NEW YORK (May. 5)
Americans’ positive attitudes toward Israel have not been seriously eroded by the Iran-Contra arms sales scandal or the Jonathan Pollard spy case, according to the latest opinion poll on the subject conducted by the Roper Organization for the American Jewish Committee, the AJC reported this week.
Similarly, the majority of Americans do not think any less of American Jews because Pollard, an American Jew, was caught spying for Israel and another American Jew, Ivan Boesky, was involved in Wall Street’s inside trading scandal, the poll found. It was conducted in February and the results are consistent with the later New York Times/CBS News poll, reported in the Times on April 12. Roper found that a near majority, 48 percent of the respondents, continues to sympathize with Israel in the Middle East conflict. In a poll conducted in 1986, 53 percent sided with Israel. Sympathy with the Arab cause was eight percent, unchanged from 1986.
A virtual majority, 49 percent of respondents, continue to view Israel as a reliable ally of the United States, compared to 41 percent for Egypt and 44 percent for Jordan. A majority of 61 percent does not see Syria as a friend of the U.S.
Only five percent thought Israel was “most to blame” in the Iran-Contra affair, compared to 47 percent who blame President Reagan’s advisors, 43 percent who blame Reagan himself and 21 percent who blame former National Security Council employe Col. Oliver North
The Roper poll found that 49 percent of the respondents disagreed with the statement that “Most American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States. Only 24 percent agreed. The comparable figures in 1986 were 46 percent and 24 percent.
No more than one percent of the respondents attributed Boesky’s malfeasance to his “Jewish background.” The most frequently cited factors were “personal greed and avarice,” “lack of ethics in business” “insufficient governmental regulation and enforcement” and “the moral decline of society.”
Other noteworthy findings by Roper were: Better educated people and people reporting higher household incomes were more likely than others to be favorable toward Israel and American Jews; whites were more likely to be favorable toward Israel and American Jews than Blacks; Republicans somewhat more than Democrats or independents were favorable toward Israel and American Jews; Protestants and Catholics differed little in their attitudes in the subject.