MINNEAPOLIS — A new survey conducted by polling firm Nielsen Scarborough has produced some interesting and perhaps unexpected results that are sure to cause worry among the U.S.’ powerful Israel lobby.
The results showed that 40 percent of respondents support imposing sanctions or taking more serious action against Israel’s government for its continued construction of illegal Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land. Among Democrats who were polled, 56 percent supported sanctions against Tel Aviv.
The survey, commissioned by professors Shibley Telhami and Stella Rouse at the University of Maryland, asked over 2,000 participants about their views on major foreign affairs issues, including Israel’s occupation of Palestine. In addition to covering opinions on possible sanctions targeting Israel, some of the poll’s other results indicate that opposition to the U.S.’ historic support for Israel is growing.
For instance, the results showed that more than half of those polled feel that the U.S. should be entirely neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – a position espoused by President Donald Trump as a presidential candidate, but rejected upon his assumption of the presidency. In addition, 57 percent of respondents told pollsters that they currently see the U.S. leaning significantly more towards Israel.
The results also showed strong polarization between people identifying as Democrats or Independents and those identifying as Republicans, with Republicans more likely to back Israel and support the strengthening of U.S.-Israeli ties. But even Republicans who participated in the poll were wary of Israel entrenching its current apartheid practices in the long term.
Similar polls that were recently conducted in Australia and Canada also indicated growing public support in the West for direct action to be taken against Israel’s government, including boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.
The results of this latest poll are likely to hit home for Israel’s massive political lobby in the United States. A recently leaked report written by two powerful organizations within the U.S.-Israel lobby – the Anti-Defamation League and the Reut Institute – revealed internal concerns that the Israel lobby had failed to derail the growth of Palestine solidarity movements in the U.S. and elsewhere, despite significant spending that was intended to impair their growth.
Israel’s government will also likely take notice, as it has waged a years-long battle against the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) movement around the world. If support for BDS policies continues to grow, Israel will likely share the same concerns as those of the U.S.-Israel lobby.
The U.S. has long been Israel’s most ardent supporter since it was founded in the 1940s. But waning support for Israel among the U.S. populace could lead to a reduction in the amount of foreign aid the U.S. provides to Israel.
Israel receives $9.8 million a day from the U.S. in military aid alone, a staggering number that only represents a portion of taxpayer money that is regularly given to Israel. If the surge in public support for sanctions against Israel continues to grow in the U.S. and elsewhere, a drastic change in Israel’s domestic policy is a likely outcome.
See the complete survey results below:
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