A new survey suggests that Germans are far more supportive of economic sanctions against Iran than the British, French or Americans.
The results are more likely due to a deep abhorrence many Germans feel for war, pollsters suggested at a briefing Wednesday in Berlin, and does not mean that Germans are more pro-Israel than the others.
The survey was commissioned by the Israel Project, a U.S.-based think tank .
“Action on Iran,” a survey of U.S. and European preferences in response to Iran’s nuclear program coupled with its verbal threats against Israel, revealed “higher support for sanctions in Europe than anywhere else,” political scientist and pollster Stanley Greenberg told a small gathering of journalists. His polling and consulting firm, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, conducted the survey through late July.
The new poll surveyed about 1,000 individuals from the general public in each country, as well opinion elites in Germany, France and England. Also, focus groups of high-level opinion leaders were held in each country.
The survey found that Germans were far more likely to support increased sanctions and diplomatic pressure than were the British, French and Americans. They were less likely than the Americans to back targeted, conventional military strikes as an option to take out Iran’s nuclear program.
Some Germans in the focus groups used “emotional, historical and moral” arguments to explain their opposition to military options, and even used the word “Armageddon” to highlight their fears of a spreading conflict, said Laura Kamm, senior adviser in charge of European Affairs for the Israel Project.
A chief concern of the Israel Project was that the countries in question continue to do business with Iran, despite statements by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggesting that Israel should not exist.
Kamm said the Israel Project was focusing on Germany “because German trade has increased rather than decreased” with Iran over the past year. But while more Germans prefer direct negotiations over all other options, their next choice was economic sanctions, the poll showed.
“The German people do care about the security of Israel, clearly – the poll shows this,” Kamm said. “The question is why, when there is a region that is threatening another Holocaust and promises to share its nuclear technology, does Germany not take the lead in imposing strong sanctions?”