MARCH 2009 POLL: American Jews support a two-state, final status deal between Israel and the Palestinians

WASHINGTON— An in-depth survey among the U.S. Jewish community commissioned in March by J Street, the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement, finds that the majority of American Jews support a two-state, final status deal between Israel and the Palestinians

Among the polls key findings:

  • American Jews remain remarkably supportive of assertive American efforts to achieve Middle East peace. The poll finds an extraordinarily strong base of 69 percent of American Jews firmly supporting active American engagement in bringing about Middle East peace, even if it means publicly disagreeing with or exerting pressure on both Arabs and Israelis, compared to 66 percent eight months ago;
  • 69 percent also support the U.S. working with a unified Hamas-Fatah Palestinian Authority government to achieve a peace agreement with Israel, even when informed that the U.S. does not recognize Hamas due to its status as a terrorist organization and its refusal to recognize Israel. Interestingly, a March poll conducted by the Truman Institute at Hebrew University reported that 69 percent of Israelis also think Israel should negotiate with a joint Hamas-Fatah government;
  • By 76-24 percent, American Jews support a two-state, final status deal between Israel and the Palestinians along the lines of the agreement nearly reached eight years ago during the Camp David and Taba talks;
  • On Avigdor Lieberman: When told about Lieberman's campaign platform requiring Arab citizens of Israel to sign loyalty oaths, as well as his threats against Arab Members of Knesset, American Jews opposed these positions by a 69 to 31 margin. One in three believe their own connection to Israel will be diminished if Lieberman assumes a senior position in the Israeli cabinet.
  • On Gaza: While Jews rallied behind Israel and approved of Israel's military action by a 3 to 1 margin, 59 percent still felt that the military action had no impact on Israel's security (41 percent) or made Israel less secure (18 percent), while only 41 percent felt it made Israel more secure.

Following are the breakdowns of responses to several of the questions presented to respondents. The full results of the poll can be accessed here.

Do you support or oppose the United States playing an active role in helping the parties to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict?

Strongly support 52
Somewhat support 37
Somewhat oppose 9
Strongly oppose 3

Total Support 88
Total Oppose 12

Would you support or oppose the United States playing an active role in helping the parties to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict if it meant the United States publicly stating its disagreements with both the Israelis and the Arabs?

Strongly support 46
Somewhat support 39
Somewhat oppose 10
Strongly oppose 5

Total Support 86
Total Oppose 14

Would you support or oppose the United States playing an active role in helping the parties to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict if it meant the United States publicly stating its disagreements with Israel?

Strongly support 31
Somewhat support 35
Somewhat oppose 18
Strongly oppose 16

Total Support 66
Total Oppose 34

Would you support or oppose the United States playing an active role in helping the parties to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict if it meant the United States exerting pressure on both the Israelis and Arabs to make the compromises necessary to achieve peace?

Strongly support 43
Somewhat support 37
Somewhat oppose 14
Strongly oppose 5

Total Support 81
Total Oppose 19

Would you support or oppose the United States playing an active role in helping the parties to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict if it meant the United States exerting pressure on Israel to make the compromises necessary to achieve peace?

Strongly support 27
Somewhat support 37
Somewhat oppose 16
Strongly oppose 20

Total Support 64
Total Oppose 36

As you may know, the Palestinian Authority is the Palestinian government in the West Bank and has been engaged in peace talks with the Israeli government. Hamas is the Palestinian government in Gaza and is not recognized by the United States because of its terrorism and refusal to recognize Israel. Currently, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are negotiating to become a unified Palestinian government. If they reach an agreement, would you support or oppose the United States working with that unity government to achieve a peace agreement with Israel?

Strongly support 28
Somewhat support 41
Somewhat oppose 15
Strongly oppose 16

Total Support 69
Total Oppose 31

From what you know about Israeli settlements in the West Bank, do you support or oppose expanding these settlements?

Strongly support 14
Somewhat support 25
Somewhat oppose 28
Strongly oppose 32

Total Support 40
Total Oppose 60

Eight years ago, Israeli, Palestinian, and American negotiators came very close to reaching a final status peace agreement, but ultimately fell short.

The details of that agreement include: a demilitarized Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza; internationally recognized borders that include some land swaps allowing for most Jewish settlers in the West Bank to be inside Israel while the Palestinians get comparable land areas in return; Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem become part of the new Palestinian state while Israel retains control of Jewish neighborhoods and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; international forces to monitor the new Palestinian state and border crossings; and financial compensation for Palestinian refugees while allowing some refugees to return to Israel if they meet specific family reunification criteria and the Israeli government approves.

Do you support or oppose such an agreement?

Strongly support 33
Somewhat support 43
Somewhat oppose 13
Strongly oppose 11

Total Support 76
Total Oppose 24