Monday, March 15, 2021

  • Monday, March 15, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Last October, the UK-based Save the Children organization issued a report about Palestinian children detained by Israel.

Its press release and headline says:

It goes on to say:

81% [of children] endured physical beatings and 89% suffered verbal abuse.
52% were threatened with harm to their families.
86% were subjected to strip searches, leaving them humiliated and ashamed.
88% did not receive adequate and timely healthcare, even when explicitly requested.
These are very specific statistics, with no caveat, in the press release. A respected NGO is telling the world that  81% of detained kids get beaten by Israeli soldiers and more than half were threatened with hurting their families.

Sounds pretty bad.

But the actual report has this curious paragraph:

It is important to note that this research provides insight based on a specific sample of the population in the West Bank. Save the Children recognises that it is not a statistically significant or representative sample. As the report intentionally presents children’s experience from their own perspective, it is also important to note that incidents they mention have not been independently verified by Save the Children; however, available data from other sources is provided to support the information that children reported. The intention is that this survey will provide a springboard for further in-depth consultation with children and young people across the West Bank about the resounding impact of detention on their lives, in order to inform policy, donor funding decisions, and the support that Save the Children and others provide for Palestinian children and their communities.
In short, you know those statistics that were in the press release? They are lies. They are statistics based on a sample of  "children" (many interviewed years later) who were primed by the NGO to say what the adults wanted them to say. "Did they beat you? Did they threaten you? Did they blindfold you? Did they torture you?"

Nowhere does the report even hint that the interviewers had any expertise in asking non-leading questions, or that there was even a goal of eliciting truthful and accurate answers. 

These statistics were of a highly selective sample of interviewees, naturally weighted towards those who would have juicy stories to tell or vivid imaginations. It was not a random sample of detainees. Kids who were detained for a couple of hours and released without incident are far less likely to have been sought out and questioned.

By presenting the statistics as being specific and accurate, Save the Children has shown that it is more a propaganda outfit than an objective organization. The entire study was created to come to a foregone conclusion, and it succeeded. The only victim is the State of Israel, and who cares if they are treated fairly or not? They are already assumed to be evil child beaters, so there is no reason to spend any effort to find out anything otherwise.  

More evidence of bias comes from the fact that many of the accusations given in the report should not have happened after June 2018, when the IDF issued a new set of standards for minors in custody, including their being informed of their rights to a lawyer in their language during questioning and treating everyone under 18 as a minor (it used to be 16.) . The dates of the incidents from the interviews are not given so it seems likely that many of the stories came from before that date - and Save the Children does not even mention these new standards once.  

NGO Monitor came out with many more issues with the report.

This report has no relationship with the truth, and it shows that Save the Children lies. 

(h/t Adin)

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