Poll: U.S. Jews Back Strike Against Iran — by Israel

By Forward Staff and JTA

Published October 27, 2006, issue of October 27, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Support among Jews for an American military strike against Iran has declined during the past year, according to an annual survey of American Jewish opinion released Monday.

The survey, commissioned by the American Jewish Committee, found that only 38% of American Jews support American military action, down from 49% last year. But, according to this year’s survey, 57% back an Israeli strike against the Islamic Republic.

“What it means is that a majority of people are prepared to support military action, but by one country and not another country,” said the AJCommittee’s executive director, David Harris. The discrepancy may be explained by an overall lack of Jewish confidence in the Bush administration, he speculated. According to the poll, only 33% support the way America is handling the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, and 65% believe that the United States should have stayed out of Iraq.

The survey of 958 American Jews was conducted between September 25 and October 16. The margin of error was plus or minus 3%.

In its press release and on its Web site, the AJCommittee played up the finding that 81% of American Jews agreed that the goal of the Arab nations remains the destruction of Israel, and only 38% said they believed Israel and the Arabs ultimately would be able to live in peace. Yet, the survey also found that by a 54%-38% margin American Jews back the establishment of a Palestinian state and that support for dividing Jerusalem as part of a peace deal had increased.

On this summer’s Lebanon conflict, 55% approved of Israel’s handling of the war, though fewer than a quarter of respondents believed the Jewish state had emerged the winner. Forty-six percent believed the conflict likely would lead to a wider regional war.

The survey, conducted annually since 1997, also found little change in American Jewish political affiliation, with 54% of American Jews identifying themselves as Democrats and 29% as independents, unchanged from last year.

The proportion of Republicans declined slightly, from 16% to 15%.

Asked which party is more likely to take appropriate action on the war in Iraq, the economy and the war on terrorism, roughly a quarter chose the Republicans, while more than half said Democrats.

Jewish affinity for the Democrats remained strong despite two polls this summer indicating a significant partisan gap in support for Israel and a slew of Republican advertisements through the fall seeking to capitalize on the surveys.

The AJCommittee’s survey also reports a slight rise in the percentage of American Jews who said that being Jewish is important in their lives, to 61% from 55% last year, while 74% said caring about Israel is a very important part of being a Jew.

Only 26% said they think antisemitism in the United States is a very serious problem.

American Jews appear to be the most unified on the need to achieve energy independence, with 81% saying achieving the goal is very important and another 19% saying it is important. Nearly three-quarters said that the best way for America to handle its energy needs was through the development of alternative energy sources, compared to 5% who say the best course is to encourage greater energy production and 9% who prefer greater energy conservation.

Find us on Facebook!
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.