The Independent Makes False Assumptions on Israeli Public Opinion


Thanks to The Independent for swiftly acknowledging the error. The text now correctly refers to “right-wing Jewish Israeli voters,” two-thirds of whom, according to the Peace Index, are supportive of the Israeli government’s position on the Regulation Bill.


There’s no doubt that the so-called Regulation Bill that passed its final readings in the Knesset on Monday night, is controversial.

The law legalizes West Bank settlement outposts that had previously been unlawful under Israeli law. The vote followed party lines with the governing coalition, bar one MK, voting in favor while other parties vehemently opposed it.

What does the Israeli public make of this? A November survey for the Israeli Democracy Institute’s Peace Index noted the following:

Under pressure from the Bayit Yehudi Party, the government is advancing a special law that will make it possible to avoid evacuating the settlement (the Regulation Law). This contravenes the position of the attorney-general, who maintains that such legislation—which circumvents the Supreme Court edict, damages the rule of law, and even endangers Israel because much international criticism will be leveled at it based on precepts of international law—should be avoided. On this background, we asked with which of the two positions the interviewees agreed more—the government’s or the attorney-general’s. The responses indicate that the Jewish public is divided on this question, with the rate of supporters of the government’s position (46%) only slightly higher than the rate of supporters of the attorney-general’s (43%).

So why then did The Independent‘s story on the Regulation Bill make the following sweeping statement?

We’ve contacted the journalist behind the piece and editors at The Independent to ask where the source is for the statement that the law “is very popular with Jewish Israeli voters.”

Or is The Independent trying to paint a majority of Israelis as holding particular political beliefs that don’t fit that newspaper’s own framing of the conflict?

Either way, it’s poor journalism to insert one’s own opinions disguised as news, particularly if the evidence doesn’t back up that opinion.

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