venezuela.

The question asked is,

I’m going to read you a list of political views that people might hold. They are arranged from extremely liberal to extremely conservative. Where would you place yourself on this scale?

Extremely liberal


Slightly liberal

Moderate, middle of the road

Slightly conservative


Extremely conservative

Not sure

When designing a question like this with a number of response categories among which the respondent must select just one, it is imperative to ensure that the response categories exhaust all the possible responses. This is easily accomplished by incorporating a residual ‘Other’ response, or, if you’re really interested, ‘Other, please specify’. In the US context, of course, liberal can only mean ‘small ‘l’ liberal’, vaguely progressive, perhaps, or ‘left of centre’. I would guess that ‘Extremely liberal’ corresponds to something along the lines of social democrat. It’s hard to imagine anyone to the left of that identifying as any kind of liberal, even in America. Another problem with this question, apart from omitting a category to accommodate revolutionary Marxists, is that the inclusion of a ‘Moderate’ category is likely to contaminate everything. After all, the only thing this question is testing is the rather unreliable measure of political self perception, and many people prefer to perceive themselves as moderate. ‘Moderation in all things’... Mhden agan ‘Nothing in excess’ – the Oracle’s wisdom.

Some of the other questions may shed some light on just how liberal American Jews really are. This year, 43% claimed to be either ‘Extremely liberal’(4%), ‘Liberal’(23%), or ‘Slightly liberal’ (16%), a little above the average for 2000-2008.

It’s true that 57% opposed ‘...the United States taking military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons?’, so clearly at least some of the Moderates and/or Conservatives must have been among those opposed, suggesting that it’s not necessarily such a progressive position. In 2006, 54% were opposed, and only 46% the year before. Interestingly, however, when asked last year, with 42% saying they were liberal, 57% supported, ‘...Israel taking military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons’. Also in 2006, 55% approved ‘...of the way the Israeli government has handled the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon’, and 53% of how the United States government handled it.

‘Looking back,’ 67% said they thought the U.S. ‘should have have stayed out’ of Iraq. But since we don’t know why they think that, or what they think the US should do now, it is ambiguous whether they answered as they did because they oppose US imperialism, because they supported Hussein’s Ba’ath regime in Baghdad, because they were disappointed that US troops weren’t greeted with candy and flowers, or any one or more of numerous other reasons. In a CBS News/New York Times Poll conducted a couple of weeks after the AJC poll, only 54% said they thought the U.S. ‘should have have stayed out’ of Iraq. So insofar as this question is an indicator of progressive attitudes on US foreign policy issues, it would appear that the proportion of Jews with such attitudes is significantly higher than the proportion in the population at large.

This year, 59% said they were ‘very concerned’, and another 33% ‘somewhat concerned’, ‘about the prospect of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons’. So even while they reject some neocon positions, at least some self identified liberals are prepared to accept their propaganda. One of the more interesting findings of the poll is that even if everyone who was not concerned about Iranian nukes opposed a US attack, there is still a significant proportion who opposed the attack even though they were concerned.

In 2002, when 37% said they were liberal – not necessarily different from this year’s 43%, taking the margin of error into account – 57% approved ‘...of the United States taking military action against Iraq to try and remove Saddam Hussein from power?’

In 2001, with 42% claiming to be liberal, 91% favoured ‘...the United States taking direct military action in Afghanistan?’. Even if every one of the 58% of moderates and conservatives favoured attacking Afghanistan, that still leaves 33 of the 42% who were claimed to be liberal, that is, nearly four fifths of them, also supporting Bush’s imperialist rampage. And 85% approved ‘of the way President George W. Bush is handling the U.S. campaign against terrorism’. It is mildly encouraging that this proportion has fallen quite significantly, with only 31% approving ‘...of the way the United States government is handling the war against terrorism’ (the successor question asked since 2004). But to answer the question at all requires acceptance of the presupposition that the US is in fact engaged in a ‘war/campaign against terrorism’.

On domestic issues, I agree with Petras that identification with the Democratic Party is not an indicator of liberalism. But a couple of questions may touch on the matter. When asked how serious a problem illegal immigration was, 79% said it was ‘somewhat serious’ or ‘very serious’, a probably insignificant one point higher than in 2006; 95% said it was a problem both years. In answer to the question about policy, 15% said they should all be deported, one point more than last year, and 67% said they should be allowed to stay if they meet certain unspecified requirements. None of the response categories seems to accommodate the population who prefer open borders and the free movement of labour.

On the whole, the AJC Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion is a disappointment. Professional survey development involves study of focus group responses to the questions and runs pilot tests to determine whether the questions collect the intended concepts. I would like to give Synovate the benefit of the doubt, but it’s frankly hard to imagine that questions as conceputally suspect as these would have survived rigorous testing. Through carelessness or cynicism, Synovate (formerly Market Facts), ‘a leading survey-research organization’, has framed questions that beg other questions and delivered results that are in many cases ambiguous.

Assuming that neither Synovate nor the AJC has actually tampered with the results – and I do assume that, what they seem to indicate is that a plurality of American Jews like to think of themselves as liberal. On the question of whether the US should have invaded Iraq, whatever it may mean, more of them seem skeptical than the population at large. Large proportions are susceptible to panic at propaganda about a terrorist threat or a rogue state, but this appears to dissipate over a couple of years. On a range of foreign policy issues, significant minorities or even majorities – up to 67% in the case of the Iraq war – depart from positions advocated by AIPAC and other neocon organisations. When it comes to Israel, however, larger proportions take such positions. More than four out of every five American Jews were prepared to buy into the anti Arab racism measured by the ‘destruction of Israel’ question.

Alterman nails the reason for the apparent disconnect between mainstream Jewish opinion and the organisations that purport to speak for American Jewry.

In large part the trouble lies with the antidemocratic structures of these organizations and the apathy of most Jews with regard to organized Jewish life. Major Jewish groups respond to the demands of their top funders and best-organized constituencies. Most American Jews, however, have little or nothing to do with these groups. [my emphasis]

In other words, who pays the piper calls the tune. AIPAC and the other principal pro Israel lobby groups articulate the positions that suit their constituency – those with money to spare to make significant contributions to organisations to prosecute their interests, not as Jews, but as capitalists. They believe, rightly or wrongly, that it is in their current financial interests for Israel to carry out the policies it does with impunity.


  1. Hi Ernie,
    just wanted to thank you for putting up with me over at Mark Elf's JSF blog.

    I also just wanted to say hello!

    all the best!

  2. Well, welcome, Joe. It's usually me who people have to put up with, so I don't know what you're on about.

  3. Thanks for the info about the 3% points. What about creating a poll on line with the questions you articulate?

    I agree with Joe to a great extent, but don't have an organized base of resources on which to build a reply with any speed. There's the drawback to depending on the library for one's reading.

    Ernie, there is a new form of the English language being used here:
    I'm wondering if there are any classical linguistic traits demonstrated in it's development?

  4. Welcome back, Mae.

    I think you will find that most opinion polls in the US use a sample of about 1000 and claim a margin of error of three percentage points. All it really means for practical purposes is that small differences among estimates and small movements over time may not necessarily be meaningful and ought to be treated with caution.

    One of the problems with an online poll is that the respondents select themselves without regard to which sector of the population they belong to. Since the only respondents are those who are motivated to participate in the poll, usually ideologically, the sample is already biased. But the reason these small samples they use in the opinion polls can achieve the accuracy they do is that they ‘stratify’ their samples carefully. Since the designers of the poll assume that people who have certain common characteristics, like, age, sex, and geographical location, will also have similar opinions, they include numbers in the sample proportional to the numbers in the population at large. In some cases, it may be necessary to ‘oversample’ rare populations to achieve sufficiently robust estimates, but I doubt that would apply in a survey sampling less than 1/50 of a percent of the relevant population. Since the AJC and Synovate sites are silent on this aspect of methodology, I can only guess how they did their stratification. But they may have selected samples proportional to the numbers residing in NY, CA, FL, and elsewhere, then further stratified proportional to the numbers of men and women in each region, then in age groups. So, for example, if there are 6 million Jews living in the US and 600,000 of them are men aged 25-39 in NY, then 10% of the sample – 100 persons in this case – would be selected from that population, and so forth. I hasten to add that the ‘sample frame’ will not comprise all Jews living in the US, but only those known as Jews to Synovate. It would also exclude those without a landline. There has been some research into the impact of excluding those who only use cellphones and it seems that the difference is within the margin of error for polls like this. I expect the difference to increase over time and sooner or later the pollsters will have to start including cellphones in their sample frames. To cut to the chase, an online poll would be even less reliable than the AJC poll. There would be no way to quantify the level of confidence and all it would tell you is what the respondents themselves thought – there would be no basis for extrapolating it to any population as a whole.

    I’m not sure what Joe said that you agree with. I suppose it’s something he left in a comment over on JsF? Anyway, I’m beginning to get the impression from our discussion there that I’m not expressing myself as clearly as I aspire to.

    That kitten site has some cute photos that the contributors or site owners or somebody thought they could make cuter by adding some verbiage in what they imagine a cat would speak like. That’s how I read it, anyway. The wording doesn’t appear on the face of it to display the kind of consistency an ordinary natural language tends to. For example, in ‘Is mah brutha from anotha motha’, the mid central vowel typically represented phonetically with the character ‘schwa’ is represented by ‘u’, ‘o’, and ‘a’. There does seem to be a degree of consistency in spelling ‘the’ as ‘da’ or ‘teh’ and using SMSese here and there. Grammatically, there is a tendency, not a consistent one, to substitute plurals for singulars, and a more consistent one to use the third person singular form of a present tense verb for all persons – ‘I has claws, you is naked’... I doubt if there would be much point in doing the analysis that might illuminate whether the corpus displays ‘any classical linguistic traits’, but by all means, let me know what you discover.

  5. "...the population who prefer open borders and the free movement of labour."


  6. It's usually me who people have to put up with...
    - Not at all Ernie mate,
    I consider yourself one of the brighter sparks of the internet.

    Just to prove it - I visit your blog on a very regular basis mate - just checkout the regularity of my visits, now you have my IP address (or whatever it is).

    Keep up the great work!

    Happy Hogmanay!
    (Scottish for the 31st of December - we give Scots ourselves 2 bank holdiays, 1st and 2nd of January, to recover from tonights excesses - altho some of have been known to go on benders etc)

  7. Wonderful post.

    A couple of thoughts:

    1. I am trying to figure out how someone like myself could be randomly selected to answer questions. This is the only way I can think that it could occur: Looking up last names from those Jews who died in the holocaust and randomly phoning those last names in the phone book. They could also have people who try to survey attendees at funerals. Other than that I think I am completely invisible to such a survey. No Jewish organization has my name.

    In particular, I suspect that the less someone supports Israel, the more likely they will be difficult to find in a random survey. I would expect systematic right wing bias within any such survey. From the results of the survey I would have to guess that the bias wouldn't be that large.

    2. I wonder just how much tolerance there is within the Jewish community for different points of view. Are anti-Zionists the absolute evil - or is this a point of view that is considered acceptable? What about the right wing of the Zionist movmenet?

  8. Thanks, Edwin. Interesting points.

    Maybe I spend too much time with professional statisticians, but I always proceed on the assumption that the pollsters know what they’re doing, at least when it comes to choosing a sample. That their data is of sufficient use in marketting for them to stay in business suggests that they do. But there is no reason they can’t skew their samples to suit the perceived, or explicit, requirements of the client. It is probably fairly obvious what the AJC wants them to find. So I guess I’m probably being too naive.

    In any case, as I mentioned, there is no way that the sampling frame can be an exhaustive list of all Jews in the US. Apart from anything else, we don’t even know how they defined ‘Jew’. This is only an issue if there is reason to believe that there is some systematic difference between those in and out of the frame. It is pretty unlikely that they are relying on Jewish organisations for lists of names, as only 50% said they were members of ‘a synagogue or temple’. Nor is it likely that they select random Jewish names from the phone book. What they actually claim is, ‘The sample consisted of 1,000 self-identifying Jewish respondents selected from the Synovate consumer mail panel. The respondents are demographically representative of the United States adult Jewish population on a variety of measures.’ As I read it, this means that Synovate maintains a list of willing respondents and select a subset of those on the list who have identified as Jewish. If so, there would certainly be an element of bias, as it is intuitively likely that the population that agrees to participate in a survey would have different opinions from those who refuse. Indeed, refusals are always an issue for this very reason. And since we can’t know the opinions of the refusers, we can never be certain whether they would significantly alter distributions within the population as a whole. But that’s an issue with every survey, even when responding is compulsory. They will have other information about the age, sex, etc. of panel members, allowing them to stratify the sample by relevant demographic factors, as I think I discussed in the post. Otherwise, they couldn’t assert that the respondents are ‘demographically representative’.

    The only Jewish community I am part of is a handful of antizionist bloggers. My family has an understanding that I am not to raise the issue and it’s very rare that anyone makes the mistake of bringing it up with me. Anecdotal, but it suggests a low tolerance for antizionist views. In discussion of antizionism and antisemitism, challenging Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is often presented as beyond the pale, as exceeding ‘legitimate criticism’ of Israel, as unequivocal evidence of antisemitism. I think that, and particularly that so transparently bogus a link does not raise audible objection, also suggests intolerance. Impressionisticly, I can imagine ordinary Jews who haven’t subjected the issues to much scrutiny regarding antizionism as abominable, perhaps ‘absolute evil’.

    Zionism is such a putrid morrass of racism, tribalism, ethnocentrisim, chauvinism, nationalism, etc. that it’s hard to think of any of it as other than right wing. But I gather you mean the mob that used to be called Revisionists. My understanding is that their position is that there should be a one state solution with all Arabs removed from the area of Mandatory Palestine. Jabotinsky, the seminal figure in the Revisionist movement, was quite clear that the Arabs had been living in Palestine for a long time and regarded it as theirs. He understood that they would not relinquish it voluntarily, as many of the Labour Zionists and others in the cuddlier wings of Zionism seemed to believe. Benny Morris has been articulating this kind of view in recent years. I find their honesty refreshing, if nauseating. But I don’t know how they feel about Jewish antizionists.

  9. Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é . Um abraço.

  10. Hi, (rebecca or becky is the real name but Rivaq/Rabia, what ever, Curaezipirid seems to work in the internet)

    I am interested in the information you are providing in this post, and good on the effort you are making to point out that Judaic interests are not defined by Capitalist interests.

    I am a Muslim, a fairdinkum Aussie Mossie, in fact. Though more likely to go to Church with the Murris than to my local Mosque.

    I have indigenous ancestry which is really quite remote, but equally remote is my own Judaic ancestry, and namesake in fact.

    My perspective on the material you are publishing and the conclusions you are adept at drawing, is from within the perspective of religious belief, about how that belief has been ransacked, abused, and then used to abuse, for the sake of capitalist profits.

    One of the more formidable concepts which is a part of the modern day Muslim mainstream, is that the individual personalities whose life stories we are taught of in advance, through prophesy, as those individuals whose work will engage many human beings in the "end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it" aka the end of the capitalist mode of production; are known in Islam as though different individuals to those taught of in the Judaic and Christian traditions.

    Muslims wait upon (or beleive in the Iatollah Homeni's delusion of these things having already come to pass), a character named the Mahdi. But Christian prophesy says he will be a Jew, and so there are Muslims whom refuse to recognise that He may well be both Jew and Muslim, and Christians whom refuse to recognise that Jews can also become Muslims, etc, etc.

    It is a set of delusional beliefs about how prophesies might be reveal, and also where the full realisation of prophesies might occur, in which one group is set up in false opposition to another group, so as to enable warfare in the name of religious belief. (as though George Bush can blame Mohammed and Jesus for his decision making: oh, and Ezra as well of course.)

    The difficult fact about those sort of fallacies/delusions which mainstream religion engages in, is that they tend to prevent reasonably minded folk from availing ourselves of religious method. But that is a general part of the picture of why such things are set up. For example, the Freemasons, belong in a Masonic tradition which dates back to the end of the crusades, during which many European knights actually became Muslim, and were given Muslim brides. The pillaging of the Cathar community in Spain, which was an example of a religious community which had worked to reconcile all the Abrahamic religions, has been frequently used by Freemasons, as though to cover over what they are really about, by making it seem all too mysterious to want to know about.

    Yet today many Freemasons believe in, and focus their efforts around, one very simple aspect of prophesy, about the return of King Solomon as the Mahdi, who will be noted for the smallness of his genitalia, apparently. However, it is also known among the adult male Aboriginal population, that Australan organised crime which has affiliations with corrupt police freemasons, have been attempting to find who he will be among the indigenous population, and have actually already been overtly persecuting men with smaller size genitals to impose upon them right wing politics.

    Most of the men who know about it have been raped and are really very internally inhibited by fear from speaking about the matter. What is being done in the prisons specifically usually more brutally against men with smaller genitals, is quite horrific.

    And all in the name of hoping to profit upon being first to detect the realisation of prophesy. I believe that those whom are familiar with Judaism in belief and in culture, and also socialist, regardless of what level of religious belief is being sustained today, may prove to have a strong role in the resolution of such terrible events as have been happening under the cover of branding politics and cultural alignments with criminality.

    Instructively, the police tend to hold any person whom sustains both a religious belief perspective, and also Marxist belief, as though potentially harmful to general social co-hesion. That is evidenced in policing attitudes to the combination of Islam and Aboriginal belief (despite many indigenous Australians having converted to Islam 600 years ago, and that teaching still today beinga part of traditionally oriented men's initiations, but in silence normally).

    It seems that those whom have been possessing power by money are becoming more and more afraid all the time that the prophesies might really be true (especially if their fortunes were built upon that assumption), and that they might also reallly be proving to be socialist. But the more afraid they become the nastier is the abuse being inflicted upon those without any money, but whom yet sustain therefore, a need to use Religion as their opiate.

    There comes a point when we don't even need to believe in the prophesies our selves as socialists, to warrant some level of investigation into why the big capitalist investors count so much upon what/where/when prophesies will be realised:- yet also try to manipulate the outcomes in their own favour, as though there never really was any certainty in why and how they were investing.

    The essence of the internal religious teaching is that the prophesies are taught to us, only so as if or when we find it happening to us, we know it wasn't our fault. But that neither makes it the prophet's fault, and in fact, the whole balance of why prophesies were ever possible, turns out to be about the nature of money:- in which the revelation of prophesy manifests that the folk whose fault it was going to prove to be all along, were those who tried to make a profit from it.

    Religion is neat like that, and I reckon more socialists ought to become adept at religious methodology. (but dare not try to sell you the book I have written a first draft of about just that)

    thanks for reading my post

    alaykumuassalam rebecca copas nungarrayi

  11. additiion:

    alike to Jews not wanting to openly discuss anti-zionist sentiment (since we are not to ourselves do unto them that which we did not want to be done to us: of blaming the victim in a causal manner), so it is that my comments which might reflect badly upon other Muslims, ought not be taken lightly, and in fact could seldom be repeated.

    The fundamental belief is not to tempt those we speak to in a negative way, to try to make any money out of the weaknesses of misuse of religious ideals.

    (don't let me mention that Islam prophesies a big rock becoming the centre of Islamic prayer rather than Mecca, but while Aussies just accept that Uluru is a big scary rock, there are financial set ups that have been in place to try to convince native americans that the Grand Canyon will become a world power centre to their financial advantage. And that part about Chris Columbus and the tomatoes, can also be read to be about use of bush tucker medicines to finance Aboriginal health recovery, etc.)

    have a look at the Al Tafsir website run by the Royal family in Jordan, where I was enabled to post my own English language intepretive analysis of Qur'an in respect of a few points such as:- many Muslims are now begun to realise that the prophesy is in evidence already here in Australia, even though us Aussies did not want it, and tried to say 'let it not be us please', those of us who knew, or learned of within witness. but those many enough whose interpretation is socialist, will not normally mention that fact because of the persecution involved, but also because the religion's teaching shows up who the bad guys are quite neatly within its belief regulation patterns.

    Judaism must be the same, since Jews need not broach speaking against Zionism for many non-Jews to learn that most Jews are not supporters of Zionism.

    (isn't Zion in Ethipia anyhow?)