Is J Street a Threat? Not to Most Israelis

A recent poll commissioned by the Forward finds that only 14% of Jewish Israelis have heard of the pro-Israel leftist lobby; so why did the knesset explain the probe into J Street's motives on public concern?

In the three years since its founding, the dovish lobby J Street has become a household name across Jewish America. But ask Israelis about it, and they are more likely to think you are asking for directions to some thoroughfare they haven’t heard of.

In polling commissioned by the Forward, only 14% of Jewish Israelis said they had heard of J Street. The remaining 86% had not.

Knesset committee members begin the vote on natural-resources reform yesterday.

The results call into question the stated rationale of politicians who initiated and supported a March 23 Knesset hearing to probe J Street’s activities and ideology. They claimed that public concern necessitated the hearing — especially since January, when the American group urged President Obama not to veto a United Nations resolution condemning Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

But the poll casts doubt on politicians’ claims of public anger at groups such as J Street, which publicly dissent from Israeli policies while claiming to be pro-Israel. The poll, conducted by Smith Consulting and Research Inc., a respected Israeli pollster, found that when asked what they expected of American Jewish organizations in support of Israel, only 19% of Israeli Jewish respondents called for unconditional support of Israeli policies.