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July 10, 2017 10:54 am

The Truth About the Drop in Israel Support Among US Jewish College Students

avatar by Fern Oppenheim

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Northwestern University’s Hillel building. Photo: Hillel.

In the June 23 edition of The Algemeiner, Leonard Saxe disputed the results of Brand Israel Group’s (BIG) recent study, which showed a marked loss of support for Israel among American Jewish college students.

Mr. Saxe also criticized the way that BIG released its findings, claiming that we said nothing about how the sample was chosen, the questions written or the data analyzed. He has also made similar allegations about our research and methodology in other media outlets.

Here are the facts.

Brand Israel Group is comprised of a team of high-level marketing executives who volunteer their time to analyze Israel’s image in the US, to understand the barriers that prevent Americans from relating to Israel, and to develop communications strategies and efforts to overcome those barriers. We have no agenda, and no association with any other organization. The leaders of BIG founded the not-for-profit more than 10 years ago in order to use our professional skills to help Israel and the Jewish people. We ourselves are not researchers, but have always hired top level research firms to conduct studies on the issues that we deal with.

In the case of our most recent study, we hired the Global Strategy Group (GSG) to conduct the survey. GSG is one of the most prominent public opinion research firms in the United States. They have conducted opinion research for hundreds of distinguished clients, ranging from multi-national non-profits to government officials and Fortune 100 companies.

Here is their statement on the methodology utilized for our study:

Global Strategy Group fielded an online national survey of 1,000 US adults and additional oversamples as follows: 200 African Americans, 200 Hispanics, 266 Jewish adults, 618 college students, and 400 Jewish college students from September 23rd to October 31st, 2016. Participants were recruited via online panels and compensated for their participation in the study.

Jewish college student participants came from 282 different colleges and self-identified as undergraduate Jewish sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the 2016-2017 academic year.

Care was taken to ensure that the geographic and demographic makeup of these populations  were properly represented by the survey’s respondents based on available data.

We fully stand behind the results of this important study.

Leonard Saxe has never seen the research that he is publicly denigrating. And while he accuses us of not showing our research methodology, it is included in both our presentation and the executive summary that we provided.

Mr. Saxe asserts that the majority of Jewish college students are still connected to Israel — and indeed, our research confirms that 57% of Jewish college students do support the Jewish state. However, that 57% represents a decline of fully a third, from 84% in 2010.

Under these circumstances, it is nothing short of irresponsible for Saxe to disparage legitimate research, and try to convince the community that there is no problem, when a concerted communal effort to offset this negative trend is clearly indicated.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • Abelardy

    I don’t know if the survey is biased or fair. I don’t want to disregard it just because I find the conclusions unpleasant. So, what are the real facts?

  • Lonesome Whistle

    Jewish students are brainwashed by Leftist professors, and are also less supportive of Israel because papers like The Algemeiner refuse to allow even COMMENTS critical of Leftists who are allied against Israel.

  • wago

    I couldn’t find a link to the methodology. Still cannot. And the limited data in your article is insufficient. Are the 400 Jewish college students part of the 618? Or are the 618 definitively non-Jewish? Was there any exploration of the “self-identified” Jews? e.g., were the Bar/t Mitzvah, do the belong to a synagogue and/or Hillel, have they been to Israel, is Zionism central to their identity as Jews etc.

    I’m not saying all questions would need to be answered in the affirmative. I am saying that anti-Zionist activists, including many non-Jews, are clever enough to skew your survey by misrepresenting themselves knowing how few Jews are out there.

    Additionally, your results have not been replicated elsewhere. As far as i know, it’s still a stand-alone poll. There remain many unanswered questions, Ms. Oppenheimer. And your piece only raises more