Amiram Goldblum (HUJ) served as the spokesperson for Peace Now for 20 years since 1980 and initiated its settlements watch committee in 1990.
In May 2012, during a Peace Now conference, Goldblum predicted that in two years, the Palestinian Authority will voluntarily withdraw from the Oslo Agreement and force Israel to resume direct rule over two million Palestinians- a situation that would be tantamount to apartheid. Goldblum urged a change of strategy by focusing on the international arena to pressure Israel from the outside.
Goldblum's Israela Goldblum Fund - a foundation named after his late wife that is associated with the New Israel Fund - commissioned a poll on Israeli attitudes toward the conflict. The results published in Haaretz with a commentary by Gideon Levy indicated that most Israelis would support an apartheid regime . The so-called apartheid poll" created a public firestorm. BiCOM (British Israel Communications and Research Centre) accused the poll authors of gross distortion of data. Goldlbum demanded an apology and retraction but BICOM issued a six-page scathing report listing the weaknesses of the study.
Ostroff quoted from another study: "Apartheid, today's prime stigmatic code-word for racist evil, has become a potent weapon for delegitimizing and demonizing Israel, especially since it evokes the precedent of powerful external pressure in the form of boycott and sanctions as was applied against the apartheid regime in South Africa.
The scrutiny of the of survey focused attention on Camil Fuchs, the head of the Department of Statistics at Tel Aviv University, who carried out the study as part of his Dialog research group. Fuchs-Dialog have a history of controversial surveys, including the 2010 poll indicating that a majority of Israelis view President Obama in a positive light- a finding that was in odds with other surveys. Some questioned the methodology used in the poll. Specifically, Fuchs used a "push question" - a reference to the hypothetical situation of annexing the West Bank - which generated the "apartheid finding." The group that Fuchs had assembled to draft the questions is also puzzling. Ilan Baruch, who resigned in protest from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mordechai Bar-On member of "Peace Now", Alon Liel has supported BDS and attorney Michael Sfard represents Palestinians in Israeli courts. Almost all are board members of the New Israel Fund.
Hanoch Marmari, the former editor of Haaretz, issued a scathing rebuke of Levy and the newspaper, he cited Goldblum's interview in Haaretz where he said what most survey commissioners would not admit, that the survey was commissioned in order to promote an action that Goldblum believes in: "We need to act fast before the apartheid danger erupts irreversibly".
In spite of serious methodological misgivings and a subsequent correction by Haaretz and Gideon Levy, the article on "apartheid poll" had achieved its main objective of painting Israel as an apartheid state in waiting. Carried by major newspapers such as the Guardian, Arab media and anti-Israel websites, it has further delegitimized Israel in the international arena.
[In the interest of self-disclosure, Goldblum has sued IAM regarding an article published on its website. IAM handed in a defense and counterclaim. The case is awaiting trial.]
By ABNA news agency, Iran
Poll: Most Israelis support apartheid against the Palestinians
A survey, conducted by Dialog headed by Prof. Camil Fuchs, revealed that most of the Jewish public in Israel supports the establishment of an apartheid regime in Israel if it formally annexes the West Bank.
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - A survey, conducted by Dialog headed by Prof. Camil Fuchs, revealed that most of the Jewish public in Israel supports the establishment of an apartheid regime in Israel if it formally annexes the West Bank.
Most Israelis believe Israel already practices apartheid against Palestinians, the poll found.
A majority also explicitly favors discrimination against the state's Arab citizens and, the survey showed.
The survey was based on a sample of 503 interviewees representing a cross section of Israeli society.
According to the poll results, 59% said Jews should be given preference to Arabs in government jobs, 49% said Jewish citizens should be treated better than Arabs, and 42% would not want to live in the same building as Arabs and the same number do not want their children going to school with Arabs.
The poll revealed that 69% said that 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank should be denied the right to vote if the area was annexed by Israel, while more than two-thirds of Israeli Jews support a legal ban on voting rights.
The survey also indicated that 47% wanted to deport a part of Palestinians of 48 to the Palestinian Authority territories.
Haaretz changes tack on major story that alleged widespread ‘apartheid’ attitudes in Israel
Newspaper publishes small ‘clarification’ of widely quoted article, changes headlines online; top Israeli pollster calls key question ‘skewed’; critic says vital question omitted from poll
October 30, 2012, 8:12 pm
Israel’s Haaretz daily changed tack on a widely discussed story published last week, in which it reported on a survey that ostensibly showed that Jewish-Israelis already consider Israel an apartheid state and/or would support it becoming one.
The paper changed its headline on the story in both its Hebrew and English online versions, and published a small “clarification.”
The poll’s purported findings served as Haaretz’s lead article on October 23, headlined in the newspaper’s Hebrew print edition: “Most Israelis support an apartheid regime in the country.” The claim went viral online, with the toxic word “apartheid” quickly working its way through bothWestern and Middle Eastern media.
“Israeli poll finds majority in favour of ‘apartheid’ policies,” stated a headline in the Guardian that same day, for example, while an Al-Jazeera op-ed declared that “Israel is an apartheid state (no poll required).” A headline in Canada’s The Globe and Mail read, “Many Israeli Jews support apartheid-style state, poll suggests.”
Several Israeli politicians weighed in quickly too. “It is not surprising that following four years of Netanyahu’s government, most Israeli citizens support apartheid,” declared left-wing Meretz leader Zahava Gal-on, on her party’s website that same day.
“The Israeli regime is not a copy of the South African regime, but it certainly belongs to the same family,” said Jamal Zahalqa, leader of the Arab Balad faction. MK Ahmad Tibi of Raam-Taal added that “racism has long become mainstream in Israeli society,” Haaretz itself reported in a follow-up news item a day later.
However several questions in the original poll — commissioned by the Israela Goldblum Fund, conducted by pollsters Dialogue under the supervision of Dr. Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University, and made available to The Times of Israel — point to different conclusions from those headlined and reported by Haaretz. Rather than backing an apartheid regime, one critic intimated, they seem to indicate that most Israeli Jews want to keep the Israeli government from becoming such a regime. This mindset emerges even though aspects of the poll itself appear to be problematic, and one key question, according to a leading Israeli pollster, is skewed.
Despite a Haaretz claim, in a highlighted front-page box of its Hebrew edition, that “58% believe that an apartheid rule already exists in Israel today,” reference to the original poll shows that respondents were not actually asked whether they believed apartheid rule exists here. Rather, they were asked a complex, problematically formulated question which, in turn, was not published in full by the newspaper, and which has been critiqued by leading Israeli pollster Mina Zemach. The original question asked whether respondents agree with the opinion of a hypothetical American author who claims that “there is apartheid in Israel.” To this question, 39% answered that apartheid exists in a few issues, 19% said apartheid exists in many issues, and 31% said that apartheid does not exist at all in Israel.
Another finding was somewhat misrepresented in the Haaretz coverage, a comparison with the original poll shows. The survey’s final question (Question 17) asked respondents their views about separate highways for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. Fifty percent answered that such a situation “is not good, but there’s nothing to do about it,” 24% said that “it is a good situation,” and 17% said the situation was “not good, and should be stopped.” In a Haaretz’s pie chart, however, 50% are said to regard separate roads as “necessary” rather than “not good, but there’s nothing to do about it.” And the 50% and 24% findings are bracketed together, and misleadingly summarized as showing 74% “supporting” separate roads.
In answer to other questions, meanwhile, a majority of Israeli Jews took tolerant positions. Most said they would not mind living next to an Arab family, and more respondents said they would not mind sending their children to school with Arabs than said they would mind. Most Israeli Jews also opposed denying voting rights to Israeli Arabs (by 59% to 33% in answer to the poll’s Question 6). And more respondents (Question 13) opposed (48%) than favored (38%) the annexation of even those parts of the West Bank with Jewish settlements in them.
Remarkably, the poll did not ask respondents whether they favored annexing the entire West Bank, yet it did ask a key question — Question 16 in the poll — about denying votes to 2.5 million Palestinians after such annexation.
That question, apparently central to Haaretz’s original apartheid claim, asked: “If Israel annexes the territories of Judea and Samaria, should it grant 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote for the Knesset?” To this, 69% of respondents said no and 19% said yes.
This response would appear to highlight a contradiction with the answer to Question 6, in which 59% said they opposed denying Arab citizens voting rights. One potential explanation is that most Israelis do not foresee the political possibility of annexing the West Bank (or Judea and Samaria, as the question goes), and thus of a consequent dilemma about Israeli citizenship and voting rights for its Palestinian inhabitants. But one can only speculate on this, since, in the poll, respondents were not asked a direct question on the matter, such as: “Do you support the annexation of the West Bank to Israel?”
That the poll asked respondents for a position on Palestinian rights after annexation, and that Haaretz drew dramatic conclusions from the response without first asking about attitudes to annexation, immediately drew criticism of the poll and its presentation.
“The poll actually shows that Israelis want to separate themselves from the West Bank, not even annexing the major settlement blocs,” Noam Shelef, deputy communication director for the dovish New Israel Fund (whose involvement in the poll was first claimed and later retracted by Haaretz), wrote in the Daily Beast. “Only in a hypothetical situation — whereby their preference that Israel not annex the West Bank is ruled out by the pollster — do most Israeli Jews show a willingness to rule over non-voting Palestinians and thus tolerate apartheid.”
Shelef continued: “So claiming the poll demonstrates support for ‘apartheid’ is spin at its worst. It’s a bit like talking to a terminal cancer patient who stops treatment to begin hospice care and then announcing that he or she wants to die. A more likely interpretation would be that the cancer patient wants to live, but would be willing to accept death if that were the only option.”
Asked by email why Gideon Levy, better-known to the public for his scathingly critical opinion pieces than for news reporting, was assigned to write the news report on the poll, Haaretz editor Aluf Benn responded, “Gideon Levy regularly writes news.”
Levy presented the data in the paper’s lead “news” story, and also penned an accompanying op-ed on page 3 of the Hebrew paper that same day, entitled “Apartheid, with no shame and no guilt.” In this piece, Levy argued that Israelis are not only overtly racist; they are unabashed about it. “It is no longer Israel’s critics… now it’s the Israelis themselves who are defining themselves; and in this poll, they define themselves as nationalists and racists…”
“We’re racists, the Israelis are saying,” Halevy wrote. “we practice apartheid and we even want to live in an apartheid state. Yes, this is Israel.”
But Levy, in the news piece, apparently responding to this partial acknowledgement of the poll’s difficulties, countered: “The very use of the term [apartheid] as defining the character of their state even today, without annexing the territories, does not prompt harsh objections on the part” of respondents.The problems with the poll were partially acknowledged in a press release sent to The Times of Israel by Amiram Goldblum, who commissioned it. “A large part of the Jewish population (58%) accepts the application of the term ‘apartheid’ to the current state of affairs in Israel,” said the press statement, which was itself a somewhat problematic summary of the poll’s findings, as noted above. “It is, however, not clear what these respondents understand by the term as this question did not require clarification.”
The poll invoked its anonymous American author — possibly a reference to Alice Walker — in two questions linked to apartheid. Question 10 asked: “A well known American author is boycotting Israel, claiming it has apartheid. Which of the following opinions is closer to yours: she should be boycotted; there should be no reaction; she should be invited to visit Israel?” Forty-eight percent of respondents believed that the theoretical author should be invited to Israel, 28% said Israel should not respond, and 15% said she should herself be boycotted. Levy referred to these apparently tolerant statistics toward the end of his news report as “a little surprising.”
The next question, number 11, was phrased as a follow-up: “Based on the American author’s allegations that apartheid exists in Israel, which of the following opinions is closer to yours: there is no apartheid in Israel; there is apartheid in some issues; there is apartheid in many issues?” As noted above, 39% answered that apartheid exists in a few issues, 19% said apartheid exists in many issues, and 31% said that apartheid does not exist at all in Israel.
“This question is skewed,” said veteran Israeli pollster Zemach, director of the Dahaf polling institute. Zemach said that introductions that lead respondents to choose a certain answer distort the data presented in a poll.
“I don’t like this type of question,” Zemach added. “Questions should present a statement and then ask ‘do you agree or disagree with this statement’ or ‘to what extent do you agree with this statement.’”
She noted that most questions sent to her institute for putting to the public are skewed in similar ways, and require adjustment before they can be asked in a legitimate poll.
Not only did the “American author” introduction allegedly skew the answer to the question that followed it, however, but it was also omitted from the report in Haaretz, which presented the question as if respondents were asked, simply, “Is there apartheid in Israel?”
Levy said last week that he represented the poll’s results “literally and according to its spirit.”
Still, on October 28, five days after publishing the story at the top of its front page, Haaretz ran a small “clarification” — on the bottom of Page 5 of its Hebrew print version — which said (in its entirety), “The wording of the main headline, ‘Most Israelis support an apartheid regime in the country’ (Haaretz, 23.10), did not accurately reflect the findings of the Dialogue poll. The question to which most respondents answered in the negative did not relate to the current situation, but rather to a hypothetical future situation: ‘If Israel annexes the territories of Judea and Samaria, should it grant 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote for the Knesset?’”
This clarification did not appear on the online Hebrew version of the article, whose headline was changed, however, to “A majority of the Jewish population supports apartheid if Israel annexes the territories.”
A similar clarification did appear on the English version of the article online, and the headline of the article’s English version was also changed online, from “Survey: Most Israeli Jews would support apartheid regime in Israel” to “Survey: Most Israeli Jews wouldn’t give Palestinians vote if West Bank was annexed,” dropping the word “apartheid” altogether.
On October 29, Levy published an op-ed titled “We erred, but.” Here, he claimed that his news story on the poll “included no errors,” and “accurately and precisely described the poll’s results.” However, he rescinded a part of his original op-ed, where he had claimed erroneously that “the majority [of Israeli Jews] does not want Arab voters for Knesset, Arab neighbors, or Arab students,” when in fact the poll showed that 59% do want Arabs to vote for the Knesset, 53% do not object to Arab neighbors, and 49% would not object to Arab pupils in their children’s classrooms.
In a video accompanying his October 29 op-ed, Levy added, “My mistake was completely marginal, and changed nothing in the greater picture.”
The poll was commissioned by the Israela Goldblum Fund, a family fund set-up in 2007 by Amiram Goldblum, a chemistry professor at Hebrew University, in memory of his late wife.
Goldblum, who joined Israel’s Peace Now movement a year after its creation in 1978 and served as its spokesman for over 15 years, told The Times of Israel that the poll was prompted by his deep concern over what he dubbed trends of “anti-Arab racism” in Israel.
Goldblum said he assembled a group of colleagues, including former director general of the Foreign Ministry Alon Liel, former ambassador to South Africa Ilan Baruch, former chief of education in the IDF Mordechai Bar-On, and human rights lawyer Michael Sfard, to devise the questions. Goldblum is a member of the New Israel Fund’s international council, watchdog NGO Monitor reported.
The men phrased the questions for the poll, Goldblum said, and hired Dialog to carry out the survey. The questions were put to a sample group of 503 Israeli Jews in a telephone survey overseen by Fuchs. This sample size was standard, Fuchs told The Times of Israel, with a sampling error of 4.2%. The poll was conducted in early September.
Fuchs told The Times of Israel that the questions in the poll were legitimate, requiring no amendment by the Dialog team.
QUESTIONS REMAIN FOR THE NEW ISRAEL FUND ON THE SIGNING ANEW/HAARETZ “APARTHEID” POLL
NGO MonitorOctober 25, 2012
On October 23, 2012, Haaretz published a highly distorted article based on of a poll of 503 people under the headline, “Survey: Most Israeli Jews would support apartheid regime in Israel.” The very problematic “push” (manipulative) poll, provided as the basis for the article written by Gideon Levy, received a great deal of attention, and the analysis was copied immediately byThe Guardian, the Jewish Chronicle (later removed from the website), and other media platforms, including thoseinvolved in anti-Israel demonization and BDS. In contrast, critical comments highlighted the faulty methodology used in the poll, the blatantly manipulative nature of the questions, and Gideon Levy’s selective interpretations.
In this context, the role of the New Israel Fund (NIF) became a significant issue. The original English version inHaaretz stated, “The survey was commissioned by the New Israel Fund’s Yisraela Goldblum Fund.”  (Mention of the NIF was removed in a revised version.) TheHebrew version made no mention of the NIF; instead, the text noted that the Israela Goldblum Fund was “established in 2007 as part of the framework of the non-profit ‘Signing Anew’.”
Recognizing the controversy and criticism, NIF-Israel quickly distanced itself from Levy’s article and the poll,posting a statement claiming that “‘Signing Anew’ is an independent organization…not affiliated with the NIF…NIF clarifies that it was not behind the survey published this morning in Haaretz, and that it is not connected to it in any way.” In addition, NIF’s Deputy Communication Director Noam Shelef penned an op-ed on the Open Zion blog (That Poll's Apartheid Problem, October 23, 2012), calling Levy’s column a “misrepresentation of the data.”
However, as the evidence shows, the relationship between NIF, Signing Anew, and this controversy is more complex than acknowledged in the statement, and adds to the questions that have been raised regarding NIF’s decision making and due diligence in awarding grants and supervising the activities of politicized grantees. In particular, NGO Monitor notes that:
1) NIF was the initiator of and continues to fund “Signing Anew” (an Israeli political NGO),
Until 2010, Signing Anew was included on NIF’s Financial Statements with the notation that “NIF and Signing Anew have related Board members and staff such that NIF has oversight of Signing Anew.” In NIF’s 2010 Financial Statement, Signing Anew (although listed as a grantee) was not included in the balance, which stated “At December 31, 2010, NIF did not have oversight and did not combine the activities from Signing Anew.”
2) Shared employees/board members.
In addition, Amiram Goldblum, founder of the Israela Goldblum Fund which paid for the poll, is a member ofNIF’s International Council.
3) NIF’s “peace and civil rights activists” formulated the questions.
NIF: Failure in due diligence highlights the need for transparency and reform
While NIF claims to have no responsibility for these events, as the funder and initiator of the NGO “Signing Anew,” with close overlap among personnel, this claim is misleading. The statement issued by NIF disavowing any involvement is inadequate and should be followed by full disclosure and an independent inquiry, in accordance with professional practice. Just as NIF takes credit when its grantees impact positively on Israel, so too, NIF must take responsibility when its grantees do serious damage.
As documented by NGO Monitor, in the cases of other NIF grantees (past and current) involved in demonization and the Durban Strategy (CWP, Mada al-Carmel, ICAHD, +972, Breaking the Silence, etc.), this example highlights the need for a complete review of NIF grant-making, far greater transparency -- including on the part of grantees -- and other fundamental changes in the organization.
 The Yisraela Goldblum Fund is named after the late NIF vice-president and co-founder of Peace Now.
'Apartheid’ pollsters reject Bicom criticism
By Anna Sheinman, November 1, 2012
The controversial survey, which was reported by Ha’aretz last week, was commissioned by the Yisraela Goldblum Fund, a family foundation named after Professor Goldblum’s late wife, the former senior news editor of Kol Israel, who died in 2006. A row has broken out between Bicom (British Israel Communications and Research Centre) and Hebrew University professor Amiram Goldblum over a poll which said Israeli Jews would “support apartheid”.
The poll results, which focused on the attitudes of Israeli Jews towards Arabs if the West Bank were annnexed, were introduced with the words: “In case of annexation, most Jews will support apartheid.”
The poll concluded that 69 per cent of Israeli Jews objected to allowing Palestinians to vote in the event of annexation. It also found that “74 per cent support separation of Israelis and Palestinians on roads”, “47 per cent want to transfer part of the Israeli Arab population to the Palestinian Authority” and “59 per cent are for official preference to be given to Jews for government positions”.
Bicom chief executive, Dermot Kehoe, was highly critical of the poll and in last week’s JC called it “poor social science”, “deeply unhelpful” and its results “bogus”. He called the questions “poorly worded” and attacked the use of the hypothetical situation of annexation, saying that given that most Israelis support a two-state solution, the question was “pretty meaningless”.
But Professor Goldblum said: “The poll was discussed, decided upon and performed by the prime pollsters of Israel. Had he [Mr Kehoe] read the poll carefully, he would find that the most pressing issues are the internal racist attitudes of Jews in Israel.” He agreed that most Israelis wanted a two-state solution, but asserted: “it is well known that the Palestinian Authority is close to a decision to ‘return the keys’ to Netanyahu.”
Professor Goldblum requested an apology and a retraction from Bicom. Instead, Bicom issued a six-page report by its senior associate analyst, Shany Mor, entitled The Apartheid Smear, attacking many technical aspects of the survey as well as its reporting in Ha’aretz. Mr Mor said that “claiming ‘most Israeli Jews would support [an] apartheid regime in Israel’, grossly distorts the polling data”.
Mr Mor highlighted examples of how the questions were “deeply flawed”. For example, the question “Would you like Israel to annex the territories on which there are settlements?” could refer to annexing just the settlements or the whole of the West Bank.
Mr Kehoe said: “I’m not saying there aren’t reasons to be concerned about racism in Israeli society but I would be surprised if there is any poll that would say Israel Jews support apartheid.”
Ha’aretz has since issued a clarification of its report, and its author Gideon Levy has issued an apology acknowledging his article contained “a few mistakes”. But he maintained that the poll unearthed “serious and disturbing findings” and said criticism of the poll was “deviation from the important issue”.
The questions used in this poll were formulated by individuals closely connected to NIF and its grantees. One, Michael Sfard, is legal counsel for a number of NIF grantees, including Yesh Din, Breaking the Silence, Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement, and Human Rights Defenders Fund. Another, Alon Liel (a former Israeli MFA official and ambassador to South Africa) is married to NIF’s Executive Director in Israel, Rachel Liel. Mordechai Bar-On and Ilan Baruch, who are also named as involved in constructing the poll language, are also members of NIF’s International Council. In 2010, four members of Signing Anew’s board and staff were alsoaffiliated with NIF. These individuals are Elah Alkalay, theChair of Signing Anew’s Board of Directors and a Board Member at NIF; Maya Shraga-Albalak, Treasurer (and authorized signatory) of Signing Anew and CFO Israel for NIF; Susan Bougess-Sawicki, Board Member (and authorized signatory) of Signing Anew and Director of International Relations in Israel for NIF; and Ellen Goldberg, a Board Member of Signing Anew and formerExecutive Director of NIF-UK. (Information on 2011 was not found on relevant websites, including Signing Anew. According to NIF correspondence with NGO Monitor, three of the four are no longer affiliated with both NIF and Signing Anew, and the fourth “will soon be vacating” her position on the Signing Anew board.) including authorizing grants in the amount of $100,000 in 2011, $300,343 in 2010, and $465,282 in 2009.