The American people's strong support for Israel remains constant and their support
for action to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power has substantially
increased, according to a new nationwide survey released by the Anti-Defamation
League (ADL) today.
The survey's findings demonstrate that Americans recognize Israel as a strong and
loyal U.S. ally, are skeptical about "peace dividends" that would be realized by
Israel stopping all settlement construction and believe that a Palestinian state
must not be established until the Palestinians demonstrate a commitment to end
violence and accept Israel's legitimacy.
The 2009 Survey of American Attitudes on Israel, The Palestinians and Prospects for
Peace in the Middle East, a national telephone survey of 1,200 American adults, was
conducted September 26-October 4, 2009 by Marttila Communications of Washington,
D.C. and Boston. The margin of error is +/- 2.8%.
"This latest survey of the American people, coming at a time of a full range of
challenging issues facing Israel and the region demonstrates anew the breadth and
depth of American public support for Israel from a variety of perspectives," said
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Americans see Israel as a loyal ally to
the U.S., as being very serious about wanting to achieve peace with the Palestinians
and as deserving the sympathy of the American people in the conflict with the
Mr. Foxman also noted a changing dynamic regarding Iran and the nuclear issue. "The
significant increase in Americans viewing Iran as a threat and supporting, if
nothing else works, U.S. or Israeli military options against Iran, reflect a new and
needed sense of urgency about the issue in light of Iran's oppressive policies and
the discovery of a secret Iranian nuclear plant," he said. "This is the first time
a majority of Americans -- 54% -- support such an option for the U.S."
The full poll is available online at
Key findings on Israel and the Palestinians
-- 67%, the highest figure in recent years, see Israel as a country to be
counted on as a strong, loyal U.S. ally.
-- By a 3-1 ratio, the American people express more sympathy with Israel
than with the Palestinians.
-- 64% of Americans continue to believe that Israel is serious about
reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
-- Americans see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as difficult to
resolve. Of the 26% who believe the prospects for peace have
worsened, 51% blame the Palestinians.
-- There is increased support for U.S. involvement in the process --39%,
up from 30% in 2007, but still a significant plurality - 48% --
believe that the sides must solve their own problems with minimal US
-- Americans are skeptical about "peace dividends" that would result from
a freeze on settlements. 53% believe leaders of the Arab world will
continue to refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist, even if
Israel stops all further construction settlements; only 25% believe
the Palestinians would be prepared to achieve a final resolution of
the conflict if Israel stopped further construction of settlements.
-- 61% of Americans believe that the differences between Israelis and
Palestinians will drag on for years. Only 29% believe that the two
sides "will never have a better opportunity to reach a peace agreement
than they do at the present moment."
-- While Americans support the creation of a Palestinian state, 56%
believe it must not be established until the Palestinians end the
violence and accept Israel's legitimacy.
-- A majority place the onus for peace on Palestinians because of the
division between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, and the Arabs,
because of their refusal to accept Israel's right to exist as the
major obstacle to peace other than Israeli settlements. 51% believe
Palestinian division stands in the way of peace.
Key Findings on Iran
-- 63% of Americans now see Iran as an immediate or short-term security
threat to the Middle East, up from 50% in 2007.
-- 83% believe that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, up from 71% in
-- 57% support Israeli military action to keep Iran from developing a
nuclear weapons program, up from 42% in 2007
-- 54% support U.S. military action to keep Iran from developing a
nuclear weapons program, up from 47% in 2007.
Marttila Communications, a Washington, DC/Boston-based public opinion research firm,
which has conducted ADL's previous surveys, conducted this national telephone survey
of 1,747 adults. The base sample is 1,200 plus an oversample of 256 African
Americans, and 250 Hispanics, bringing the oversample for both communities to 400
For those questions answered by all 1,200 respondents, the survey results have a
margin of error of +/- 2.8%. For many questions, the survey used the technique of
"split sampling," a process in which the 1,200 person sample was split into two
demographically representative samples of 600 respondents each. For those questions
that were answered by 600 respondents, the survey has a margin of error of +/- 4 %.
The purpose of split sampling in the survey was to maximize the number of questions
that could be asked, to test different hypotheses about an issue, and to test the
impact of different question wording.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization
fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred,
prejudice and bigotry.
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