New Poll of Americans Indicates Backlash Against Israeli Government Policies Toward Palestinians

A poll just released by the University of Maryland under the direction of Professor Shibley Telhami should capture the attention of the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli public. The following is a summary of the key findings of the poll:

  • IF A TWO-STATE SOLUTION TO THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT IS NOT AN OPTION: A large majority of Americans favors a democratic Israel with citizenship and full rights for all (64%) over a Jewish Israel in which Palestinians are disenfranchised (26%). This preference was particularly strong among Democrats (78% to 12%). Even a plurality of Republicans (48% to 42%) shares this view.
  • FOUR POSSIBLE APPROACHES TO THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT: A two-state solution was preferred by 36% of respondents; 35% chose a one-state solution with equal citizenship for all in Israel and the occupied territories; 11% preferred the maintaining the status quo of occupation; and 8% want annexation of the occupied territories without equal citizenship for Palestinians. Among 18-34 year-olds, preferences lined up this way: 42% for a one-state solution, 33% for a two-state solution, 7% for annexation, and 10% for the status quo.
  • ROLE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SHOULD PLAY AS MEDIATOR: The majority of Americans (62%) think our government should adopt an even-handed approach in mediating the conflict (“lean toward neither side”). Preferences diverged substantially by party affiliation. Among Democrats, an overwhelming 82% took this view, while 7% thought the US should lean toward Israel and 8% wanted the US to lean toward Palestinians. Among Republicans, 57% wanted the US to lean toward Israel, 36% preferred the even-handed approach, and 3% called for leaning toward Palestinians.
  • US RESPONSE TO CONTINUED SETTLEMENT CONSTRUCTION: 28% favored a do-nothing approach; 26% wanted verbal opposition; 28% called for “some economic sanctions,” either unilaterally or through the United Nations; and 12% preferred that the US take “more serious action.” The poll did not offer as distinct alternatives economic sanctions against Israel (which APN strongly opposes) and boycotting of settlements (which APN supports).
  • ISRAELI GOVERNMENT INFLUENCE IN AMERICAN POLITICS & POLICY: 48% of Americans thought Israel has about the right level of influence, 38% said it has too much influence, and 9% thought it had too little. Among 18-34 year-olds, 44% thought it had too much influence, 42% said about the right level, and 10% thought not enough.

Dr. Telhami’s commentary on the poll’s findings in Foreign Policy is available here.  

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