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Who were the participants of the experiments?

Reader comment on item: Arabs, Israelis, and Underdogs

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Apr 1, 2009 at 15:16

Having read Dr. Pipes review of the study and his comments I am a little puzzled. I miss a crucial variable in it - the mysterious 'participants'. Probably in the study they are defined and characterized more precisely and objectively. But when I read "Participants were asked ..." I cannot but ask "Who were they? What criteria were applied for selecting them? What was their background ? " Choosing wrong people might yield any imaginable result - in favor or against Israel irrespective of what sector and size of the map and graphs one confronts 'the participants' with.

This difficulty is reinforced by the notorious fact that the Arab-Israeli conflict has been massively present for more than sixty years in the world media (and it will be present for the next century at least). I remember as a little child I heard and watched the loud stories and high running emotions around the Yom Kipur war, the Camp David process, the Iraeli-Egyptian "peace" and a plethora of other propganda stuff (usually against Israel which after 1968 was not spared vilification in the Socialist camp). I found it so exotic, so remote and yet I felt it must have been important if so many people felt so strongly about it.

I know I was, objectively speaking, influenced as millions were and are now. I even wonder if among all the conscious and rational human beings there is a single person who hasn't been somehow influenced, biased, forced by the parties to form his or her opinions (or assume someone else's) on the conflict? In this life-and-death struggle of the Jews against Islam one can hardly remain indifferent and objective. Manipulating emotions and sympathies with help of zooming in or out maps and statistics charts presupposes an impossible thing - a human being unifluenced before the experiment by this major permanent conflict.

Submitting....

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Daniel Pipes replies:

I provided a link to the full study and you can read about the participants there.

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