UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

YouGov excludes Israel from its “global community” – for now

YouGov, a market research company co-founded by UK Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, calls itself a global data company. It invites you to “join millions of others in sharing your opinion on politics, sport, entertainment and more.”   Members of YouGov get the chance to earn points for answering questions, which can be converted into cash.

YouGov says: “At the heart of our company is a global online community, where millions of people and thousands of commercial and cultural organizations engage in a continuous conversation about their beliefs, behaviours and brands.”

But if you happen to live in Israel, you are not invited to join this global community.

Although YouGov operates in over 70 countries around the world, from Algeria, Argentina and Australia to Columbia, India,  Romania, Vietnam and Western Sahara,  it does not operate in Israel. It  owns a Middle Eastern organsation which covers 21 countries, but Israel is not amongst them.  If you try to register, and say that you live in Israel, there is no Israel option – although there is an option to say you live in the Palestinian Territories.

UK Lawyers for Israel wrote to YouGov’s other co-founder and CEO, Stephan Shakespeare, to ask why Israeli were not able to become YouGov members, and share their opinions in return for points, convertible into cash.

Shakespeare explained “YouGov currently has panels in 50 markets and where we develop panels is entirely based on where we have a commercial imperative, not because we are more or less interested in the communities. Indeed I personally am very interested, and was once on the board of Conservative Friends of Israel. My co-founder, now the education minister, Nadhim Zahawi, was also a member of CFI.

We would be delighted to do work for businesses and even government in Israel, which would then entail actively building a panel there.

I also assure you that Israel will certainly be included in the next phase of building a truly global panel. Your concerns have been forwarded to the appropriate teams internally who are reviewing and updating the list of countries and languages available on our registration page to include Israel.

We are building a new platform that allows people to participate from any territory, and Israel will be in the first group of countries we are preparing this for. That new platform does not require customers to get it going.”

Caroline Turner, director of UKLFI commented:  “We were surprised that Israel was left off the list of countries, when the Palestinian Territories were included, as this appeared to be an example of discrimination against both Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs.  However, we are pleased that now that this issue has been highlighted to YouGov Israelis will soon be able to participate.”

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