The Israel "Threat": Making of a Myth

(Washington Post) Robert A. Levine - Here is how a public myth is born and becomes embedded in the global consciousness as a pseudo-fact even though it is incorrect and even dangerous. This one says that Europeans are turning against Israel. Since the beginning of November, world media have given wide coverage to the striking response to one question in a complex survey taken within the nations of the European Union by the European Commission. The finding, as put, for example, by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, is that: "59% of EU citizens now consider Israel the greatest 'threat to world peace.'" But that does not happen to be what the survey reports. Rather, the 59%, when asked the question, "For each of the following countries, tell me if in your opinion it presents or not a threat to peace in the world?" answered "yes" for Israel. The other top losers were Iran, North Korea, and the United States at 53%, Iraq with 52, and Afghanistan with 50. That most Europeans consider Israel, a country at war, to be a threat to peace is quite different from their believing that the Jewish state is the "greatest threat." Respondents were asked to list as many threats as they wanted; they were not asked to think hard about which they thought to be the greatest single one. In fact, the five countries gaining the disapprobation of 50% or more of Europeans are involved in combat (Israel, Iraq, the United States, Afghanistan) or are presenting the world with new nuclear challenges (North Korea, Iran). All the survey says is that most Europeans believe that countries at war are threats to world peace. Surprise!

2003-12-08 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive