For months, even years, the media have been feeding us gloomy reports about how
American Jews are becoming disenchanted with Israel, alleging that indifference
and even hostility were rampant.
Misnamed “pro-peace, pro- Israel”
organizations like J Street claimed to have achieved dramatic inroads among
young people allegedly alienated by “right-wing Israeli policies” or the
“hawkish” pro-Israel lobby. This theme has been repeated so frequently that it
became ingrained in the public consciousness.
The findings of two recent
opinion polls conclusively demonstrate that these assertions are
The American Jewish Committee survey just released clearly
reveals that American Jews remain overwhelmingly supportive of Israel (69
percent stating that they felt close to it).
Amazingly, the majority
(62%) even support the left’s bogeyman, “right-wing” Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu – a 5% increase since the last poll taken in March. Support for
Netanyahu would have been even higher had it not been for opposition from some
hard-line Orthodox respondents who presumably felt that he was too accommodating
toward US President Barack Obama.
Ironically, American Jewish approval of
Netanyahu today is higher than that of Obama, whose approval rating on the issue
of USIsrael relations has sunk to as low as 49% with 45% disapproving of his
performance. The rapid plummet of Jewish support for Obama – 78% of whom voted
for him during the elections – is indicated by his dramatic decline since the
March AJC poll which then showed a 55% approval rating and 37%
This confirms that many American Jews were shocked with the
public disagreements and shameful manner in which Obama treated Israel and now
regret having voted for him. Nor were they impressed with his superficial charm
offensive toward Israel which failed to overcome their suspicion that he intends
to continue acting in a biased manner and applying double standards toward
Israel. In contrast to Kadima, American Jews blame Obama, not Netanyahu, for the
erosion of USIsrael relations.
That only 51% support Obama’s reelection
is unprecedentedly low for Jews who traditionally have overwhelmingly supported
the Democratic Party. Indeed it represents a sea change with as many as 33% of
American Jews responding that the nation would be better off with a Republican
THERE ARE of course caveats to this. The anti-Obama
mood of the Jewish community also reflects the broad American resentment of his
handling of other issues, especially the administration’s failure to restore the
American Jewry’s long-standing commitment to liberalism still
inhibits most of them from severing their political umbilical cord with the
Democratic Party. Thus, while in reply to one question they condemn Obama’s
approach toward Israel, in another response 49% still approve of his
administration’s handling of US-Israel relations, while 45%
Moreover, despite clearly resenting most of his policies, 51%
still gave him an overall positive rating.
The confusion is exemplified
by the fact that a majority of Jews (52%) even support the controversial Arizona
law to curb illegal immigration, with only 46% opposing it.
is indisputable that there has been dramatic erosion in Jewish support for Obama
and his administration. David Harris, the CEO of the National Jewish Democratic
Council (not to be confused with David Harris of the AJC), conceded that most
Jewish voters are traditionally inclined towards the Democratic Party, but “need
to be comfortable that their candidates support Israel” before “they move on to
Another falsehood exposed is the repeated assertion by the
media and left-wing academics that Jews at the grassroots level are far more
dovish than their allegedly hawkish leaders.
The survey indicates that
the reverse applies.
The AJC survey reports that 95% of American Jews
believe that the Palestinians should be required to recognize Israel as a Jewish
state; 76% believe that the goal of the Arabs is the destruction of Israel
rather than return of the occupied territories; 60% say Israel should not agree
to any division of Jerusalem and must retain it as a united city under Israeli
jurisdiction, while only 35% are in favor of ceding sections of the city to the
Palestinians; and 70% support Israeli military action against its
An even more extraordinary statistic is that no less than
45% actually oppose the creation of any Palestinian state, with only 48%
supporting it. No less revealing is that whilst 62% favor the dismantling of
some settlements, 37% totally oppose the disassembling of any
ANOTHER POLL by McLaughlin and Associates also refutes the
allegation that that the American public is turning against Israel. It reveals
that as many as 93% of those polled felt that the US should be concerned with
the security of Israel, a tribute to the decency of the American
Over half said that their elected representatives should be
pro-Israel and that they would not vote for a candidate who was anti-Israel,
even if they agreed with other policies he was promoting.
growing divide in attitudes toward Israel between the Democrats and the
Republicans is disconcerting because it threatens to undermine the long-term
bipartisan approach which traditionally prevailed. Whereas 40% of Democratic
voters are likely to support a pro-Israel candidate, as many as 33% are less
likely. In contrast, close to 70% of Republicans are more likely to vote for a
pro-Israel candidate with only 15% less inclined to do so. This reflects
alarming trends with conservatives strengthening their support while liberals
are drifting away from Israel.
But despite the doomsayers and contrary to
the disinformation disseminated by the Left, the survey confirms that Americans
remain overall strongly supportive of Israel. The survey also suggests that as
many as 46% of American Jews would even consider voting against
This demonstrates the absurdity of the claims by J Street and
other far left-wing groups that they represent a sizable proportion of the
Jewish community. In fact, it suggests that those American Jewish leaders who
lacked the courage or were loath to condemn Obama’s one-sided policies, failed
to represent the views of their constituency.
But let us not be under any
The road ahead will be difficult.
administration appears determined to pursue a policy of pressuring Israel to
revert to the 1949 armistice lines and demanding further concessions without
reciprocity. If it is willing to even condemn us now for construction in the
exclusively Jewish suburbs of Jerusalem, we should grit ourselves for what will
come after November 2.
Perhaps in the light of these polls, more American
Jewish leaders will be encouraged to follow the example of ADL leader Abe
Foxman, who was the first of only a handful of Jewish leaders with the courage
to speak out against the bullying tactics and double standards being applied by
the Obama administration.
The role of Jewish leadership after the
congressional elections may be crucial should Obama, as many predict, be
inclined to intensify his onesided pressures.
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