Mideast Peace: Interesting Poll Results
I realize polls are not always indicative of true public opinion, but two recent polls caught my attention. The first one was carried out by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Here is a sample of some of the findings:
Two-thirds want US to be neutral in Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Americans increasingly accept torture, survey finds
Fewer than one in five Americans would support a US military strike on Iran if the Middle Eastern country continued to pursue its nuclear program in the face of international sanctions, a new poll indicates.
The poll, carried out in June for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, finds 18 percent would support a strike on Iran if the country failed to stop its enrichment of uranium. Forty-one percent would urge further economic sanctions against the country, and 33 percent would support further diplomatic engagement.
The survey (PDF) also finds an electorate that is far less certain of its support of Israel than US political leaders would suggest. By a narrow margin — 50 percent to 47 percent — Americans would oppose the US militarily defending Israel if it were the victim of an unprovoked attack.
If the attack against Israel were retaliation for Israeli military action, even more — 56 percent — would oppose US military intervention, while 38 percent would support it.
Americans “show a rather restrained attitude toward being involved” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the survey states. Fully two-thirds — 66 percent — of those polled want the US to maintain a neutral stance in the conflict, while 28 percent want to see the US take the Israeli side. However, that’s up from 17 percent in 2004…
And then there is this poll from the AJC (American Jewish Committee):
In the current situation, do you favor or oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state?
In the framework of a permanent peace with the Palestinians, should Israel be willing to compromise on the status of Jerusalem as a united city under Israeli jurisdiction?
Not Sure 4
As part of a permanent settlement with the Palestinians, should Israel be willing to dismantle all, some, or none of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank?
Not sure 2
Should the Palestinians be required or not be required to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in a final peace agreement?
Not required 3
Not sure 1
Would you support or oppose the United States taking military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons?
Not sure 4
Apparently the AJC survey was not just a survey of AJC members, but despite AJC’s claims that the survey is representative of the adult Jewish American population, I am not sure exactly how they determine that. So, perhaps it is accurate, perhaps it is not. There are a lot more questions/results at the website, I just highlighted a few.
One thing the AJC poll does seem to show is that there is clear resistance to dividing Jerusalem and people seem conflicted about settlements. There also is only a narrow majority that favors a two state solution- that surprised me. Does that have an impact on US efforts to negotiate peace in the Middle East, assuming this poll is at all representative of American Jewish public opinion? I think it does and that could be a problem. However, with respect to the questions about settlements, not even the Palestinians expect to get back all of the land taken by settlers beyond the Green Line, etc. I think a more interesting question would have been “do you support the Obama administration’s call to halt settlement construction in East Jerusalem for the duration of peace talks?” That would seem like a relevant question to ask. All of that said, polls are statistics and statistics can be used and abused so it’s best not to put too much faith in them. Also, If the Palestinians and Israelis were actually on the brink of a ground-breaking agreement, public opinion might change and become more flexible.