WASHINGTON (JTA) — There is strong American support for Israel and its proposal to end new settlement and allow growth in existing settlements, a new poll shows.
The Israel Project poll released Sept. 4 showed 59 percent of Americans characterize themselves either as a "strong supporter of Israel" or a "supporter of Israel," opposed to just 8 percent who describe themselves as supporting the Palestinians. The remainder chose "neither" or refused to answer.
Respondents also were asked to support or oppose statements by President Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Ninety percent agreed with Obama’s reported statement that "it is very important for Palestinians to continue to make progress in reducing the incitement and anti-Israel sentiments that are sometimes expressed in schools and mosques and in the public square."
Asked about Netanyahu’s "promise" that "Israel would not build any new settlements in the West Bank, but that Israel must be allowed to accommodate natural growth of existing settlements," 72 percent agreed while 23 percent were opposed. Asked to respond to the statement "Palestinian leaders said they will not restart peace negotiations with Israel until Israel halts all construction on settlements," 43 percent were supportive and 53 percent were opposed.
Respondents also were asked to characterize Iran as a threat to Israel and the United States: 80 percent said it was a "serious" threat to the United States and 91 percent said it was a "serious" threat to Israel.
Asked to rate leaders, groups and nations on a scale of 1 to 100, respondents gave Israel an average of 66, the Palestinians 44, Arab nations overall 51 and Iran 32. Among leaders, Obama scored 59, Netanyahu 56, Abbas 34 and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 22.
The telephone poll of 800 likely U.S. voters was conducted Aug. 22-25 by Neil Newhouse, a Republican, of Public Opinion Strategies, and Stanley Greenberg, a Democrat, of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. Its margin of error was 3.5 percent.
The Israel Project is a nongovernmental organization that monitors news coverage of Israel and provides information to journalists.