Photo: AFP
Obama. Supported by young Jews
Photo: AFP
Survey conducted before new Iranian facility was revealed
Settlements remain a major dispute
Photo courtesy of Peace Now

US Jews back American strike in Iran

AJC survey shows most Jews are in favor of military action against nuclear sites. Despite supporting Obama in presidential elections, Jews are unhappy with his attitude towards Israel

WASHINGTON – Most Jews living in the United States are in favor of an American military strike against Iran's nuclear sites, according to a survey conducted before the second Iranian uranium enrichment site was revealed.


The survey's findings, released Wednesday, point to a change in the opinion of US Jews, who until last year felt there was no need for a military operation in Iran.


Among the Americans, Jews are traditionally the biggest objectors to the war in Iraq and relatively liberal in terms of the peace process. But the annual American Jewish Committee (AJC) shows that most Jews oppose President Barack Obama's stance in terms of Israeli settlements, despite supporting him the presidential elections.


Obama and Netanyahu. 'Somewhat positive relations' (Photo: Reuters)


The main finding related to the Iranian issue, shows that 56% of US Jews would support "military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons", while 36% would oppose. Exactly one year ago, 47% opposed a strike and only 42% supported it.


On the Obama Administration’s general handling of the Iran nuclear issue, 49% of American Jews approve while 35% disapprove.


And what about an Israeli attack, which appears to be a more realistic scenario? According to the survey, 66% would support and 28% would oppose Israel taking military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.


Most believe Arabs want Israel's destruction

In light of the frictions, the Obama administration's relations with Israel in the past year were at the heart of the public discourse. Nine months after the new American president was sworn in, and seven months since Benjamin Netanyahu assumed the role of prime minister, 70% of American Jews characterize relations between Israel and the US as "somewhat positive" and 11% believe they are "very positive".


Seventy-eight percent of the Jews supported Obama in the elections, but according to the survey only 54% approve of the Obama administration’s handling of US-Israel relations. Netanyahu got a slightly better grade, with 59% approving of his government's handling of US-Israel relations.


An analysis of the findings reveals that Obama sweeps away youngsters, who tend to support the president more, while adults have reservations over his attitude towards Israel.


The main dispute remains the settlement issue, with a majority of 51% of Jews disagreeing with the Obama Administration’s call for a stop to all new Israeli settlement construction, while 41% agree with that tactic.


Nonetheless, there is wide recognition among American Jews that the question of settlements is a topic to be resolved in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, with most saying Israel should be willing to dismantle all (8%) or some (52%) of the settlements as part of a permanent peace agreement with the Palestinians. Thirty-seven percent oppose dismantling any.


And what about a Palestinian state? Forty-nine percent favor that outcome, and 41% are opposed, but a majority of 58% would not be willing to compromise on the status of Jerusalem as a united city under Israeli jurisdiction, while 37% are in favor.


Netanyahu's stance that Palestinians should be “required to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in a final peace agreement" is supported by 94% of American Jews.


American Jews’ trust in the other side has improved, but still, 75% agree with the statement, “The goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel." In the 2007 survey, 82% agreed.


The 2009 survey was conducted for AJC by the Synovate opinion-research organization. Respondents were interviewed by telephone between August 30-September 17, 2009. The 800 respondents are representative of the United States adult Jewish population on a variety of measures. The margin of error from the sample as a whole is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


פרסום ראשון: 09.30.09, 20:59
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