The Republicans Abroad Israel branch condemned the Haaretz newspaper on Tuesday for misleading readers by giving the impression that an overwhelming majority of Israelis saw US President Barack Obama as “fair and friendly” toward the country.

Both the English and Hebrew editions of Friday’s Haaretz led with the headline “Poll: Most Israelis see Obama as fair, friendly toward Israel.” The English edition elaborated near a picture of Obama that “69% say Obama is fair and friendly.”

The story itself gave no numbers but its lead said that “a sweeping majority of Israelis think his treatment of this country is friendly and fair.”

The English edition contained no graphics distributing the actual numbers, either online or in print.

The print and online versions of the newspaper’s Hebrew edition, however, included a graphic indicating that just 18 percent of respondents considered Obama “friendly” toward Israel, 3% less than the 21% who called the president “hostile” to the Jewish state.

Ten percent did not know, and 51% defined Obama’s approach to Israel using the Hebrew word “inyani,” which can be translated as matter-of-fact or businesslike, but not as fair.

Republicans Abroad co-chairman Kory Bardash said he figured the numbers must have been wrong when he saw the poll, because Obama had fared so poorly among Israelis both in the November 2008 election and in many polls since then. He said the treatment of the poll called into question the newspaper’s credibility.



“The poll numbers could not have improved so much at a time when American Jewry from across the political spectrum were condemning Obama for overreacting in his administration’s attacks on Israel,” Bardash said.

“It is scandalous that the newspaper became a mouthpiece to push the agenda of the Obama administration. The numbers in the poll more accurately reflect the numbers of the Haaretz editorial board than the general public in Israel.”

The Jerusalem Post reported Monday that Haaretz’s pollster, Tel Aviv University Prof. Camil Fuchs, called the way the results of the poll were presented “misleading.”

Haaretz English Edition editor Charlotte Halle responded that “Haaretz published a fair and accurate representation of the survey conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs at the request of Haaretz. Any attempt to claim otherwise by another newspaper is false.”

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