US Jews back Obama's Mideast path
Hilary Leila Krieger
WASHINGTON, DC – A new J Street poll finds that large majorities of American Jews support US President Barack Obama's active engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even if that means exerting pressure and publicly disagreeing with Israel.
American Jews would also like the United States to deal with a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas in pursuit of a peace agreement, a position at odds with current US and Israeli policy shunning Hamas.
The poll, commissioned by the dovish pro-Israel lobby and released Monday, also reports that American Jews are evenly split between those who support a US military attack on Iran if it is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons and those who oppose a military attack in those circumstances. The finding mirrors a similar result in an American Jewish Committee poll last year.
Relating to the recent elections in Israel, the survey also asked about Avigdor Lieberman, who is likely to become Israel's next foreign minister.
With 62 percent name recognition, the poll found that Lieberman has only a 27 percent favourability rating in comparison to 74 percent for Obama, 58 percent for incoming Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and 53 percent for current Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
They also found that 69 percent disagreed with Lieberman's views in which he "has previously called for the execution of Arab members of Israel's parliament who met with Hamas and whose main campaign message called for Arab citizens of Israel to sign a loyalty oath to the Jewish state in order to prevent their citizenship from being revoked".
Additionally, 32 percent said him becoming a senior minister in the government "weakens my personal connection to Israel because Lieberman's positions go against my core values" while 58 percent said it would not affect their feelings towards Israel and 10 percent said it would strengthen them.
For another take on this you can read one at tikun olam