Poll: Americans strongly favor Israel, wary of Iran entanglement

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Americans maintain a high opinion of the U.S.-Israel alliance but are wary of any involvement in a potential Iran conflict, according to an Anti-Defamation League poll.

Asked if Israel could be counted on “as a strong, loyal ally,” 76 percent of respondents agreed and 17 percent disagreed.

They also favored Israel over the Palestinians, 48 percent to 16 percent, and tended to regard Israel as a “close ally” by a much greater margin than other Middle East countries: 44 percent of respondents counted Israel as a close ally, with only 14 percent assigning that label to Turkey and 8 percent to Egypt.

On Iran, 81 percent of respondents said they did not trust the country and 74 percent labeled as “unlikely” Iran’s commitment not to develop nuclear weapons.

However, respondents were wary of any military engagement with Iran, with 50 percent favoring the inclusion of military force among options to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and 41 percent opposed.

Asked what the U.S. posture should be if Israel strikes Iran, 48 percent advocated neutrality, 40 percent favored support for Israel, and 9 percent said the United States should oppose any Israeli action.

“There are signs here as elsewhere that the American people want less U.S. involvement in the Middle East region, a position which has little to do with negative feelings toward Israel but that can have negative consequences for the Jewish state,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in a statement.

Marttila Strategies conducted the survey for the ADL, polling 1,200 adults over the telephone Oct. 12-22. The survey has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.

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