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Op-Ed: American Public Supports Israel by Overwhelming Margins

The American public as a whole continues to display a consistently high, steady level of support for Israel, says ZOA head.
By Morton A. Klein
First Publish: 3/4/2014, 12:16 AM / Last Update: 3/4/2014, 11:16 PM

ZOA head Morton Klein
ZOA head Morton Klein
Arutz Sheva

Of late, Israelis and Americans Jews have been concerned at the various international pressures exerted on Israel, not least by  the Obama Administration. In particular, Secretary of State John Kerry, in a speech in Munich on February 1, was regarded by many, including the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) which I head, appeared to threaten Israel with isolation and boycott if peace talks fail.

Rather than condemning these, Secretary Kerry suggested that these would be natural outcomes of Israeli non-acceptance of the dangerous and unrealistic Israeli concessions required by his proposals. 

These comments come against a background of general concern about the erosion of support for Israel at home and abroad. However, without in any way underestimating the gravity of indifference and hostility to Israel, it bears noting that the American public as a whole continues right up to the present day to display a consistently high, steady level of support for Israel.

Thus, a January 2014 poll of American public opinion, conducted by McLaughlin Associates and commissioned by the ZOA, found that the vast majority of Americans support Israel on the major issues concerning the Israeli/Palestinian situation, while opposing the positions of the Obama administration, which has been held to have diminish support for Israel. 

The poll showed that:
By a ratio of 3 to 1 ratio, Americans believe by 58% to 17% that a future Palestinian state would be hostile to Israel and support terrorism;

By a 4 to 1 ratio, Americans believe by 55% to 13% that Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel;

By a more than 3 to 1 ration, Americans believe by 47% to 14% that Jews have the right to settle in the West Bank;

By an almost 5 to 1 ratio, Americans oppose by an overwhelming 72% to 15% President Obama’s planned funding to the Palestinian Authority; and 

A plurality of Americans (38%) believe that President Obama is neither a close nor reliable friend of Israel, as opposed to only 31% who believe that he is.

These recent results are not only clear, but also representative: the McLaughlin poll surveyed a nationwide cross-section of 1000 Americans, consisting of Protestants (46%), Catholics (30%), Jews (3.6%), African Americans (13%), Hispanics (12%), Asians (3%) and Whites (70%). Politically, the respondents were 42% Democratic supporters and 41% Republican supporters.

Additionally, these results are not exceptional, but the norm: polls over the past decade have shown consistently high levels of support and sympathy for Israel, consistently low levels of support for the Palestinians and a high degree of support for policies supportive of Israeli rights and security.

To mention only a few of the more recent: 
March 2013 The Hill poll found that Americans believe by 39% to 13% that President Obama is not supportive enough of Israel.

A December 2012 Pew Research Center for the People & the Press national survey found that by a ratio of 5-to-1, Americans sympathize more with Israel (50%) than with the Palestinian (10%).

A September 2012 Foreign Policy Initiative poll found that a strong majority of Americans (70%) view Israel favorably as opposed to 24% who view it unfavorably. 

An August 2011 McLaughlin Associates & Caddell Associates national survey found that Americans believe 71% to 9% that Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel.

A May 2011 CNN poll found that 67% of Americans express sympathy for Israel rather than Palestinians, whereas only 16% expressed sympathy for Palestinians over Israelis. (This actually represents a rise of sympathy for Israel among the American public from 60%, and a drop of sympathy for Palestinians from 17%, recorded in 2009). 

The point is clear. The results of this latest, very detailed and highly representative survey of American opinion, along with earlier results, display gratifyingly high, indeed, overwhelming levels of support for positions Israel takes, as opposed to the position the Obama Administration takes. It also shows an understanding of the dangers Israel faces from a terror-sponsoring Palestinian Authority.

It is safe to conclude that Americans believe by an overwhelming ratio that Israeli Jews have a right to live in Judea/Samaria (West Bank), whereas only a small percentage believe in the racist, anti-Semitic Palestinian position that only Palestinians have the right to live there. Large majorities of Americans clearly understand that a Palestinian state, if established, will not live in peace with Israel and will simply be another Mideast terrorist state. 

President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry should heed these results. They should understand that the American people expect our government to support Israel; stop promoting a Palestinian state; stop condemning Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria and eastern Jerusalem as “illegitimate”; support Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital; stop funding the PA and impose stronger sanctions on Iran to persuade it to terminate its nuclear weapons program.