US Jews see Democrats as increasingly critical of Israel - study

A study found that 39% of American Jews think Democrats are becoming less supportive of the Jewish state.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) administers the oath of office to House members and delegates of the U.S. House of Representatives at the start of the 116th Congress inside the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 3, 2019 (photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) administers the oath of office to House members and delegates of the U.S. House of Representatives at the start of the 116th Congress inside the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 3, 2019
(photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)

American Jews believe Democrats are becoming less supportive of Israel while Republicans are becoming increasingly supportive, according to a new study presented at the annual symposium of the Ruderman Family Foundation’s Program for American Jewish Studies at the University of Haifa on Tuesday.

The study found that while American Jews believe 71% of Republicans and 69% of Democrats are pro-Israel, 39% think Democrats are becoming less supportive of Israel while Republicans are becoming increasingly supportive.

Multiple speakers at the symposium, moderated by Kan foreign affairs correspondent Michal Reshef, discussed new developments and challenges regarding the relationship between Israel and American Jews, including Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai, Former Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, University of Haifa Rector Prof. Gur Alroey, Head of the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies Dr. David Barak-Gorodetsky, legal scholar Prof. Menachem Mautner and former MK Tehila Friedman.

Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies

Ruderman Family Foundation President Jay Ruderman highlighted how the American Jewish studies program strengthens the bond between Israelis and Jewish Americans:

“The increasing political polarization in the US Jewish community also shapes contemporary challenges in the Israel-American Jewry relationship. Our research, education and advocacy efforts in the realm of fostering greater closeness and mutual understanding between Israelis and Jewish Americans enable the world's two largest centers of Jewish life to transcend the slogans and ultimately build a more authentic relationship."

The US Capitol building, which contains the House of Representatives and the Senate. (credit: PIXABAY)The US Capitol building, which contains the House of Representatives and the Senate. (credit: PIXABAY)

The program emphasizes research into maintaining the Israel-American Jewry relationship, he said: “At the Ruderman Program American Jewish Studies program at the University of Haifa, we study in-depth the complex realities of the American Jewish community – and believe developing and improving Israel’s relationship with American Jewry is a critical part of the academic world today.”

The program covers both the historical background of the relationship and the current situation to keep students updated so that they can develop forward-thinking solutions.