Salute to Israel
Salute to Israel Parade in New York, on May 23, 2010 Photo by AP
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An overwhelming majority of American Jews believe that the goal of the Arabs "is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel," according to a recent poll released by the American Jewish Committee.

Approximately 76% of respondents in the AJC's fall 2010 Survey of American Jewish Opinion agreed with a question to that effect, while only 20% disagreed.

Meanwhile, 95% of the American Jews think Palestinians should be required to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in any future peace settlement.

Some 82% said Israel could not achieve peace with Hamas-led government, while 14% were optimistic - a 6 point drop since the AJC's March survey.

Ninety-five percent of respondents said Palestinians should be required to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Some 48% support the establishment of the Palestinian state, while 45% oppose it in the current situation, and 6% said they were not sure.

Approximately 18% said they are less optimistic about the chance for a lasting peace between Israel and the Arabs than one year ago, 8% are more optimistic, and 75% maintained the same level of optimism (or pessimism) as one year ago.

Sixty-percent say Israel should not compromise on Jerusalem as a united city under Israeli jurisdiction, with 35% in favor of a compromise. Next week, Jewish leaders will gather in Jerusalem to discuss issues in the negotiations and the part Diaspora Jews should play in key decisions.

Fifty-six percent of respondents think Israel should dismantle some settlements following the peace agreement with Palestinians, 6% think it should dismantle all West Bank settlements, and 37% think it should dismantle none.

The survey also found that the U.S. Jewish community's support of President Barack Obama has significantly declined, while a majority approve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Only 51% of respondents in the survey said they approved of the way Obama has been handling his job - a fall of 6% since the AJC's March survey. Some 78% of U.S. Jews voted for Obama in 2008.

Approximately 49% of U.S. Jews approve of the Obama administration’s handling of U.S.-Israel relations, while 45% disapprove. AJC’s survey in March found that 55% approved and 37% disapproved. In 2009 survey, 54% approved, and 32% disapproved.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gets much higher approval for his handling of the U.S.-Israel relations, with a 62% approval against 27% disapproval and 11% “not sure."

Obama's approval rating among all voters is even lower - in the recent Bloomberg survey, he scored backing from only 47% percent of reports, while the Gallup poll found him taking 45%. His support is the highest among African Americans, at 91%, and self-identified democrats, at 79%.

Only 43% approve of the Obama administration's handling of the Iran nuclear issue, while 46% disapprove. In March, 47% approved it, 42% disapproved, and 11% were not sure). 44% said there was “little chance” the current Administration’s “dual-track” policy, combining proposal of dialogue and sanctions, will yield positive results, while 28% there is “no chance” for it. Only 4% gave it a “good chance” and 23% - “some chance”.

If diplomacy fails, 59% would support military action against Iran to stop its nuclear program, while 35% would oppose it. 70% will support Israeli preventive strike, while 26% would oppose it.

Despite high level of disillusionment, 92% of the Jewish respondents said they were planning to vote in midterm elections in November – with 57% saying it would be better for Democrats to take the majority at Congress, while 33% prefer Republicans.

The number one issue for the Jewish voters in these elections is the economy, with 87% defining it as “very important”. Sixty-one percent said “Israel” is very important to them in these elections.

Referring to the last year’s developments affecting the relationship between Turkey and Israel, 71% of the American Jews think Turkish government today “is not a friend of Israel”, while 50% think it’s neither a friend of the U.S. (35% think it is, while 15% were not sure).

The AJC survey conducted by telephone between September 6 and October 8 asked 800 self-identifying Jewish respondents their opinions on a number of topics, including Obama’s handling of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iran and U.S-Israeli relations.