Third of American Jews: Lieberman weakens our bond with Israel
Poll held among American Jews reveals that Yisrael Beiteinu chairman is not held in high esteem within community, some 60% of whom oppose views he expressed during elections. Some 75% support decreased financial aid to Israel should Jewish state be party to put skids under signing agreement with Palestinians
The poll's results, released on Monday, examined the position of American Jews regarding President Barack Obama's policies on the Middle East, the election results in Israel, the possibility for a right-wing coalition in Israel, and Lieberman's political positions.
Jim Gerstein, who conducted the study on behalf of J Street, found it worrisome that the appointment of one person could cause such a high percentage of people to distance themselves from Israel. He noted that amongst young people below the age of 30, that statistic rises to 40% because of the anti-democratic nature of Lieberman's statements.
Gerstein said statistics clearly showed that Lieberman is not very popular amongst American Jews.
The poll showed that 60% of respondents knew who Lieberman is, and 69% of them are opposed to the positions he took during the elections campaign. Despite the fact that many said that Lieberman's appointment as a cabinet minister would put a damper on their connection with Israel, 58% said that it would not change their relationship with the country. Ten percent said that it would actually strengthen their connection with the Jewish state.
In general, it seems as though the American Jewish community is not overly enthused by the concept of a hawkish right-wing Israeli government. The poll showed, however, that in a confrontation between Israel and the Obama administration, most American Jews would side with Obama. Gerstein noted that such support is exceptional, noting that the Jews of America support the American policy on the Middle East.
'Decrease aid if Israel holds up peace'
Some 76% of poll respondents believe that Obama supports Israel. Seventy-three percent said that he shares their values, and 72% support his management of the Israeli-Arab conflict. In accordance, 58% of respondents support American involvement in the peace process, even if it means America's public disagreement with Israel.
Some 57% of those polled are for applying the necessary pressure on Israel to make compromises necessary for peace. A similar figure was published for those opposed to the settlements in the West Bank.
The J Street poll showed that 77% of respondents believe that the United States should declare which side is holding up the peace process, and 75% believe that financial aid to Israel should be decreased should the Jewish state be the party responsible for putting the skids under the peace process. Some 49% even support decreasing military aid in such a case.
In regards to security, 75% of respondents supported Operation Cast Lead, 41% of whom believe the military operation improved Israel's security and 41% believe the opposite to be true.
And why do the respondents support Israel? Thirty-five percent answered "Because I'm Jewish and Israel is the Jewish state," 31% because "Israel and the United States are allies in the Middle East, and this serves the US's security interests," 19% because "Israel is a democracy and this is in line with my values," and 6% because "I have friends and family in Israel." Of those participating in the poll, only 3% responded that they do not support Israel.