The latest AJC poll on American Jewish opinion is a reminder that there is a disturbing tendency among my co-religionists, as one commentator poignantly put it, to “despise their familiars and love The Stranger who hates them — and hates them all the more for their craven pursuit of him.” What do American Jews think of Obama’s Israel policy? 55 percent approve and only 37 percent disapprove. And they still are among thee presidents’ most loyal supporters: 57 percent of Jews approve of Obama’s performance. (By contrast, his RCP poll average is hovering around 47 percent.) But then this gets really wacky.
What about a Palestinian state? Only 48 percent approve of the idea. What about compromising on Jerusalem? Oh, 61 percent disapprove of that idea. 75 percent of Jews agree with this statement: “The goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel.” Do they know what Obama’s Israel policy is? It’s hard to fathom how their support for his policy meshes with their policy preferences, which are antithetical to Obama’s. One is forced to conclude that this is a near Pavlovian response: “Obama=approval.” (One caveat: the poll was taken between March 2 and 23 so it may be that many responses were registered before the full Obama onslaught against Israel was apparent.)
On Iran it’s a slightly more mixed picture. Here only 47 percent approve of Obama’s policy and 42 percent don’t. But again, asked about the component parts of that policy, Jews sound a decidedly un-Obama-like note. 68 percent say there is little to no chance that sanctions will halt Iran’s nuclear program. On a military strike, 53 percent favor a U.S. action and 62 support an Israeli one. Again, do they know (or care) what Obama’s actual Iran policy is? Hard to tell.
If Israel supporters hope to apply pressure on the administration to reverse its approach to Israel and Iran, I have a suggestion: get some gentile support. Left to their own devices, a great number of American Jews seem to be out to lunch when it comes to the damage that Obama is inflicting on the U.S.-Israel relationship and on Israel’s security.