US Jews strongly support Israel, new poll shows

94% say that if Jewish state "no longer existed tomorrow," it would be a "tragedy."

By JORDANA HORN, JPOST CORRESPONDENT
May 23, 2011 00:42
3 minute read.
Obama addresses the 2011 AIPAC conference

Obama AIPAC 311 . (photo credit: Screenshot)

NEW YORK – A new poll of the American Jewish community finds deep and ongoing support for Israel, contradicting recent speculation that American Jews were becoming disaffected with the Jewish state.

The poll of over 1,000 American Jews, conducted on May 16 and 17 by Frank Luntz of Frank Luntz Global, on behalf of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, shows commitment to Israel and its right to self-defense, and fear for its security.

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CAMERA Executive Director Andrea Levin said that there had been no recent polling on the issue and that her organization wanted to get data and examine whether or not support for Israel within the Jewish community was declining or not.

“There’s been lots of talk about fraying of support – the J Street phenomenon, Peter Beinart and others have suggested that there’s a drift and there is lots of talk about new ways to criticize Israel, and that there’s a component of the community greatly disaffected,” Levin said. “We were very happy to see empirically how strong the support is.”

Ninety-four percent of respondents said that if Israel “no longer existed tomorrow,” they would feel that was a tragedy, with nearly one in four saying they would consider such an event to be the “biggest tragedy of my lifetime.”

Eighty-five percent said that Israel is “right to take threats to its existence seriously,” and that Israel’s concerns are not irrational or overstated.

“Some news media accounts have tended to amplify a vocal fringe in the American Jewish community that espouses extreme views and politics far out of the mainstream,” Levin said. “This poll clarifies what American Jews actually feel and believe.”

Levin said “the overwhelming majority of American Jews” are aware of threats to Israel, protective of Israel and strongly opposed to boycotts against the Jewish state.

While eighty-four percent of American Jews expressed the belief that the Israeli government is committed to establishing genuine peace between Israelis and Palestinians, respondents were more skeptical of the corresponding Palestinian commitment. Seventyseven percent of respondents consider Palestinian incitement against Israel – its “culture of hatred” – to be a major obstacle to peace.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents consider it to be “very to 100% necessary” for Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and 77% say Israel should “refuse to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority until Hamas renounces terrorism and officially recognizes Israel’s right to exist.”

Thirty-four percent of respondents said that the major obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians is the Palestinian refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state.

More than two-thirds of respondents believe that a Palestinian state in the West Bank would attack Israel. Seventy-two percent fear Iran would support terrorism against Israel by the Palestinians.

Seventy-one percent of American Jews strongly oppose the boycott, divestment and sanction campaigns against Israel; 68% oppose such action focused solely on settlements.

The poll’s respondents were 58% female, 42% male, with 33% of respondents being between the ages of 50 and 64. Forty-one percent had not corresponded with an elected official or attended a political rally in the past two years.

Thirty-four percent of respondents considered themselves to be moderate liberals; 74% of respondents had voted for Barack Obama.

Fifty-seven percent had never been to Israel, and 46% reside in the Northeastern United States.

“Across the spectrum, the Jewish community is very protective of Israel, concerned and chagrined about false accusations against it,” Levin said. “Despite much of the delegitimizing campaign, the American Jewish community has seen through that and remains strong.”


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