Disappointment with US President Barack Obama’s handling of US-Israel relations has caused a drop in Jewish support for the administration, an annual survey conducted by AJC, a Jewish advocacy organization, revealed.
Disapproval among Jewish voters exceeded approval of Obama's presidency for the first time during the current administration. Jewish approval of Obama’s performance as president declined to 45%, with another 48% disapproving and 7% undecided.
The Jewish people's best friend? (Photo: Getty Images)
According to the survey, which included 800 respondents, if the 2012 presidential elections were held today, Obama would still hold a considerable lead over potential Republican challengers among Jewish voters. But the margin differed significantly depending on which candidate the GOP fields.
When asked about Obama’s handling of US-Israel relations, 40% of respondents gave their approval, with another 53% disapproving and 7% undecided. A year ago, 49% of respondents approved and another 45% disapproved of the president's policy vis-à-vis the Jewish State.
In contrast, approval of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of Israel-US relations dropped to 54%, compared with 62% approval last year.
In general, 63% of American Jews characterize US-Israel relations as positive, compared with 68% in 2010.
Less optimism for lasting peace
As part of the survey, respondents were also asked about their prospect for a lasting peace between Israel and the Arabs.
Less than 3% of respondents said they were “more optimistic” about the peace prospects now than they had been one year ago, compared with 8% feeling “more optimistic” in last year’s survey.
This year, 35% of respondents said their outlook has become “less optimistic”, compared to 18% in 2010.
Support for a Palestinian state among American Jews has also declined in the past year. According to the survey, in the current situation, 38% would favor and 55% would oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state, compared with 48% in favor and 45% opposed in 2010.
On a related question concerning Palestinian efforts to unilaterally seek recognition of statehood without an agreement with Israel, only 9% approved of this strategy, while 88% disapproved.
Unsurprisingly, support for requiring the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state is strong, with 95% saying they should be required to do so in a final peace agreement.
When asked about US aid to the Palestinian Authority, 73% of respondents said they would support the US Congress withdrawing assistance if the PA and Hamas form a unity government, while 21% said they would oppose the move.
Regarding Iran, 43% approved Obama's handling of the Iran nuclear issue, while 45% disapproved – a similar finding to the 2010 survey.
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