Thursday, April 14, 2011

MJ Rosenberg Plays With Numbers

Having finished lambasting Richard Goldstone, MJ Rosenberg is back again to talk about how a Palestinian unilateral declaration of statehood is a good thing, even though it might put all of Israel into rocket range. Okay, he didn't actually say that last part, it is implied. I do not feel like there needs to be more discussion about unilateral statehood, but instead I am going to focus on this strongest claim, the headline, "Poll Shows U.S. Public Evenly Divided on Unilateral Palestinian State." Let's go to Rosenberg's evidence:
"The American people seem to be getting it. According to a poll released Monday by the right-wing Israel Project, only 51% of Americans oppose a unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence. 54% favor a Palestinian state achieved through negotiations.
"For those familiar with polling on matters relating to Israelis and Palestinians, the results are startling. The percentage of support for the Israeli position is usually in the high 70s, while support for the Palestinians is in the teens. Suddenly there is a major shift, and this in a poll sponsored by an organization that clearly did not want to see findings like these."
 Like we have said before, there are lies, damn lies and statistics. In this case Mr. Rosenberg is relying on a newspaper article, but we went right to the Israel Project's website (linked by a HuffPoster) and here's what we found:

Mr. Rosenberg made the classic mistake of: "If 51% are against it, that must be 49% are for it!" But as you can see in the results from the very same source that he used, this is not the case. A majority of Americans are against a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. But Mr. Rosenberg is spinning these results to indicate something quite different, that Americans are "split." They aren't, and it's not what I would call a "major shift" either.

And in fact if you read more in the Israel Project's results, you will find that his second paragraph is also misleading. He claims that support for Israel is usually in the 70s while support for the Palestinians is in the teens. Is this correct? we can see in this projection, support for Israel is usually between the 50s and 60s, only passing 70% once in the last nine years. Support for the Palestinians has been in single digits, which in my mind seems too low. But again, the Israel Project's results were good enough for Mr. Rosenberg in his article, so it's good enough for me. Too bad they weren't good enough to be skewed, though.


  1. A born liar.

    Good ol' MJ Rosenberg never actually links to his source. When you actually go to the trouble to look it up, it tells a different story from the one he's selling.

    That's sleazy and unethical. But that he's allowed to remain as a blogger on the HP says it all.

  2. Off topic,

    Can anyone find anything about the Italian activist kidnapped in Gaza?
    Tried to look in the world section but cant find anything.
    I managed to find an article in the Huff-Post using google however.

    Looks like they are burying it deep deep somewhere.


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