HEADLINE ABOUT JEWISH FUTURE IN UK MIS­LEAD­ING ‘FOR SEV­ERAL REA­SONS’

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT -

The JC headline claim­ing “63% say there may be no future for Jews in UK” is highly ques­tion­able and mis­lead­ing for sev­eral rea­sons.

First, the headline bears lit­tle, if any, re­la­tion to the ques­tion asked: “Since the protests against the war in Gaza be­gan, have you or your friends had a dis­cus­sion about whether there is a future for Jews in the UK?” Having a dis­cus­sion about some­thing is dif­fer­ent from tak­ing a par­tic­u­lar line in that dis­cus­sion.

Sec­ond, the per­cent­age cal­cu­lated is wholly un­re­li­able be­cause it is based on the com­bined views of 150 re­spon­dents and an un­known num­ber of their friends (... have you or your friends had a dis­cus­sion ...?). De­pend­ing on the as­sump­tions made about this ad­di­tional num­ber, and the dis­tri­bu­tion of views among them, the true pro­por­tion could be any fig­ure between about five per cent and the 63 per cent claimed.

Third, ap­proach­ing 150 peo­ple on the street does not cre­ate a ran­dom sam­ple of Bri­tish Jews, so the find­ings can­not be gen­er­alised to the UK Jewish pop­u­la­tion as a whole.

Fi­nally, con­duct­ing re­search in the midst of a con­flict can of­ten be mis­lead­ing. Views adopted at such times are of­ten more ex­treme than usual, and must be un­der­stood in that light.

In 2010, JPR asked 4,081 Jews na­tion­wide whether they agreed or dis­agreed with the fol­low­ing state­ment: “Be­cause of events in Is­rael I feel un­com­fort­able as a Jewish per­son liv­ing in Bri­tain.” Af­ter con­duct­ing tests for rep­re­sen­ta­tive­ness, the re­sults showed that 26 per cent agreed, one-fifth of whom agreed strongly. Given re­cent events, it is dis­tinctly pos­si­ble that views have shifted on this ques­tion since that time, but we will not know with any cer­tainty un­til the is­sue is re­searched again in a ro­bust man­ner. Dr Keith Kahn-Har­ris, ed­i­tor, Jewish Jour­nal of So­ci­ol­ogy and project direc­tor, Euro­pean Re­search Ar­chive at the In­sti­tute for Jewish Pol­icy Re­search; Dr Jonathan Boyd, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor, IJPR; Dr Ben Gi­d­ley, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor, School of An­thro­pol­ogy, Univer­sity of Ox­ford; Pro­fes­sor David Feld­man, direc­tor, Pears In­sti­tute for the Study of An­ti­semitism, Birk­beck Col­lege; Dr David Gra­ham, se­nior re­search fel­low, IJPR; Mar­garet Har­ris, emer­i­tus pro­fes­sor, As­ton Univer­sity; Dr He­lena Miller, direc­tor of re­search and eval­u­a­tion, UJIA; Stephen Miller, emer­i­tus pro­fes­sor , City Univer­sity; Mar­lena Sch­mool, for­mer com­mu­nity re­search direc­tor, Board of Deputies; Daniel Vulkan, for­mer se­nior re­searcher, Board of Deputies

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