Are we really still polls apart?

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT - Ge­of­frey Al­der­man

YSa­maria pro­ceeds apace. A bru­tal con­flict in Gaza, trig­gered by un­pro­voked rocket at­tacks on Is­rael, re­sulted in thou­sands of Arab ca­su­al­ties and mas­sive de­struc­tion of Gaza’s in­fra­struc­ture. More re­cently and with brazen en­cour­age­ment from Pales­tinian lead­er­ship, Pales­tinian Arabs have taken to the ran­dom killing of Jews wher­ever they can find them — which is every­where in the Jewish state. The “peace process” is dead. Mean­while, on the home front, al­though Yachad man­aged to se­cure for it­self en­try on to the Board of Deputies of Bri­tish Jews, the Board’s lead­er­ship is hardly sym­pa­thetic to its Weltan­schau­ung and, with the elec­tion of Jonathan Arkush to the Board’s pres­i­dency, the prospect has re­ceded of a takeover of the Board by the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil, whose man­age­ment is broadly sym­pa­thetic to Yachad’s mis­sion.

Now, al­though we may smile benev­o­lently at Yachad and marvel at the naivety that in­forms its world-view, what we should not do is re­gard those who or­der its af­fairs as fools. For fools they are not. Some­thing had to be done to re­vive Yachad’s for­tunes and keep it in the pub­lic eye. And some­thing was done. An opin­ion sur­vey of Bri­tish Jews was com­mis­sioned, in the hope (no doubt) that some­where in its find­ings there would be ma­te­rial that could be ap­plied to the ad­vance­ment of Yachad.

And so it has — ap­par­ently — come to pass. Ear­lier this month, and to a me­dia fan­fare, the Yachad-spon­sored sur­vey was un­veiled, un­der the im­pri­matur of City Univer­sity.

While most Bri­tish Jews re­main strongly at­tached to Is­rael (de­clares the Ex­ec­u­tive Sum­mary), the “vast ma­jor­ity” agree that “the two-state so­lu­tion is the only way Is­rael will achieve peace with its neigh­bours in the Mid­dle East.” Sixty-two per cent of re­spon­dents agree that “Is­rael should give up ter­ri­tory in ex­change for guar­an­tees of peace”, and 72 per cent ac­cept that the Pales­tini­ans have a “le­git­i­mate claim to a land of their own.” On set­tle­ments, 68 per cent agree with the state­ment that, “I feel a sense of de­spair ev­ery time Is­rael ap­proves fur­ther ex­pan­sion of set­tle­ments,” and al­most a quar­ter said they’d “sup­port some sanc­tions against Is­rael if I thought they would en­cour­age the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment to en­gage in the peace process.”

All in all, We­is­feld told one news­pa­per, the sur­vey shows that a ma­jor­ity of Bri­tish Jews sup­port “Yachad’s broad ap­proach to Is­rael.”

Really? A poll com­mis­sioned by this news­pa­per last March found 67 per cent of re­spon­dents sup­ported Bibi Ne­tanyahu. May I also point out that only a mi­nor­ity of re­spon­dents to the Yachad sur­vey felt that the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment should take “tougher ac­tion” against Jewish set­tle­ments on the West Bank? And may I ask you all to con­sider what the re­sponse might have been to the ques­tion “Do you feel a sense of de­spair ev­ery time a Pales­tinian street is named af­ter some­one who mur­ders Jewish Is­raelis?”

In other words, Yachad­niks, ask a loaded ques­tion and you’re bound to get a loaded an­swer. But you knew that, didn’t you?

Yachad had to do some­thing to raise its pro­file

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