Many Latinos see U.S. bias toward Israel, poll shows


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Nearly half of Latinos believe that the United States is "too supportive" of Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, a new poll shows.

That was among the findings of a poll released this week by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding showing broad disparities between the American Jewish and Latino communities when it comes to U.S. involvement in the peace process.

The poll shows that 48.1 percent of Latinos believe the United States is "too supportive" of Israel, while only 14.8 percent of Jewish respondents believed that to be true.

Among Latinos, 18.6 percent described the United States as "not supportive enough" and 55.6 percent of Jews adopted that position. Those who answered the "right level" were 21.7 percent among Latinos and 26.5 percent among Jews.

Asked with which side they sympathized more, 34 percent of Latinos said Israel, as opposed to 77 percent of Jews, and 21.3 of Latinos said the Palestinians, as opposed to 10.9 percent of Jews.

Small percentages in both populations said "neither" or "both," and 28.2 percent of Latinos did not know or would not respond, as opposed to 3.3 percent of Jews.

Other questions on Jewish-Latino relations drew narrower gaps: 46.3 percent of Latinos believed there was anti-Semitism in the Latino community, as did 58.3 percent of Jews.

When the question was flipped, Latinos and Jews were virtually tied — 31.9 percent and 30 percent, respectively — in believing there was anti-Latino sentiment among Jews.

On U.S. immigration policy, 38.8 percent of Latinos and 29.8 percent of Jews said it was "too strict," 21 percent of both groups said it was "adequate" and 34.9 percent of Latinos and 41.3 percent of Jews said it was "not strict enough."

The foundation ordered the poll, carried out by Latin Insights, in time for a conference of leaders of both communities in San Antonio this week.

"We need to understand how real anti-Semitism is within the Latino community and how we can counter it, as well as find more effective ways to communicate the value of Israel to bolster Latino empathy for the Jewish state," Rabbi Marc Schneier, a co-founder of the foundation, said in a statement. "This is truer than ever as Latinos now number more than 50 million in the U.S."

The phone poll, conducted between March 2 and March 12, reached 740 respondents — half Jewish and half Latino — and had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

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