Six months after a particularly egregious incident in which Georgie Anne Geyer leveled a bogus and inflammatory statement concerning Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the nationally-syndicated columnist once again has made an unsubstantiated statement. On Nov. 8, 2002, CAMERA emailed Geyer and Lee Salem, her editor at Universal Press Syndicate, requesting documentation for her latest questionable claim. Neither Geyer nor Salem provided the requested information.
Dear Ms. Geyer:
I am writing about an unsubstantiated claim concerning Palestinians which was published in your column last week. The questionable statement, which appeared in the Columbus Dispatch, the News Journal of Wilmington, and perhaps others, is: “Yet polls and surveys show that the Israeli people and the Palestinian people want peace.”
You go on to cite the evidence that the Israeli people want peace: “In recent polls in the Israeli paper Yedioth Ahronoth, 60 percent of the Israelis polled favored beginning peace talks with the Palestinians now, and 78 percent favored dismantling some settlements in the framework of a peace agreement. A poll in the newspaper Ma’ariv even found that 49 percent of the rightest Likud members supported the evacuation of illegal settlements, and a third were willing to give up all settlements.”
Where are the details concerning the surveys and polls which supposedly indicate that the Palestinian people want peace? Recent polls from a prominent Palestinian polling agency show just the opposite. The Sept. 21-25, 2002 poll from the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center reveals that 64.3 percent of Palestinians strongly support or somewhat support continuing suicide bombing attacks against Israeli civilians. This statistic hardly reflects peaceful aspirations.
Exactly which surveys and polls did you have in mind as evidence that the Palestinian people want peace? We urge you to send out a correction if such polls are not available.
We hope you will address this matter promptly and that contentious public attention will be avoided.
Senior Research Analyst
CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America)