Israeli Arabs Largely Reject Henriette Chacar’s ‘Context’ on Israeli Arabs

Henriette Chacar, who once praised anti-Israel comedian John Oliver as “doing a better job providing context than seasoned journalists,” this week demonstrated what passes for context by her standards.

In her July 27 Reuters article about how Israeli Arabs are (largely) staying away from the domestic Israeli protests, Chacar claimed: “Largely self-identifying as Palestinian, they have long pondered their place in politics, balancing their heritage with Israeli nationality” (“Arabs in Israel stay on sidelines of raging democracy battle,” Emphasis added.)

In fact, polling data shows that the opposite is true. Israeli Arabs largely do not  identify as Palestinians. A 2019 Israel Democracy Institute report found that only 13 percent of surveyed identify as Palestinian (“Jews and Arabs: Conditional Partnership“).

Other surveys have similar findings. For example, a 2017 study by Arik Rudnitzky and Itamar Radai found that only 8.9 percent of Israeli Arabs identify as “Palestinian in Israel/Palestinian citizen in Israel” and 15.4 percent identify as “Palestinian” (“Citizenship, Identity and Political Participation . . . ” p. 22).

A third study, conducted in 2020 by Camille Fuchs of Tel Aviv University, found only 7 percent of non-Jewish people in Israel identify as Palestinian. Similar findings are apparent in the 2017 Shaharit survey.

CAMERA has contacted Reuters, requesting current credible polling data substantiating Chacar’s claim that Israeli Arabs’ self-identification as Palestinian has profoundly grown in the last three years, from less than 15 percent (at best) to well over 70 percent (as “largely” indicates on the whole).

If such substantiation does exist, then the information would indeed be a great scoop representing a significant new phenomenon. If it doesn’t, a correction is in order.

Stay tuned for updates.

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