Letters to the Editor: IDI bias

As the saying goes, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
IDI bias
With regard to “Most Jewish Israelis oppose annexation” (February 8) and the Israel Democracy Institute poll, the position of the IDI has been against the “settlements.”
Nevertheless, I expect that a trustworthy organization would have the decency to publish the questions it asked so that any institutional bias could be objectively analyzed.
Even worse are the conclusions the IDI draws based on the very small sample size of 500 Israeli Jews. Let it have at least the intellectual honesty to publish the margin of error for their polls – although that would expose the biased nature of its conclusions. In fact, it states that “53% of Israeli Jews also said they were against annexing large parts of the West Bank” – a term that indicates bias and that the margin of error is 5%! This means that as little as 48% and as much as 58% are against such a move! In real terms, this shows that the IDI’s conclusions are groundless and we really have no idea what the reality is. A larger sample would lower the margin of error, and publishing the actual survey would show whether it is objective in its investigation or it merely asked questions framed to elicit the answers it wanted to hear.
As the saying goes, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.
The Israel Democracy Institute responds: The Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University publish the full questionnaire, associated polling data and the SPSS files every month at www.peaceindex.org/ english. In addition, the two institutions issue a joint press release including the number of interviewees, the interview platform and the margin of error. This information is also available at www.en.idi.org.il. IDI and Tel Aviv University are not responsible for third-party reporting on the data.
Blaming both sides
Your article “Limmud FSU focuses on Jewish continuity” (February 8) by Tamara Zieve cites me as linking softcore Holocaust denial to the Left. In fact, I talked about it being linked to both the Left and the Right, as exemplified by the White House’s statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day, which failed to mention Jews.
This is either inaccurate reporting or editing, and it makes me question your journalistic impartiality.
The writer is the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University and author of Denying the Holocaust (1993) and History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier (2005).
Tamara Zieve responds: At a different point during the panel discussion, Prof. Lipstadt said the following: “Now irony of irony, where the extreme Right and the extreme Left often meet, and it’s on antisemitism, we saw this dejudaization, this stripping the Jewish identity of the Holocaust, from no place less than the White House.” There was no attempt to show partiality in my reporting and I regret the exclusion.
He agrees
I certainly agree with reader Rueben Gordon’s statements on the left-turning Jewish liberals of America (“Liberal US Jews,” Letters, February 8). Most appear to be making every possible effort to denigrate their president, especially his latest initiative of temporarily restricting citizens from countries that have and could still harm the US.
What is even more disturbing is that these liberal Jews, like many on the Left, sanctimoniously espouse tear-jerking support for most anti-Israeli sentiment, as if they think it is de rigueur to do so.
I say that not only the US, but the whole world owes the Jews and Israel a major apology for past transgressions against our people and nation – although I won’t hold my breath for such a reaction. Likewise, I won’t stop calling out sheer antisemitism, for that’s what this is.
Tel Aviv
CORRECTION The headline “Lundqvist leads Rangers to shutout of Ducks” (Sports, February 9) should instead have been “Lundqvist leads Rangers to conquest of Ducks,” as the final score was 4-1, and not as implied by the headline.