US Jews pro Obama, oppose concessions

Only 5% think diplomacy and sanctions can stop Iran, AJC poll finds.

April 18, 2010 04:13
2 minute read.
US President Barack Obama at the Nuclear Security

Obama nuke summit 311. (photo credit: AP)


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Although a slim majority of American Jews supports the Obama administration’s handling of US-Israel relations, a larger majority opposes any Israeli concession on Jerusalem as part of a peace deal, a survey released over the weekend by the American Jewish Committee revealed.

Fifty-five percent of respondents said they approved of the administration’s policy regarding US-Israel relations. But 61% also said Israel should not be “willing to compromise on the status of Jerusalem as a united city under Israeli jurisdiction” as part of the framework of a peace settlement.

The Obama administration has continuously opposed Israeli building in Jerusalem neighborhoods annexed since 1967.

The AJC said the poll sample consisted of 800 self-identifying Jewish respondents selected from a consumer mail panel, and that the respondents were “representative of the United States adult Jewish population on a variety of measures.”

The survey, carried out annually since 1979, was
conducted for AJC in 2010 by Synovate (formerly Market Facts). Respondents were interviewed by telephone, and no interviews took place on Shabbat. According to the pollsters, the margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Despite concerns expressed by members of Kadima – particularly following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington last month – that Israel’s relations with America were worsening, 73% of those polled said they characterized relations between Israel and the US as positive.

Obama’s approval sank, however, on the question of the administration’s handling of the Iranian nuclear issue. A plurality of those polled – 47% – approved, while 43% disapproved and 11% were unsure. Only 5% thought there was a “good chance” that “a combination of diplomacy and sanctions could stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons,” and 53% said they would support US military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. In comparison, 62% said they would support Israel’s taking similar military action.

The broadest consensus indicated in the poll concerned negotiations with the Palestinian Authority: 94% of respondents agreed that the PA should be required to recognize Israel as a Jewish state as part of a final peace agreement; 80% said Israel “cannot achieve peace with a Hamas-led Palestinian government”; and 75% said they agreed with the statement that “the goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories, but rather the destruction of Israel.”

However, the consensus disappeared regarding the future of Jewish communities in the West Bank – 56% said Israel should be willing to dismantle some settlements as part of peace with the Palestinians, while 34% said Israel should not dismantle any and 8% were in favor of dismantling all of them.

Fifty percent of the American Jews polled said they considered themselves Democrats, while only 15% saw themselves as Republicans, and 32% viewed themselves as Independents. The plurality of Jews – 37% – said they thought of themselves as “just Jewish,” while 10% of those polled identified as Orthodox, 24% as Conservative, 26% as Reform, 2% as Reconstructionist and 1% were unsure.

Fifty-one percent described being Jewish as “very important” in their lives, while 30% felt “very close” to Israel. 

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