I Know What Jews Like
Actually, J Street knows. The pro-peace/pro-Israel/pro-Palestine Jewish lobby just released a monster of a poll on American Jewish political attitudes. The takeaway: we’re liberal as hell; we hate Bush; we know Bush has been a disaster for Israel; we’ll support any peace deal the Israelis make; and the only thing we’re uncomfortable with to that end is giving East Jerusalem back to the Palestinians.
Let’s go down the line. Seventy-four percent of us view Bush unfavorably and 83 percent of us disapprove of his job performance. While 76 percent of the country as a whole says the U.S. is on the wrong track, an astonishing 90 percent of American Jews say the same. Only 21 percent of us approve of the Iraq war and only 29 percent think Bush is good for Israel, and those are clearly the shmucks that kissed ass in Hebrew school and snitched when the rest of us used the synagogue phone booth and cloakroom to make out.
When asked if the U.S. should or shouldn’t actively broker Mideast peace, it broke down 55 percent for U.S. involvement and 30 percent against. J Street, the menschen, took that a step further and examined support for the hard choices piece requires. "Even if it meant the United States publicly stating its disagreements with both the Israelis and the Arabs?" Yes — 75 percent; no — 25 percent. "Even if it meant the United States exerting pressure on both Israelis and Arabs to make the compromises necessary for peace?" Yes — 70 percent; no — 30 percent.
In terms of negotiating positions for an Arab-Israeli settlement, 59 percent agree that Israel will need to "withdraw from most of the West Bank and dismantle many of the Israeli settlements." Another 58 percent agree that for full peace with Syria — and an abandonment of their support for Hamas and Hezbollah — Israel should get out of the Golan. Only 44 percent, though, endorse the statement that Palestinian East Jerusalem should be part of the state of Palestine. And while that’s the only non-majority position among American Jews for what can fairly be called the dovish line, 44 percent is still a substantial amount of support.
J Street’s poll supports its contention that the attitudes of most of us are far, far out of whack with what this country’s self-appointed Jewish leaders — the Joe Liebermans, the AIPACs, the Sheldon Adelsons, the Commentary magazines — say we’re about and what we’re actually about.