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Survey Detects Jewish Concern on Obama’s Israel Policy

WASHINGTON (RNS) A slight majority of American Jews approve of the Obama administration’s Israel policy, but an almost equal number oppose his call for an end to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, according to a new poll.
The 2009 Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion found that 54 percent of American Jews approve of Obama’s Israel policies, but 51 percent disagree with his call for Israel to halt settlement activity.
Obama has been criticized by some in the Jewish community for his handling of U.S.-Israel relations since taking office. While the survey shows his engagement with Israel is backed by slightly more than half of the American Jews, that is far fewer than the 78 percent of U.S. Jews who voted for him last November, according to exit polls.
A majority of the respondents to the survey said they would support the U.S. taking military action to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
“Clearly, concerns are mounting over the international community’s apparent inability to deploy tough and resolute sanctions to confront a belligerent Iran determined to build nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them,” said David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, which sponsored the survey.
Support for military action in Iran is growing among American Jews.
A year ago, only 42 percent of respondents supported military engagement. This year, 56 percent of American Jews favor military action, and 49 percent support Obama’s handling of the Iran issue.
The survey of 800 Jewish adults, conducted between late August and mid-September, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Support for Obama varied heavily based on religious affiliation, with 59 percent of Reform Jews and 54 percent of Conservative Jews supporting the president’s handling of U.S.-Israel relations, compared to just 14 percent of Orthodox Jews.
By Matthew E. Berger
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

  • Your Name

    Personally, I never trusted Barack Obama on the subject of Israel, despite his assurances to the contrarry. Obama is coming to the White House with years of Islamic, Anti-Israel associations, Rev. White anti-Israel sermons and the man is not exactly an israel lover. It took almost a year of singling Israel out of all the Middle East players for US Jews to see where Obama is headed. In 3 years time a lot of Jewish support will go to a Republican candidate.

  • nnmns

    I just hope President Obama will have a middle eastern policy that puts the US first for a change.
    And we sure do not need to be losing our young men and women to protect a country that, let’s face it, has done nothing for us and a lot to us.
    And the commentary about political support illustrates why. In a close election a unified block like the Israeli lobby has been is vital for winning, so politicians of both parties have sucked up to them without shame. And it’s hurt America and if we attacked Iraq it would hurt us very seriously.
    It really is time for an America First policy.

  • Your Name

    correct me if i’m wrong – iraq was attacked for infiltrating an oil-rich neighboring arab country. israel only became guilty by association when sadam in retaliation lobbed missiles at tel aviv.
    afghanistan was attacked because of planes hitting the twin towers. israel only became guilty by association when some really smart people decided it was a jewish plot.
    the US did not join the world-war-II effort to save the jews in the extermination camps. western powers knew about these and did nothing both before and after the US joined the war. it joined because of pearl harbor and because otherwise the brits may have lost and a whole bunch of other reasons (including of course the fact that war is good for the economy which of course is in the hands of jewish bankers world wide…)
    iran will not be attacked by the US because of the danger it poses to israel, but because of the minutest possibility that if it manages to manufacture nuclear bombs. these might be detonated by suicide bombers in the US.
    of course, once more, israel will be blamed, because its very existence is the root cause for moslem terrorism that takes also place in africa and indonesia, seeing as how israel is simply one more western crusader attempt to conquer the middle east…

  • Nobody

    If you can think objectively, you can not deny that Palestinians have become the victims. Obama tried to argue for common sense, i.e. some miniscule amount of BALANCE on the issue. But a U.S. politician cannot be anything less than 100% pro-Israel, anti-Palestine without committing political suicide.
    What is wrong with telling Israel to stop expanding? Palestinians have nothing left, why take more with new settlements? The U.S. is pretty much the only country in the world that reflexively supports Israel every time. can they do no wrong?

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