Pew poll shows that Israelis more optimistic about peace than Palestinians; world sentiment on side of Palestine

May 13, 2013 • 5:42 am

A new Pew Research Global Attitudes project (pdf of full report here) shows, to my mind, dismal prospects for peace in the Middle East. Roughly a thousand people in each of 12 countries were surveyed (either face-to-face or by phone) about their attitudes towards Israel and Palestine,  the possibility of a peaceful resultion, whether Obama should do more to help forge peace, and so on. I’ll present just a few salient results.

Here’s the first, showing that Muslim countries have a much more pessimistic view of Israeli/Palestinian coexistence then do more “Western” nations:

Picture 1

Palestinians were asked the best way to achieve statehood, and the results are depresssing:

Picture 2

If one wanted to see the glass half full, I suppose you could note the 52% of Palestinians who don’t think peace will come without armed struggle, but that’s barely a majority. And although, when asked, Palestinians see Fatah more favorably than they do Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the latter two (both designated by the US as terrorist organizations) are seen favorably by about half of Palestinians:

Picture 1

As expected, the US sees Israel more favorably than other European countries (in fact, it’s the only country surveyed whose inhabitants mainly see Israel in a favorable light, although, except for Britain, European nations don’t seen Palestine much more favorably:

Picture 1

Picture 2

If there’s any hope in this, it’s the strong Israeli sentiment against the continued building of settlements on the West Bank. Predictably, the more religious Jews don’t see this as problem, but as something that enhances security (they’re wrong):

Picture 2

I’ve stated my own position on this issue many times: for a two-state solution to work, Israel must withdraw from the West Bank and dismantle the settlements. (Jerusalem will, of course, have to be shared.) And Palestine needs to stop firing rockets at Israeli civilians, while Hamas needs to remove from its charter the stuff expunging the state of Israel completely—and while they’re at that, deep-six from the charter the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Czarist forgery about the Jewish plan for world domination. It’s an insult to any thinking person that the Hamas charter presents that as a genuine document.  The preconditions for peace require that each entity recognize the other’s right to exist.

And while I’m on the soapbox, let me express my disgust at academics’ boycotting of Israel, highlighted recently by Stephen Hawking’s announcement that he’s not attending the Israeli Presidential Conference in deference to British academics’ boycott of Israel. (This is especially ironic in view of Hawking’s reliance on Israeli technology, which developed the microprocessors in his artificial-speech system).  I’m not in favor of academic boycotts (or sports boycotts) in general, because science, like sports, is an international endeavor that, to my mind, should be free from politics.

h/t: Malgorzata

57 thoughts on “Pew poll shows that Israelis more optimistic about peace than Palestinians; world sentiment on side of Palestine

  1. Gloomy about any solution. I still think one state which is secular would be best – but there are too many entrenched interests in continuing the conflict for either a two or a one state solution. This will go on indefinitely until there is some major conflagration. Unfortunatley for all concerned.

    1. I also think a secular demilitarized one state solution is invevitable where there is some type of guaranteed protection for all religions and ethnicities involved. Unfortunately, the only example in the region that closest to this is Lebanon (though not demilitarized) and thats been a disaster. It has basically disolved into religious states within states and this would probably happen in a new one state.
      The irony is that Israel seems to be the best model for a one state solution. It already has an Arab/Muslim population. Isreal only needs to declare itself completely securlar (non preferential treatment of Jews, remove symbols and judism from government, etc.) and annex the entire west bank and Gaza. Of course this would need to happen slowly as part of a roudmap but I think actually would have a chance without dissolving the Israeli institutions and relative (internal) social peace.

      1. Well, its arguably been a disaster because of external influences (i.e. Syria). And a single-state solution here will have the same problem: the bad actors surrounding it will pour money into their preferred factions and into trying to make any secular, pan-religious or non-religious state fail.

        Personally I think JAC’s solution is the approximate best one (and frankly, we’ve known this since, what, the 1970s?) But I’m pessimistic that either side wants it enough to seriously pursue it. Whatever the popular majority may answer on surveys, they are tolerating political leadership that doesn’t make peace a priority.

        1. I don’t think it will work. It will always be in Israel’s interest to keep any Palestinian state as a rump state. From the Israeli perspective one can understand it of course, especially given the context of history and the current attitudes of Palestinians and neighbours. I just cannot see a fully automonmous equally (militarized) prosperous Palestinian state living next to Israel.
          Here is some data .. 85% of Arab Israeli’s (a growing 20% of the population of Israel) want Israel to exist , and an almost equal number want it to be completely secular. Nobody seems to be talking about this one-state success, in a Jewish state no less.

            1. How will Israel maintain this majority is a real question. There is a projection that the Arab Israelis will make up 25% by the year 2025. So basically, we are talking about a baby making competition with nasty political consequences. I don’t think anybody, including most Israelis, would ever entertain population control solutions yet the “problem” remains.

              1. I don’t think anybody, including most Israelis, would ever entertain population control solutions

                What you seem to be trying to say (stripped of euphemism) is that NO Israelis, or maybe only SOME Israelis, would support a policy of genocide against the Palestinians in Palestine. I hope you’re right.

              2. @John Scanlon

                Given that a ‘baby making competition’ would probably have disastrous consequences for everybody (overpopulation), population control solutions could well be urgently necessary. This isn’t necessarily a euphemism for genocide. It could just mean a promotion of birth control, by economic or other means.
                (Family assistance for the first child, no benefits for the second, penalty tax for third or subsequent ones…) Of course it could be slanted against Israeli Arabs, even so it might be discrimination but it wouldn’t be genocide.

                Of course all sorts of blinkered religious activists oppose birth control, possibly more so on the Arab (Muslim) side than the Jewish side, I don’t know.

  2. There won’t be peace there until Jews and Palestinians have separate homelands, preferably secular. And the US needs to butt out. It is one of the main obstacles to peace. I agree with it supporting Israel against external attack but not propping them up to the extent that they can do anything they want. Israel has to give up the West Bank, settlements and share Jerusalem in one way or other.

  3. “…showing that *non-Muslim countries* have a much more pessimistic view of Israeli/Palestinian coexistence…”

    Should this read “Muslim countries”?

  4. I agree with most of what you stated, but I disagree about the West Bank. In 1948, the partitioning gave the Muslims about 75% of the territory (Jordan), but they wanted 100%, which has caused the problem over the last 65 years.

    Anyone looking at a map can see that Israel cannot exist with its middle section pinched off without the West Bank.

    1. The biggest problem all those states face is water – & who has access to the little there is. In other words, there are too many people for the land to supposrt & the numbers are going up as it seems there is a political/demographic pressure to be populous. That Israel exports fruit & other food crops like avacado, essentially means they export water, which seems insane.

      1. It is not so insane. Israel has developed desalination technology (powered by solar power mostly), technologies to water the plant with the minimal usage of water as well as reusage of waste water till quite amazing degree. A few days ago Israel decided to rise the amount of water it is delivering to Jordan according to the peace treaty between those two countries because there is enough water to do it and because Jordan need more water now, with all refugees from Syria.

  5. I was wondering when the subject of Hawking’s boycott would come up.
    Arte, the Franco-German culture TV channel, is currently broadcasting a surprise hit: Hatufim, the Israeli series Homeland is based upon.
    A couple of months ago, Arte scored another surprise hit with the TV premiere of The Gatekeepers, a documentary featuring incisive interviews of six surviving former chiefs of Shin Bet about the role of that service in the fight against terrorism and the occupied territories. The grim conclusions of those seasoned, hard-boiled security pros are bound to stun and rattle everybody.

    Like many other recent productions, both documentary and fictional, they show how intellectually vibrant, self-critical and inquisitive the Israeli public debate can be, despite everything. Those who contribute to it don’t deserve to be left alone. They don’t deserve isolation. They deserve to be engaged.
    A boycott by scientists, or artists, or any other thinking person, is unspeakably dumb.

    1. I agree the public debate is a hopeful sign.

      Problem is, a prominent conference is likely to be seen as conveying legitimacy on the Government and, by implication, its policies – which those internal critics may be vehemently opposed to. If asked, would those critics say ‘yes please come and talk to us’ or would they say ‘no, don’t give the government any PR’ ? I don’t know the answer to that.

      I can’t help but notice the similarity between this and Templeton, on which subject many here favour the ‘boycott’ approach.

  6. “I’m not in favor of academic boycotts (or sports boycotts) in general, because science, like sports, is an international endeavor that, to my mind, should be free from politics.”

    I agree with respect to academic boycotts but am less sure with respect to sporting boycotts. I don’t think a sporting boycott would do much to bring a peaceful conclusion to the conflict in this case but in other cases I think it can sometimes be helpful in achieving change. In South Africa I think that the sporting boycott was a factor in bringing an end to apartheid, for example.

    1. Sports boycotts certainly played a role in the fall of the apartheid regime. In reply to the facile `sport and politics don’t mix’ that we heard at the time, they simply were mixed. The apartheid regime exploited international sports events that did take place as pro-apartheid propaganda.

      1. International sporting events are necessarily political. Anything based on selecting a team to represent a state can’t avoid being political, given that states themselves are political creations. And that’s before you get to national leaders seeking to align themselves with any successful national side.

  7. Missing information includes what Israelis think of the Palestinians and what the participants in the survey think of the Gaza rockets and attacks on Israeli civilians. The poll seems kind of slanted to me.
    My own personal opinion is that if the Palestinians are serious about a resolution to the problem then their negotiation strategy should be to nonviolently push for a one state fully democratic secular based country. If they honestly and consistently do that then the Israelis may wake up and truly see what they may loose if that comes to pass then seriously negotiate a just two state solution. That strategy will also increase their international and UN support. Probably wishful thinking!

    1. Very wishful thinking. Palestinians likely share Arab ideas about what a state should be: Democratic, but under strict Islamic law. The mood in arab lands is currently toward a rejection of secular values.

      1. The original resistance movement , the PLO was secular (even if violent but they eventually did come around to peace) but since they were not able to achieve peace one coyld argue the current monster in Gaza (Hamas) is a result if these failures.

        1. PLO was ostensibly secular because otherwise they would not get such a support as they did get from USSR and European left. However there are plenty of evidence (videos, printed matters in Arabic) showing a deep religious undercurrent in this movement. PLO didn’t achieve peace because their leader, Jasir Arafat, rejected all peace proposals.

        2. Unrest, whether in Gaza, Egypt, Iraq, Iran or Syria – certainly seems to play into the hands of religious extremists.

  8. Amazing that there are so few ideologues piling in (What happened?)

    Jerry is of course correct on what the solution should have been — 20 or 30 years ago. I’d say 99% likely that no such settlement will occur — the demographic drive on both sides is away from anything very just. The reasonable people leave [if they can], the unreasonable have more babies and teach them well..

  9. While everybody’s entitled to an opinion, I find it very hard to stomach 60%+ unfavorability ratings towards Israel from places like Germany and France. It’s not at all surprising that the US and Russia have the highest favorability ratings, since those two countries have the largest Jewish populations outside of Israel. But it’s also kind of nauseating that the highest unfavorability ratings (in this list–I shudder to think what the views of Hungarians, Czechs, Poles, etc. would be) come from the two countries that exterminated their Jewish populations.

    I live in Germany, and many younger, lefty German intellectuals can give you all kinds of rational reasons for disapproving of Israel. And I’m sure that they believe this is an intellectually honest reaction to Israel’s policies. They certainly would have you believe this has nothing to do with their warm feelings towards Jewish people. But for most German or French people this is purely an academic problem–their parents and grandparents made sure that would be the case 70 years ago. There’s simply something slightly unsavory about the readiness of many Europeans to condemn Israel. It probably seems much more cut and dried when you aren’t Jewish yourself, don’t know any Jewish people, and regard the circumstances that led to the formation of Israel as “old history” that has nothing to do with you. It is a perfectly fine topic of conversation to bring up criticism of Israel at a dinner party in Berlin, but not so much to bring up the Nazis and Hitler. I’m one of those people who thinks the statute of limitations on this one hasn’t run out quite yet…

  10. Could it be that their distaste for Israel comes from Israel’s militaristic behaviour, not its ethnicity? i.e. Israel’s propensity to bomb / bulldoze / wall up anyone who displeases it? However you look at it, Hamas’s grotty rockets vs tanks, bulldozers and helicopter gunships is a very one-sided fight. The other things that put me right off Israel are (a) its ultra-orthodox religious element who seem to be just as bad as the fundies in the USA, and (b) Israeli supporters who try to smear the opposition with the spectre of Nazism. (As you just did, what a surprise). What Hitler did does not legitimise anything the Israelis may choose to do to Palestinians, even if Israel tries to trade on the west’s guilty conscience over it. And Hamas is stupid to bring up the subject and give them the opening. Quite possibly your lefty German intellectuals are sick of being used as a scapegoat and a pretext.

    The most favourable aspect of Israel (to an outsider) is its own internal critics (see Haaretz for some) – if Israelis are free to publicly criticise then all is not lost. Unfortunately they tend to get overshadowed by the ‘hawks’.

    1. One’s background and ethnicity has no bearing on the quality of an argument. The islamophobe card is often used in the same way by implying that one needs to be an apologist/quiet simply because one is “western”, “white” elitist and therefor indirectly responsible for drone attacks that “kills babies”. What hypocrisy!
      It is a pernicious ad homonym, it is bigoted and racist and using it disqualifies one from any serious discussion.
      It may be naïve but if we instead concentrated on the issues and arguments instead of people’s backgrounds we might actually get somewhere in the Middle East.

      1. I think you meant to say pernicious ad homophone. 🙂

        People inevitably have backgrounds because they are born at particular places and times. A large proportion of Israelis are Russians now, for example. Is it racist to mention this?

        1. No, of course not but this is not the implication here. He implies some type of cross generational guilt that should shame a modern German individual not to question any of Israel’s actions is ludicrous. A German cannot help being born into the cultural legacy anymore then an Israeli.

          1. That isn’t quite what I said, Boris, as you might realize if you look at my follow-up post. But I guess you’d rather run around throwing bombs like calling people you’ve never met on message boards “racist” than calmly read discussions.

            I would just point out, though, that while a German–or an Israeli–can’t help being born into a cultural legacy, that does not exempt them from a special responsibility for confronting it. Again, please read more carefully before casting aspersions.

            And the general point is not whether ANY Germans have the “right” to question Israel’s policies, but rather why do SO MANY Germans and French–in contrast to countries where there are significant Jewish populations–hold negative views of Israel. Don’t you think that, perhaps, this is a question worth asking? And if so, that history might be a teensy bit relevant here? Or do you deny that there is any legacy of anti-semitism in central Europe?

          2. You know, Boris, I just re-read my original post, and I don’t say ANY of the things you accuse me of saying. I really hate internet hotheads like you who scan comments looking for something they can self-righteously denounce and then fire off invectives without actually bothering to consider what’s actually been said.

            Whether or not you disagree with the actual substance of my post (which appears to have been too subtle for you to absorb), you owe me an apology for calling me a racist, hypocrite, bigot, etc. That would be the intellectually honest thing to do–but I’m not holding my breath.

    2. Your response has very little to do with what I actually wrote. I was writing about the sense of unease I sometimes feel in the context of these discussions in a culture where historical memory of the Holocaust is something that makes people feel uncomfortable. Do you live in Germany? Are you Jewish? Do you have a comparable experience that you’d like to share? You’re very welcome to share whatever feelings or experiences you have relating to the subject, but please don’t twist my words.

      For example, I never identified myself as an unreflective “Israeli supporter” (by which I assume you mean “supporter of the State of Israel,” not “supporter who is Israeli,” as your grammar implies). I am just as critical of some of the Israeli policies as the people you identify as my “opponents.” If you’d read more carefully, though, you’d have seen that what I was commenting on is the cultural difference between being an American or Israeli critic of Israel, where one might be Jewish or have close Jewish friends, and being a critic in a context where there is very little tangible contact with Jews or Jewishness (because, yes, of the Holocaust. I’m sorry if it makes you angry that I bring it up, but it was probably the most significant and horrific event of the past 100 years and it’s still relevant. Especially so with the worrying rise in European neo-fascism–unless you’d like to ignore that, too.). The most salient fact is that at even the more vocal American and Israeli critics of Israeli government policy have views that are tempered by a much more nuanced appreciation for the history and psychology involved than their European counterparts (as, for example, Jerry himself does). And my point, made at the end of my comment, is that it seems like IF you’re going to bring up criticism of Israel in a place like Germany (or France), THEN it isn’t unreasonable to also bring up the broader historical context, which most Germans would rather not do.

      And why do you say “what a surprise”? Is there something that you infer from reading my post–something about my personal identity or politics–that would make you suspect I would engage in the false equivalencies you accuse me of endorsing (but are nowhere to be found in my post)?

      I have nothing polite to say to Boris Molotov’s hyperventilating comment below accusing me of racism.

        1. So what you’re saying is that Americans have a much more accurate view of the Arab-Israeli conflict than Europeans? This, because they have more contact with Jews (whereas Europeans, I assume, have more contact with Muslims). Why this should make one group or the other more capable of judging the conflict I don’t know. I don’t usually judge a country’s actions by the citizens I’ve met.

          As for the Holocaust “it was probably the most significant and horrific event of the past 100 years” – I’d suggest that shows a certain bias on your part. More significant than the two World Wars or (in the opposite direction) the invention of the transistor/solid state electronics? More horrific than Hiroshima / Nagasaki, or the 20 million Russians who were killed in WW2, or Pol Pot’s genocide in Cambodia? (Though it really isn’t a competition). Cambodia happened in my lifetime – shouldn’t I (not being Jewish) be more concerned with that than something that happened before I was born?

          I quite agree the concentration camps (which also killed gays, gypsies and Russians, btw) should serve as a warning of what not to do;
          but not as legitimisation for anything Israel does now. Israel’s actions stand on their own.

          1. I have a real problem with any arguments that try to diminish the significance of the Holocaust, as you seem to be doing here. It was a lot more than “a warning of what not to do.” Your remark comes dangerously close to trivializing it. It was an attempt to systematically exterminate an entire group of people because of an ideology of racial superiority, carried out in the full view of the world. Those other events you mention were terrible as well, but the Holocaust was a singular event. If you can’t understand that (perhaps, as you suggest, rather crassly, because you’re not Jewish), then I can’t explain it to you any more clearly. And just BTW, I would trade all my transistors and solid state electronics to have those people back.

            Again, the crude argument that the Holocaust “justifies” Israeli government actions is something I never made, though you’re trying hard to attribute it to me.

            It may very well be the case that my gut reaction to the skewing in the polls about Israel is wrong, or at least only a part of the equation. But notice also that I never said Americans had a “much more accurate” view of the conflict, just a DIFFERENT one. Nor did I say that Americans were “more capable” of judging. You really do need to read more carefully before you reply to comments.

            1. I’m not diminishing the Holocaust, just challenging your assertion that it was *the* most significant and horrific event in the last 100 years. That’s asking to be questioned. Incidentally it wasn’t, so far as I know, ‘carried out in the full view of the world’, not that the world could have done anything about it anyway, since they were engaged at the time in total war with Germany. But it’s a very good excuse for guilt-tripping people who had nothing to do with it – such as the young Germans who (you say) aren’t too keen to discuss it when you bring it up. Nor would I be if it was in my country’s recent history.

              And _you_ made the link between the Holocaust, and criticism of Israel. “kind of nauseating that the highest unfavourability ratings… come from countries that exterminated their Jewish populations”. Rather strong language. So what’s your remedy – that people lay off Israel because of the Holocaust? I can’t see what else your comment implies. Though I didn’t attribute it to you – until now.

              You make these implications and then back off when challenged. Stop patronisingly accusing _me_ of not reading carefully enough.

  11. I doubt this conflict will be resolved in the next few decades if ever. I’m really tempted to recommend that the US offer citizenship to any Israelis that want to escape the conflict and are willing to give up any claim to the land, and that the surrounding countries (Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon) offer citizenship to any Palestinians that want to escape and are willing to give up claims to the land. Then everyone can wash their hands of the whole region and let them fight knowing that everyone who dies there made their choice.

      1. Thank you for your insightful and enlightening counter-argument. It is rare that a post so clearly demonstrates understanding of and engagement with an argument, assumes the best possible interpretation rather than a convenient strawman, and totally refutes that argument. You post has truly made the internet a better place.

  12. A more disturbing interpretation of the 2nd graph is that 67% of Palestinians see armed struggle as a primary way to statehood, or as one of the primary ways. A graph that I really would like to see on the report, is how many Palestinians envision the Palestinian state they are striving to win for themselves as a West Bank + Gaza combination, and how many claim the entire territory between Jordan river and the Mediterranean Sea. Considering that 61% of Palestinians believe that peaceful coexistence with Israel is impossible, it’s probably somewhere above 50%-60% as well, if not higher. That result may give a better understanding into whether the conflict can actually be solved. The core of the conflict is that Palestinians believe that Jews had unjustly stolen their land. However, if most Palestinians claim that Israel proper shouldn’t belong to Jews either, then giving Palestinians all of West Bank, Gaza, and half of Jerusalem, even unencumbered by any Israeli checkpoints or settlements, won’t solve the conflict. If a majority of Palestinians supports violence, and a majority supports getting rid of the Jewish state, rockets will continue to be launched into Israel, and from much better West Bank positions that are closer to major population centers. A Palestinian government, whatever organization will end up running it, may change their charter on paper, recognize Israel officially, or promise not to launch the rockets, but they will be unwilling to go against the popular sentiment and won’t really try to stop the smaller groups from attacking Israel. This would be partially rooted in democracy (remember, HAMAS was democratically elected), but also the Palestinian government will find it much easier to blame Israel for the their country’s ills than actually governing.

    Personally, I think the conflict is unsolvable in the near future, and the only ones who can make real progress are the Palestinians themselves. They can start by stopping brainwashing their children into thinking that all Jews are the devil spawn, recognizing Israel as Jewish state, and accepting Palestinian living in refugee camps abroad into West Bank.

  13. It’s very shameful for you Jerry, to suggest that because Hawking uses a device developed by the Israelis then he must never disagree with any of their policies.

    1. Professor Coyne never suggested anything like what you impute to him. Professor Hawking didn’t want to criticize Israel – he was free to do it both from his home and from the podium in Israel. He wanted to boycott Israel, but only in such areas which are not inconvenient to him. There is a difference between criticising and boycotting which should be obvious.

      1. I see no difference between criticising and boycotting, they both indicate disapproval. If Hawking had criticised Israel as you, Malgorzata, suggest, would you have been happy or would you have found some other reason to attack him?

        If Hawking had attended a conference in Israel, you can be sure the Israeli government would have used the occasion for favourable publicity. (Why wouldn’t the State Department ever let US scientists attend conferences in the USSR? Same reason.) So in that sense such occasions can’t be divorced from politics and never can be. Very similar to physicists working for Templeton, really.

        On the original point – I’ve got Chinese-made components in my computer and so, almost certainly, has Stephen Hawking and so has Jerry Coyne. Does that mean we can’t express our disapproval of Chinese policy if we so choose? It’s a spurious argument.

        1. I know that English is my third language and I cannot know it as well as you do. However in my both other languages there is a huge difference between “criticize” and “boycott”. All English dictionaries show the difference as well, not to mention children on the playground who know very well the difference between “You are throwing this ball all wrong” and “You are awful. Nobody will play with you anymore”.

          1. I wasn’t criticising your English. The actions are different but, in this context, I would suggest the effect of them is the same – to indicate disapproval of Israel’s current policies. I don’t see that the difference is relevant in this case.

            Dr Coyne suggested Hawking was being hypocritical since some of his speech processor is Israeli made. Obviously this charge could equally be levelled if he had merely criticised Israel. (In both cases I would totally disagree on the grounds that our political views should not be constrained by the bits of technology we use).

            Please note this was the Israeli *Presidential* Conference – what could be more political than that?

            1. It didn’t cross my mind that you were criticizing my English. The shoe was on the other foot: I tried to subtly express my wonder that a native English speaker didn’t know the different meaning of those two words and concepts.

              And, for the records: President Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, a staunch proponent of peace treaty with Palestinians, organizes such conferences every year. This year it was bigger, because it coincided with President’s 90th birthday. Year after year representatives of Palestinians are participating in those conferences.

              1. I see he shared the Nobel with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, for what that’s worth. Though the aim of the conference seems to be future-gazing rather than anything that specifically addresses the current troubles.

                But it is a presidential conference and Perez is currently president of a country whose administration is behaving (in many peoples’ view) in anything but a peaceful way. In that circumstance Stephen Hawking’s attendance, as with all the other prominent speakers, could be seen as implicit endorsement of Israel’s current policies.

                Whatever the arguments for or against Stephen Hawking’s attendance, though, the origin of the chips in his computer are, I suggest, irrelevant. Would it make any difference if he swapped them out for, say, Spanish ones?

                Not to worry, they’ve still got Tony Blair. ; )

              2. Below is a definition of “boycott” from Oxford Dictionary. If you want to express your disapproval in such a drastic action as boycott, you should be consistent. Retaining what is convenient (in Prof. Hawking’s case not only the chip but also 3 million dollar prize he accepted a few month ago from Yuri Milner, a supporter of Israel and a major investor in Israeli start-ups) smacks of hypocrisy.
                [with object]
                • withdraw from commercial or social relations with (a country, organization, or person) as a punishment or protest: we will boycott all banks which take part in the loans scheme
                • refuse to buy or handle (goods) as a punishment or protest: an advert urges consumers to boycott the firm’s coffee
                • refuse to cooperate with or participate in (a policy or event): most parties indicated that they would boycott the election
                • a punitive ban on relations with other bodies, cooperation with a policy, or the handling of goods: a boycott of the negotiations

              3. You can keep fiddling with dictionary definitions all night if you like. I’m not contradicting you and I know the meaning of the words perfectly well. I just think it’s irrelevant in the circumstances, as is your attempt to try and make some distinction.

                As is your attempt to try and label Prof Hawking a hypocrite. This is getting old.

  14. I would add that Israel should move there checkpoints to the Israeli borders. And stop wall building encroachment. Other than that Jerry is spot on.

  15. “If one wanted to see the glass half full, I suppose you could note the 52% of Palestinians who don’t think peace will come without armed struggle, but that’s barely a majority.”

    What does this mean? How is the glass half full? Is there an extra negative there? And note the answer of “A combination” includes violence. So is this supposed to read:

    “If one wanted to see the glass half full, I suppose you could note the 33% of Palestinians who don’t think that the best way to achieve statehood involve violent struggle, but that’s barely a third.”

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