(January 13, 2019 / JNS)
The media watchdog CAMERA took aim at The New York Times this week after the newspaper falsified Pew research in a news analysis alleging a “great schism” between American and Israeli Jewish populations.
Written by the paper’s deputy Washington editor Jonathan Weisman, the Times article claims that Israeli and American Jews “see the world in starkly different ways,” and suggests that “neither side sees the other as caring for its basic well-being.”
“It’s a sweeping hypothesis,” says Gilead Ini, a veteran media analyst at CAMERA. “And yet his analysis doesn’t offer a single statistic to directly substantiate his claim.”
Ini says that the Times editor did cite some polling numbers from the Pew Research Center, “but they are flatly misreported.”
Weisman claimed that “69 percent of Israelis have a positive view of the United States under Mr. [Donald] Trump, up from 49 percent in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center.”
But according to Pew’s 2018 survey, 83 percent of Israelis had a positive view of the U.S. in 2018, the second year of Trump’s presidency, not 69 percent. This is compared to 81 percent in 2015 when Barak Obama was in office—and not, as Weisman reported, 49 percent.
In an email to CAMERA, the Pew Research Center reaffirmed that “83% of Israelis have a favorable view of the U.S.” Pew added: “The 69% data point is specifically ‘confidence in the U.S. president to do the right think regarding world affairs.’ ”
“Weisman seems to want to argue that Israelis are essentially Republicans while American Jews are Democrats,” says Ini. “But in 2015, while President [Barack] Obama was in office, the last Pew survey shows virtually identical numbers in Israeli support for the United States. And a year before that, 84 percent of Israelis felt favorably about their closest ally.”
Ini says that the Pew data “seems to show that Israelis have a favorable opinion of the United States, whether it’s governed by a Republican or a Democrat.”
In addition to the polling error, Weisman claimed that Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi “refused” to use the word “synagogue” when talking about Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue after it was attacked by an anti-Semitic gunman last October.
As a correction by JTA makes clear, the rabbi did in fact use the word “synagogue” when referring to Tree of Life.
Ini brought the errors to the attention of New York Times editors. They indicated that they stand by and won’t correct Weisman’s falsehoods.