Just 9 percent of Jewish Israelis think US President Barack Obama’s administration is more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian, according to a Smith Research poll taken this week on behalf of The Jerusalem Post.
Forty-eight percent said that the Obama presidency favored the Palestinian side, 30% said his administration was neutral and 13% chose not to express an opinion for the survey, which has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.
The poll of a representative sample of 500 Israelis was conducted on Sunday and Monday after weeks of heightened tensions between Obama and Israel, but before the crisis intensified during Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House.
Respondents who consider themselves right-wing were more likely than the rest of the population to characterize the Obama administration as more pro-Palestinian (72%). Those who define themselves as left-wing were more likely to call the administration in Washington more pro-Israel (16%).
The number of Israelis who see Obama’s policies as pro-Israel has risen from 4% in the last Smith Research poll taken on behalf of the Post in August. In that poll, 51% of Jewish Israelis said Obama’s administration was more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israel, while 35% considered it neutral and 10% declined to express an opinion.
A widely reported Post poll published on June 19 that put the first figure at 6% had been cited by top officials in both the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office as a catalyst for American efforts to improve the American-Israeli relationship. Taken shortly after Obama reached out to the Muslim world in a landmark address in Cairo on June 14, that poll found that 50% of those sampled considered the administration’s policies more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israeli, and 36% said the policies were neutral. The remaining 8% did not express an opinion.
Obama fared better among Israelis in a May 17 Post poll, on the eve of the first White House meeting between Netanyahu and Obama. Then, 31% labeled Obama pro-Israel, 14% considered him pro-Palestinian, 40% said he was neutral, and 15% declined to give an opinion.
The May poll found that Israelis’ views of Obama’s predecessor in the Oval Office, George W. Bush, were nearly the opposite. Some 88% of Israelis considered Bush’s administration pro-Israel, 7% said he was neutral and just 2% labeled him pro-Palestinian.
Obama had appeared to receive much better numbers in a Dialog poll published last Friday in Haaretz. Both the English and Hebrew editions of Haaretz led with the headline, “Poll: Most Israelis see Obama as fair, friendly toward Israel.”
The English edition elaborated near a picture of Obama that “69% say Obama is fair and friendly.”
The English edition of the newspaper contained no graphics distributing the actual numbers, either online or in print. The newspaper’s Hebrew edition, however, included a graphic indicating that just 18% of respondents considered Obama “friendly” toward Israel, 3 percentage points fewer than the 21% who called the US president “hostile” to the Jewish state. Ten percent did not know, and 51% defined Obama’s approach to Israel using the Hebrew word “inyani,” which can be translated as matter-of-fact or businesslike but not as fair.
The Post reported on Monday that Haaretz’s pollster, Tel Aviv University Prof. Camil Fuchs, called the way the results of the poll were presented “misleading.”
Haaretz English Edition editor Charlotte Halle responded that
“Haaretz published a fair and accurate representation of the survey
conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs at the request of Haaretz. Any attempt
to claim otherwise by another newspaper is false.”
CNN poll conducted on March 19-21 and released on Tuesday found that
39% of Americans see Israel as an ally, while another 41% consider
Israel friendly to the US but not an ally. Twelve percent said they
consider Israel unfriendly and 5% said Israel is an enemy.
CNN survey was conducted through telephone interviews with 1,030 adult
Americans. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage