Fern Oppenheim

The not-funny, true data on Jewish college students

Standing by the results of a study that shows a sharp drop in Israel support among Jews on campus

The Times of Israel, June 28, Leonard Saxe is described as “laughing off” the loss of support by Jewish college students identified in Brand Israel Group’s recent study, and calling the research unreliable. He has made similar allegations about our research and its methodology in other media outlets. This is to set the record straight regarding the rigorous way the study was conducted and the credibility of its very serious findings.

Brand Israel Group is comprised of a team of high level marketing executives who volunteer their time to explore Israel’s image in the U.S., understand the barriers that prevent Americans from relating to Israel, and develop communications strategies and plans to overcome those barriers. We have no agenda, and no association with any organization. We founded this not-for-profit over a decade ago in order to use our considerable professional skills to help the State of Israel and the Jewish people. We ourselves are not researchers, but have always hired top level research firms to conduct studies on the products and issues we have dealt with.

And in the case of our most recent study, we hired 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 U.S. 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 presentation he is laughing off. And while he accuses us of not showing our methodology, it is included in both our presentation and the executive summary we provide.

He asserts that the majority of Jewish college students are connected to Israel and indeed our research confirms that 57% of Jewish college students 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.

About the Author
Fern Oppenheim is the co-founder of Brand Israel Group and the President of Applied Marketing Innovations, a marketing firm she founded to provide consulting support to pro-Israel organizations.
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