Americans back Israel, but for their own reasons

Monday, November 17, 2008 |  Nicole Jansezian

While Americans generally support Israel under many circumstances, a new bi-partisan poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and commissioned by The Israel Project, shows that the driving support for Israel is based on shared values, but mostly a fear of an Iranian threat.

Some highlights:

  • 72 percent say "even with all the problems that America faces at home now, we must still work hard to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons";
  • 66 percent say America should be a supporter of Israel and only 6 percent say America should be a supporter of the Palestinians;
  • Recent news has made close to two-thirds of Americans more concerned about Iran;
  • While economic issues top the list of American concerns, it does not dampen voters’ wishes to stand with Israel and to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founder and president of The Israel Project, said she was encouraged that "depsite the economic crisis, people are still willing to stand up on the issue of Iran,” which she labeled as the "seurity issue of the decade."

However, the results also show that American support is based on American, not Israeli, interests.

The Israeli-Palestinian issue was fourth on a list of foreign policy concerns. Americans were more worried that Iran could give nuclear weapons to terror groups hostile to or already in the United States or that it could create more economic unrest.

"Voters supporting (president-elect Barack) Obama as well as (Sen. John) McCain all find Iran with nuclear weapons to be a grave threat to the US and feel the need to work hard to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons,” said Stanley Greenberg, PhD of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

It seems, however, that American support of Israel tends to be as that of a preliminary shield for the United States, especially when it comes to Iran.

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