ADL poll shows higher support for Israel than did survey by dovish J Street

ADL finds smaller percentage of the US Jews support Obama's current Israeli-Palestinian policy, prefers 2-state solution, dislikes Lieberman.

Abe Foxman 224.88 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Abe Foxman 224.88 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Anti-Defamation League released a poll Monday that contradicted findings from a similar poll of American Jews conducted last month by J Street, a left-wing lobbying group. Compared to the J Street survey, the ADL found that a smaller percentage of the American Jewish community supports US President Barack Obama's current Israeli-Palestinian policy, prefers a two-state solution, and knows and dislikes Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The ADL poll, conducted by phone during the first week of April, also found that a higher proportion of the Jewish community backed a possible US attack on Iran. With the survey's release, ADL National Director Abe Foxman said that some polls and reports circulating in recent weeks suggested that American Jewish support for Israel was falling in the wake of the Gaza war and growing in favor of US pressure on Israel. He said the ADL decided to conduct its own survey, whose findings show that attitudes haven't changed and that the community's support for Israel "continues to be strong and continues to believe that Israel in its quest for peace is serious." Foxman did not refer to J Street by name or otherwise confirm that he was referring to the dovish lobby, which supports diplomacy in the Middle East and greater US involvement in the Arab-Israeli peace process. According to the J Street poll, 72 percent of American Jews back Obama's handling of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The ADL poll found this support to be 55%. While both polls found that three quarters of the American Jewish community agreed with Israel's decision to take military action in Gaza this past winter, the J Street survey found the same proportion backing a "final status" agreement with the Palestinians that entails a two-state solution. The ADL poll found that just under two-thirds of those surveyed supported the establishment of a Palestinian state. The ADL's pollster, John Martilla, said that the 61% backing a two-state solution was within the range of 60-65% by which American Jews have favored a two-state solution over the past decade. While the figure was lower than that identified in the J Street poll, Martilla said the ADL's tally was still significant because it came during a period in which the power of Hamas had increased to where it now controlled part of the territory that would comprise a Palestinian country. Like Foxman, Martilla refused to address the J Street poll directly, but did take issue with its finding that Avigdor Lieberman's name recognition among American Jewry stood at 62%, a full 20 percentage points higher than shown by the ADL survey. While Lieberman's favorable ratings were low in Martilla's poll - just 31% - they were still higher than the foreign minister's unfavorable ratings - 21%. The J Street survey found the divide regarding Lieberman to be 27% favorable and 29% unfavorable. When it came to Iran, the ADL found that a higher percentage of American Jews support the US "destroying" Iranian nuclear facilities if diplomatic efforts fail (55%, versus 27%), while the J Street survey, which referred to an "attack" on Iran with military force, resulted in 41% opposed and 40% in favor. The ADL poll also found that 58% of the Jewish community would support an Israeli attack on Iranian installations, compared to 27% who said they would not support such an attack. Martilla questioned 1,200 American Jews in his survey, which had a margin of error of +/-2.8%. Some questions were posed to half of the respondents, while others were posed to the other half; these had a margin of error +/- 4%. The J Street survey of 800 adult American Jews was conducted between February 28 and March 9 using e-mailed invitations to a Web-based pool of respondents. It had a +/-3.5% margin of error.