Jews-only polls on matters relevant to the entire Israeli public and polls that present Jews-only polls as representing the views of the entire Israeli public constitute discrimination against the country’s Arab population, Israeli Press Council’s Ethics Court rules.
By Oren Persico
Excluding Israel’s Arab population from public opinion polls on matters of politics and policy is ethically unacceptable, according to a ruling by an appeals tribunal of the Israeli Press Council’s Ethics Court earlier this month. The ruling overturned an earlier decision that said publishing Jews-only public opinion polls on matters relevant to the entire Israeli public was ethically acceptable. It has long been common practice among mainstream Israeli media outlets to exclude Arab citizens of Israel from public opinion polls.
The Press Council’s Ethics Tribunal found Israel Hayom, the Israeli newspaper funded by Sheldon Adelson, and Ynet, the web version of the Yedioth Aharonot newspaper, to be in violation of the Press Council’s ethics code for publishing exclusionary opinion polls. The Council also ruled that both Israel Hayom and Ynet have a week to publicize their violations of the Council’s ethics code.
For over three years, the Seventh Eye has tracked the publication of “apartheid polls,” public opinion polls that represent the views of Jews only on matters relevant to the entire Israeli public. Following criticism of this practice, several major publications that previously published Jews-only polls — including Haaretz, Army Radio, Globes (a business paper), Channel 10 News, and Channel 2 News — agreed to cease publishing such polls, or to at least report on the polls in a way that makes it clear that they represent the views of solely the Jewish Israeli public. Other publications ignored the criticism and continued to publish Jews-only polls.
Roughly a year and a half ago, Yair Tarchitsky, chairman of the Israeli Union of Journalists and a member of the Press Council’s directorate, initiated a change in the Council’s ethics code to formally prohibit the publication of discriminatory polls in Israeli media outlets. Though the change was accepted by the Press Council in 2016, numerous outlets continued, nevertheless, to publish Jews-only polls. In response, attorney Elad Man, legal advisor to the NGO Hatzlaha and chairman of the Seventh Eye, filed a complaint with the Press Council against six media outlets that published Jews-only polls: the Adelson-funded Israel Hayom, Yedioth Aharonot, Basheva (a religious-nationalist tabloid), Maariv, and The Jerusalem Post....Read More