AJC Poll: U.S. Jewish Support for Iran Attack Grows

A recent American Jewish Committee poll of 800 self-identifying American Jews showed decreasing support for President Barack Obama and his Middle East policies. While his handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the economy were also concerns, the prominent trend of growing U.S. Jewish support for an attack on Iran was most striking.

We covered the poll, via the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, in our October 12 Daily Talking Points, but here is some further analysis from our colleague Jim Lobe where he calls upon Harvard political scientist Stephen Walt‘s take on the numbers:

Support for U.S. military action against Iran “to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons… if diplomacy and sanctions fail” rose from 53 percent to 59 percent since last March, while opposition to such a course fell from 42 percent to 35 percent over the same period.

As recently as its 2008 survey, the AJC found that 47 percent of respondents opposed an attack, while a 42-percent plurality supported one.

“I don’t think these results are surprising, especially given the drumbeat of Islamophobia in the American media, the constant pounding on the Iran threat by Israeli politicians and their supporters here, and the Obama administration’s repeated failure to explain what it thinks it is doing in the Middle East,” said Stephen Walt, a Harvard international relations expert and co-author of the controversial 2007 book, “The Israel Lobby”.

“They’ve let their critics define the narrative, while doing nothing to give anyone on either the left or the right any confidence in their leadership,” he added. “If I’d been asked, I’d have said my approval of the job he’s doing was pretty low, too, though I obviously don’t agree with the idea of attacking Iran.”

The survey suggested that the hawkish views of the right- wing leadership of major Jewish organisations, including the AJC itself, have been gaining traction with the more-liberal Jewish public over the last eight months.

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Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.

One Comment

  1. I wouldn’t take this too seriously if I were you. There are all kinds of problems with polling of American Jews and they typically serve to promote a lot of illusions. There’s the question of how representative of the whole a sample based in Jews more intimately engaged in the official Jewish community can be. As for where the numbers stood in the first place, there are many reasons to be skeptical of the often quoted 78% statistic of Jews who voted for Obama, perhaps most notably that there would be a far higher “Bradley effect” among Jews than in the general population. Finally, this sort of polling of American Jews is highly selective. Consider that it was decided not to conduct a National Jewish Population Survey in 2010, as has been done in the last several census years, considering how much the number of American Jews, even by their highly expansive definition thereof, has surely plummeted, in addition to what some other polls have suggested of how much the rate of intermarriage has skyrocketed from what was already quite high in the last ten years.

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