The Independent obfuscates overwhelming Israeli support for Operation Protective Edge

A July 7th article by The Independent’s Ben Lynfield (Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel’s front line, still recovering from last summer’s war with Hamas) included this passage suggesting that the country was divided over Operation Protective Edge:

Debate over the [Gaza] war continues: politicians on the right have depicted it as both justified and necessary, while those on the left have questioned the damage to Israel’s international standing and its growing isolation – not least in the light of the re-election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with more MPs than before, and an even more right-wing government.

However, as polls during the war clearly indicate, Israeli support for the war was extremely strong on both the right and left.

Graphic by Vox

As Time Magazine noted about results of a poll (conducted following the war) by the respected Israeli Democracy Institute (IDI), support was strong both on the right as well as among those described as “left-leaning”.

A total of 92% of Israeli Jews agreed that Operation Protective Edge was justified, according to the monthly Peace Index poll published Tuesday by the Israel Democracy Institute, an independent think-tank, and Tel Aviv University. The survey found that even amongst self-described left-leaning Israeli Jews, 67% thought the operation was justified.

Indeed, Labour Party leader Isaac Herzog noted at the time that there was a national consensus on the war.  Even Amos Oz – best-selling Israeli writer, and iconic figure within the country’s peace camp – was supportive of the war

Interestingly, it was Lynfield himself who, in a report at The Independent on July 29th, noted the strong bipartisan Israeli support demonstrated by the IDI poll.

He wrote the following:

But despite the amount of Israeli soldier fatalities – 53 during the fighting thus far – being greater than was anticipated, public support for continuing the campaign is high. According to an Israel Democracy Institute poll released today, 95 per cent of Israeli Jews view this as a “justified’’ war. So the deaths are not perceived at this point in the conflict as having been in vain.

Whilst it is narrowly true that support was much weaker among Arab Israelis, the claim by Lynfield that “those on the left” have questioned whether it was justified and necessary is contradicted by his own previous report, and simply does not hold up to critical scrutiny.

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