AJC Polls: American Jews Increasingly Support Attack On Iran… After They Increasingly Disapproved of Iraq War

The new American Jewish Committee poll of 800 self-identified American Jews shows a marked decline in support for President Barack Obama (Ali Gharib and Jim Lobe have discussed this finding), but the most interesting part of the poll might lie in the increasing support for a United States or Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Is this evidence that the campaign led by Iran hawks at various Washington based think-tanks and through AIPAC’s extensive influence in Congress is paying off?

Compared to previous years, it’s pretty clear that attacking Iran has grown considerably in popularity.

A graph of the poll results from 2005, the year the AJC first asked the question about a U.S. attack on Iran, to 2010, shows a steady decline in support from 2005 to 2007 and a dramatic increase in support from 2007 to 2010.

The drop in support from 2005 to 2007 could possibly be explained by the overwhelming Jewish dissatisfaction with the execution of the war in Iraq. In 2002, 59-percent of Jews polled by the AJC supported military action to remove Saddam Hussein from power and 36-percent disapproved.  By 2005, only 28-percent approved of the war and 70-percent disapproved. By 2007, 27-percent of respondents said the invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do while 67-percent said the United States should have stayed out. Clearly the period from 2005-2007 marked a high-point for Jewish Americans expressing war weariness with what was promised to be a “cakewalk to Baghdad.”

But come 2008, violence had waned considerably and Iraq virtually disappeared from the U.S. media. Calls for military action against Iran could gain more traction.

Changes in support for an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities are harder to track since the AJC only started asking the question in 2009. Yet, it is interesting to note that support for both an Israeli or U.S. attack rose noticeably in the eight months between the polls taken in 2010. During this time frame, there has been a daily barrage of op-eds calling for tighter sanctions, demands for keeping the “military option on the table,” and high-profile discussions on the possibility of Israel “going it alone”(see Jeffrey Goldberg’s Atlantic cover story discussing such a scenario).

The same neoconservatives who downplayed the potential cost of the Iraq war, promised that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and theorized that the road to Middle East peace “runs through Baghdad,” have now dusted off their talking points and fixed their sights on Iran.

* In 2002 the question was worded as “Do you approve or disapprove of the United States taking military action against Iraq to try and remove Saddam Hussein from power?.” In 2006 and 2007 the question was worded as “Looking back, do you think the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, or should the U.S. have stayed out?.

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



  1. This is a funny survey, because the sample is too small. I don’t think this number can represent American Jews. So someone can consider this research as a bias research.

  2. For all the reasons and more I stated in my response to your previous post on AJC polls, your granting them so much undeserved validity by your coverage.

  3. Be careful that you don’t read an internal Jewish psychological factor as an objective opinion on whether to attack Iran.

    American Jews have been subjected to to an incredibly heavy guilt trip by the Israelis. Zionism demands that American Jews deny their American nationality and accept that of Israeli by accepting Israel as THE NATION OF *ALL* JEWS. The premise of Israel is that OUR Jews are Jewish-American, much as one might be French-American, of some sort of dual nationality en route to rejecting the latter part, American, leaving them with Jewish which means Israeli. Thus, as Sharon declared in 2002, any Jew who does not immigrate to Israel by 2020 “will lose his Jewish soul.”

    The fact that 75% of World Jewry deems Israel only a nice place to visit but not to live and that maybe 75% of Israelis would accept an American or EU passport and move there indicates that Israel is in no way the “JEWISH STATE” to which all Jews would in-gather. Desperate for people, Israel has worked the Holocaust Psychosis wherein it behaves as Germany behaved with its neighbors at the start of WWII and justifies it as a “never again” Holocaust Psychosis, fearful of extermination.

    Burdened with guilt for their silence when FDR sent German Jewish refugees back to Germany to face the Holocaust, American Jews have since the end of WWII hysterically supported Zionism. Yet, that support never materialized in a great aliyah immigration. Instead, Jews rubber stamped any Israeli acts of aggression to assuage their guilt. The current generation of Jews are more ready to apply reason and morality as they do not feel guilt-bound to Israel.

    Now, Israel is so desperate for Jews to populate its “Greater Israel” that it demands that Jews drop the religious character of their Jewishness and accept it as a militant jingoistic “Jihadi” nationalism. The presence of Jews in the Diaspora is deemed permissible only if they serve Israel’s interests. Yet mass majority of American Jews see themselves as Americans first and will not betray their loyalty to America…hence the neocon hasbara: if it’s good for Israel IT MUST BE good for America. This has not taken, especially among young American Jews who see neocons driving American into endless war with Islam in service of Israeli dominance of the Middle East.

    For decades the ADL declared internally that together with Zionist groups, instead of fighting against discrimination, has been fighting against assimilation of American Jews into American society. ADL failed and Jews have been major intergrated contributors to the well-being of THEIR nation, USA.

    Desperate to change them around, Israeli hasbara has deliberately been promoting an American Krystalnacht as backlash to this incessant demand that American Jews act as if an Israeli Fifth Column. In this way it is hoped that they will stampede in fear to Israel with all their goods. But American Jews continue to judge Israel by the same Jewish Ethic that, unlike Israelis, American Jews are bound by morality of their faith. Yet, guilt also puts them in a schizoid state.

    Moving to Israel to fight Iran would get very few takers as American Jews’ first loyalty is to the USA; covering themselves in an AIPAC interogatory poll with the “politically correct” answer does not change their first loyalty to their homeland, USA.

    I consider the current Zionist approach of combating “assimilation” by promoting anti-Semitism utterly criminal. It is incumbent on us all Americans to realize that for mass majority of American Jews the United States is their first loyalty and we owe OUR Jews to stop all Israeli attempts to capture them by promoting an American anti-Semitic backlash.

  4. i support military action versus iran if it can end
    their nuke program,and as long as diplomatic efforts have been exhausted.

  5. the above lengthy post dated Oct 15 2010 is nothing more than anti-semetic claptrap.

    the author’s premise that “American Jews have been subjected to to an incredibly heavy guilt trip by the Israelis.” is garbage and as an American Jew I strongly resent the author’s goyish description of American Jews as ” OUR Jews”. I am not YOUR Jew. Disgusting description.Anymore than Italian Americans are YOUR Italians, or American Catholics are YOUR catholics. WTF do you think you pretend to be ?

    And suggesting that Americans should “prevent the capturing of OUR Jews by Israel”
    is claptrap and bigotry.

    Israel holds a special place in the heart of every Jew no matter what country they have emigrated to or are born in. Just as wherever an Italian, Frenchman, German emigrates to, their birth land or that of their ancestors will always hold a special place and interest in their heart.

    As a non Jew and likely not as as American either, I suggest you mind your own business and seek therapy for your bigotry and fear of “Zionism”.

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