Survey conducted by U.S.-Jewish group the Israel Project
asked Americans and Europeans about their views on Israel
By Barak Ravid
American support for Israel is waning, a poll presented to senior Israeli officials in Jerusalem last week revealed.
The survey was carried out by pollster and strategist Stanley Greenberg and sponsored by the American Jewish organization the Israel Project, which organizes and executes pro-Israel public relations campaigns with a focus on North America.
Greenberg, along with Israel Project heads, presented the poll’s findings to senior Israeli officials, including President Shimon Peres, Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, as well as officials from the Prime Minister’s office.
One of the questions that the poll presented was “Does the U.S. need to support Israel?” In August of 2009, 63% of Americans polled said that the U.S. does need to support Israel. In June of this year, 58% of respondents shared the same view; by July only 51% of respondents said the U.S. needed to support Israel.
Another question posed by the pole was “Is the Israeli government committed to peace with the Palestinians?” In December of 2007, 66% of respondents said that the government, then led by Ehud Olmert, was committed to peace with the Palestinians. In June of 2009, a month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House, only 46% of Americans said they believed the Netanyahu government was committed to peace.
In the months of May and June, there appeared to be a positive change in American public opinion on the matter, with 53% of respondents saying they believe Netanyahu seeks peace. However, in July, only 45% of American said they felt Netanyahu was committed to the peace process. Thirty-nine percent responded that Netanyahu and his administration are not committed to seeking peace with the Palestinians.
Greenberg has analyzed the poll results and says that the section of the American public where Israel is most rapidly losing support is among Liberal Americans who align themselves with the Democratic Party.
Greenberg’s data showed similar findings among public opinion in Germany and Sweden.
Only 19% of German respondents said they felt “warm” or “very warm” feelings toward Israel, while 50% responded they experienced “very cold” or unfavorable feelings toward Israel.
The survey also showed Germans favored Palestinians over Israel, with 26% percent saying they felt “warm” or “very warm” feelings toward them and 39% feeling “cold” or “very cold” feelings toward Palestinians.
Greenberg conducted similar surveys in European countries and said the data reflects the worst time for Israel with regard to German public opinion since 2008.
In France, the data were a little better, but Israel did not achieve widespread public support there either: 24% said they felt “warm” or “very warm” feelings toward Israel, while 31% felt “cold” or “very cold” feelings toward it.
Greenberg noted, however, that these findings have remained stable over the last three years.
Meanwhile, in Sweden, the situation was similar to that in Germany, with 49% percent saying their feelings toward Israel were “cold” or “very cold.”
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