Support for sanctions on Israel growing in US
A new poll found that about a third of Americans believe that the U.S. should place sanctions on Israel.
The public opinion poll, conducted November 4 through November 10 by Shibley Telhami, of the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, asked respondents how the U.S. government should react to Israeli settlement construction. 31 percent of Americans recommended the U.S. limit its opposition to words while 27 percent recommended economic sanctions, and 10 percent recommended taking “more serious action.”
The poll was conducted online with a sample of 1,738 respondents, 863 of which are self-identified Evangelical or “Born-again” Christians. The poll’s margin of error is 3-4 percent.
The poll results come at a time when the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign has increasingly won student and faculty support at both public and private universities. Earlier this month, the American Anthropological Association voted in favor of boycotting Israeli academic institutions.
The poll’s other findings also demonstrate a significant disconnect between U.S. public opinion and foreign policy. An overwhelming majority of Americans (66 percent) would like the US to “lean towards neither side” in mediating between the two parties, whereas the U.S. government has been repeatedly criticized for acting as “Israel’s lawyer” rather than operating as a neutral party.
Furthermore, only 26 percent of Americans support vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution endorsing the establishment of a Palestinian state. The U.S. government vetoed such a resolution last December, and the Obama Administration remains opposed to Palestinian attempts to join international organizations.
Other results are more familiar. Overall, Evangelical Christians are more likely to be supportive of Israel than other groups. 54 percent of American Evangelical Christians believe that Israel must conquer all of the land promised to the Biblical Israelites (a land mass that includes parts of Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia in addition to present-day Israel). Like others, the poll also finds significant ideological differences between Republicans and Democrats. Democrats are much more likely to blame violence in Israel-Palestine on Israeli occupation and settlement expansion (37 percent) than Republicans (16 percent). Similarly, Democrats are much more likely to believe that Israel has too much influence over American politics (49 percent) compared to Republicans (25 percent).