20 March 2016

Mr Pew and the Potemkin Village

Mishpacha Magazine: Finding Truth in the Pews* 
[Issue 502, 6 Adar II, 5776]

"Pew Research Center's Israel survey made headlines with Israeli attitudes about Arabs, but dig down deeper and the survey also reveals that Israelis are becoming more religious and right-wing."

Five pages of columns of votes in response to questions posed, answered by Charedi, Dati, Masorti, Chiloni, and either US Jews or Muslims. Questions were posed in each category: economy; about peace; science, religion and halacha; Israel and the US; social studies. Some of the "Key Findings" were:
  • US Jews are more worried about security issues than Israelis are.
  • Even four out of ten Muslims surveyed say their own side has not done enough to make peace.
  • Democracy and theocracy are incompatible as forms of government..
  • A majority of Israeli Jews feel the US is not supportive enough of Israel.
  • Being funny is more important to American Jews than Israeli Jews.
"This most recent Pew Research Center survey of religion in Israel is more complex and nuanced. In Pew's own words, the picture that emerges is of deep gulfs among jews, as well as between Jews and Arabs, over political values and religion's rule in public life."

Sometimes America is described as
the One Percent controling the 99%, 
here in Israel we have an 8% who are
like pesty tiny fleas eating away at your home (Israel).  

One perspective of Mr. Pew 
is succinctly captured by Abu Yehuda
The Israeli Left is a Potemkin Village. 

"The recent Pew survey of political and religious attitudes in Israel found that only 8% of Israeli Jews self-identify as part of the Left; the rest place themselves in the center (55%) or on the right (37%).

"Nevertheless, this 8% has remarkable power inside Israel, as well as the ability to project its voice to the world. The Left absolutely dominates the creative and performing arts here. Exhibitions feature their work, prizes and grants are given to them by committees made up of their ideological twins. Their films and books picture Israel to the world. Try making a right-wing film in Israel! The universities, at least in the humanities and social sciences, are solidly packed with leftist instructors. These academics serve as visiting professors at universities in the US and Europe on a regular basis.

"All but one of the TV stations, plus the state-operated radio service and even Army Radio lean leftward (which is one of the reasons the BTS exposé, on Israel’s TV Channel 2. [...] Israel’s ‘newspaper of record’, whose English Internet edition is read by diplomats and foreign journalists around the world, is the extremist Ha’aretz. Its print circulation in Hebrew is minimal; the center-left Yediot Aharonot and the center-right Israel Hayom together reach 17 times as many Israelis than Ha’aretz. Regular columnists in Ha’aretz include Gideon Levy and Amira Hass, who bash Israel consistently.

"These and others contribute op-eds in English to publications like the NY Times and are interviewed on NPR in the US and the BBC in the UK. Sometimes one of these outlets will present a discussion between an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian; the Israeli is almost always a leftist academic or journalist.

"So it is no wonder that people think that many Israelis are on the Left.

"They are not. The Left in Israel is dying, strangled by the reality of the Second and Third Intifadas, the hostility of Hamas, and the knowledge that no concession to the Arabs can end the threat from Iran, Hezbollah and Da’esh. [...] The Left is increasingly composed of aging ideologues and bitter anti-state extremists. It is on life support with money flowing from Europe.

"The Israeli Left is a Potemkin village, a Hollywood set. There is no substance, only surface. Don’t let its big mouth fool you."

Wikipedia: The phrase "Potemkin village" [...] was originally used to describe a fake portable village, built only to impress. According to the story, Grigory Potemkin erected the fake portable settlement along the banks of the Dnieper River in order to fool Empress Catherine II during her journey to Crimea in 1787. The phrase is now used, typically in politics and economics, to describe any construction (literal or figurative) built solely to deceive others into thinking that some situation is better than it really is. Some modern historians claim the original story is exaggerated.


* There is no link to the article, but a link to Pew Forum website, where you can try to understand their charts and graphs, and also download a PDF copy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's true that when an Israeli newspaper is cited and quoted, it will always be the Haaretz newspaper (rag). The reason for this is that the left are a minority of a minority but they have the wealth and the power worldwide and wield their influence everywhere - the media belongs to them.