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May 13, 2011

Polls Reveal Strong Support for Israel in American Jewish Community

Polls of American Jewish opinion on Israel demonstrate that American Jews continue to strongly support Israel. The surveys, conducted under the auspices of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and published in March and October 2010, also highlight the disagreement most American Jews have with the positions taken by organizations like J Street who advocate increased American pressure on Israel to make concessions. The fact that self-identifying Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 3 to 1 among the survey respondents refutes any notion that support for Israel has softened among Jewish Democrats.

The American Jewish Committee's Survey of American Jewish Opinion is usually conducted annually to gauge American Jewish attitudes towards Israel. The surveys refute claims disseminated by some in the media that Jewish support for Israel is waning in America. 3 out of 4 respondents felt very close or somewhat close to Israel, a figure slightly up from ten years ago. Responses to most questions produced similar results as prior years.

By over 2 to 1 (62 to 27 percent) American Jews surveyed for the October poll approve of the way Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is handling Israeli-American relations. Some 49 percent approve of President Barack Obama's handling of Israeli-American relations with a disapproval figure of 45 percent. President Obama's approval numbers have declined since the March 2010 survey (55 percent in March) and his disapproval numbers have risen (37 percent in March).

By large majorities, American Jews oppose any division of Jerusalem (60 to 35 percent), believe that the real Arab goal is to destroy Israel (76 to 20 percent) and are convinced that no peace agreement is possible with Hamas (82 to 14 percent).

These results repudiate the political stance championed by J Street and contradict the group's claim to represent the views of mainstream American Jews. J Street supports the division of Jerusalem, welcomes the new Fatah-Hamas unity government because it believes it is necessary to bring Hamas into the process and is highly critical of Prime Minister Netanyahu. All of these positions are rejected by the majority of respondents.

J Street has repeatedly pointed to the settlements as a crucial obstacle to a peace settlement with the Palestinians. While J Street does support retaining some settlements, it is strongly critical of efforts to sustain them and Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, opposing even measures to accomodate natural growth and believes that Israel should make up for any land it keeps in the West Bank by ceding an equal amount of Israeli territory. The AJC survey indicates that 93 percent of the respondents think that Israel should either keep all the settlements or dismantle just some.

Most significantly, American Jews attach great importance to Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state (95 percent). Clearly any political platform that seeks to brush aside this requirement is out of step with the American Jewish public.

The AJC survey, and others like it, are important to disseminate in order to provide the public with an accurate portrayal of mainstream American Jewry's opinions about Israel and the peace process.

(an earlier version incorrectly described the survey as having been conducted in 2011)

Posted by SS at May 13, 2011 11:05 AM


the link you provide is to the 2010 survey and all the data is from March 2010.

i'll wait for the more recent survey

Posted by: jack at May 13, 2011 02:26 PM

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