No Validity To Conclusion Of ADL Poll Claiming Americans Support Gaza Plan, Proclaim Professors Of Statistics And Math From U. Of Penn, Hebrew U. & Temple U
News Press Release
July 11, 2005

New York – Abe Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released a new poll on Israel’s Gaza Withdrawal Plan claiming it shows that 71% of Americans support the Plan. Israel’s Gaza Withdrawal Plan will cede the Jewish portion of Gaza and a portion of North Samaria to the Palestinian Authority and will forcibly remove 10,000 Israeli Jewish men, women and children from their homes, businesses, schools and synagogues without any concessions from the Palestinian Arabs in return or any agreement of peace.

But two distinguished professors of statistics and one distinguished professor of mathematics unequivocally state that ADL’s “conclusion that most Americans support the Gaza Plan is not valid.” The mathematics professor added that it was clear to him that the poll question was written in a way that was “politically motivated” and that the “conclusion that most Americans support the Gaza Plan is untrue and certainly cannot be stated based on the ADL Poll.”

The professors who analyzed the results of the ADL poll include Professor Abba Krieger, Chairman of the Department of Statistics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; Professor Moshe Pollak, Department of Statistics, Hebrew University; and Professor Louis Raymon, Department of Mathematics, Temple University. (Prof. Raymon is former Chairman of the Department of Mathematics, and former Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, where he teaches both mathematics and statistics).

The ADL Poll question was as follows:

Israel recently decided to unilaterally evacuate its communities in the Gaza Strip without reaching a formal peace agreement with the Palestinians. Which of the following statements are closer to your views:

1. Israel’s decision to withdraw from Gaza is capitulation to violence and terror. Israel is forced to leave because it couldn’t curb terror.

2. Israel’s decision to withdraw from Gaza is a bold step to advance the peace process.

Professors Krieger and Pollak, of U. of Penn and Hebrew University respectively, said, “We reviewed the question asked of the respondents and determined that the conclusion that most Americans are in favor of withdrawal is not valid, according to ADL’s survey questions and answers. At best the survey obfuscates the conclusion because the focus of the statements seems to be on Israel’s reason for withdrawal and not on the opinion of the respondent and because only 2 options for Israel’s decision to withdraw are indicated,” neither one asking if respondents support the Plan.

Professor Raymon of Temple University said: “The ADL poll only addresses Israel’s apparent motivation, but does not address at all the question of Americans actual support for the Gaza withdrawal to take place. The question ADL asked had nothing to do with whether the respondent was for or against the withdrawal. Seventy-one percent of the respondents could and did choose the #2 option in the ADL poll that ‘Israel’s decision to withdraw from Gaza is a bold step to advance the peace process,’ agreeing that this may be a ‘bold step’ that Israel apparently believes will ‘advance the peace process’; yet the respondent does not necessarily have to support the actual withdrawal him/herself. By picking this #2 option, the respondent only has to agree that Israel believes this will advance the peace process — the respondent does not necessarily have to believe that it will, in reality, advance the peace process or that Israel should, in fact, withdraw from Gaza.”

Raymon added, “It seems clear to me that the phrasing and construction of this survey question is politically motivated and the ADL conclusion that Americans support this Plan is unreliable, inaccurate and invalid.” Professor Raymon further added, “In contrast to the ADL poll, the McLaughlin & Associates poll, which showed by a margin of 63% – 16%, that Americans strongly opposed the Gaza Plan, asked a straightforward question of a representative sample of 1000 Americans (June 26-27, 2005) prefaced by objective facts necessary for an informed decision. The results would seem to be unquestionably accurate, valid and meaningful.”

ZOA President Morton A. Klein, who is himself a statistician, having worked for many years with two-time Nobel Laureate Dr. Linus Pauling at the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine, explained that, “In addition to the previous comments made by the professors, one must also understand that option #1 in the ADL poll was so extreme and untrue that few people (in fact, only12%), even those against the Gaza Withdrawal Plan could or would choose it. Even those opposing the Plan likely don’t believe option #1 that “Israel is forced to leave Gaza because it couldn’t curb terror.”

If, in fact, not being able to curb terror is the reason Israel is leaving Gaza, it would also be leaving Tel Aviv, Gilo, Netanya, Kfar Saba, Sderot and Jerusalem where Palestinian Arab terror has been rampant. It is also important to note that Israel has done a relatively good job protecting the Jews of Gaza. After all, 80% of all Israelis killed by Palestinian Arab terror since September 2000 live within Israel’s ’67 borders, only 20% of those killed live outside these borders in Gaza, Judea or Samaria.

“Another factor in more people choosing option #2 (71% did) over #1 is that negative phrases and images like “capitulation to violence and terror” and “forced to leave” and “couldn’t curb terror,” are all in #1; while #2 has positive phrases and images like “bold step” and “advance the peace process.” These are strong phrases that will make #2 a more comfortable choice than #1.

“But what is most troubling about this poll is that it doesn’t even ask the question at hand, whether Americans approve or disapprove of the Gaza Plan. To more clearly show why ADL’s poll does not answer the critical question of whether Americans support this Plan, consider the following fictitious poll question:

“A man who needs money for his impoverished family has been offered $1000 by some gamblers to play Russian Roulette. After some soul searching he decides to play the game.

1. Is he doing it because he is afraid of the gamblers? Most people would probably say no.

2. Is his decision a “bold” one to help the financial condition of his family? Most people would probably say yes.”

“Yet, even if most people chose option #2 and only a minority chose #1, one could not state that most Americans support this man’s decision to play Russian Roulette. You would need a third question that directly asks “Is it a wise decision for this man to play Russian Roulette and do you support him doing it?” Likely, most people would say no to this question. In any event, you need option #3 to get the answer to the major question of whether this man should play Russian Roulette or not.”

ZOA President Morton A. Klein respectfully requests of ADL, “In light of the rigorous analysis performed by three distinguished statistical and mathematical scientists of the ADL poll, showing that ADL’s conclusion that most Americans support Israel’s Gaza Withdrawal Plan is invalid, the ZOA calls on Abe Foxman and ADL to stop promoting and disseminating their poll’s results and immediately issue a public retraction of their erroneous conclusion.”

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