Monday, September 26, 2011

Netanyahu is not a Hardliner, he is in the mainstream of Jewish opinion

Although many have tried to paint Netanyahu as some sort of extremist, who is outside of the mainstream, the Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion from the American Jewish Committee seems to show Netanyahu is anything but.  Now before you assume that this survey was skewed towards hard-liners, take a look at the background of the participants.  Only 16% consider themselves Republican and only 9% consider themselves to be Orthodox Jews.  The majority would also vote for Obama against all major GOP contenders.  Now for some of the key results:

9. In the current situation, do you favor or oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state?
Favor 38
Oppose 55
Not sure 8

Yup, you got it, 55% oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state and only 38% are in favor.  This puts Netanyahu squarely in the mainstream, as he has endorsed a two state solution, just not now and not without security guarantees. 

10. Do you approve or disapprove of Palestinian efforts to unilaterally seek recognition of statehood without reaching an agreement with Israel?
Approve 9
Disapprove 88
Not sure 3

In other words, 88% of American Jews are in agreement with Netanyahu on this one.

In the framework of a permanent peace with the Palestinians, should Israel be willing to compromise on the status of Jerusalem as a united city under Israeli jurisdiction?
Yes 37
No 59
Not sure 4

Look at that, 59% of American Jews believe there should not be any compromise on dividing Jerusalem, as does Netanyahu.

12. As part of a permanent settlement with the Palestinians, should Israel be willing to dismantle all, some, or none of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank?
All 8
Some 51
None 39
Not sure 2

What this means is that only 8% of American Jews believe in going back to the pre-1967 borders, which is a Palestinian demand for the re-opening of talks and something essentially favored by Obama.  Note that 39% don't believe in dismantling any settlements at all.  Any if you look at a map of settlements in the West Bank, this means 39% believe Israel shouldn't give up much more land than they have already.  So 90% of American Jews are either in agreement or to the right of Netanyahu, who has agreed to the dismantling of some settlements.

13. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "The goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel."
Agree 76
Disagree 19
Not sure 5

So if 76% believe the ultimate goal is the ultimate destruction of Israel then any delays coming from the Israeli side is exactly what the American Jewish mainstream would want.

15. Should the Palestinians be required or not be required to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in a final peace agreement?
Required 96
Not required 3
Not sure 1

As we know, Netanyahu has been hammering away at the Jewish state recognition issue and while some have tried to paint this demand as illegitimate, it is clearly viewed as necessary by an overwhelming percentage of Jews.  And I never thought you could get 96% of Jews to agree on anything!

While some will say that a poll of American Jews doesn't mean anything, I have this to say.  Left wing attempts to paint Netanyahu as an extremist may actually cost the Democrats votes as by vilifying some of Netantyahu's positions will, in effect, vilify mainstream Jewish positions, as this survey shows.  Also, while this is anecdotal, my Israeli dyed in the wool Labour-voting mother-in-law, loved Netanyahu's speech before the UN, calling it "wonderful".  Netanyahu really seems to represent the Jewish people as a whole and is doing a remarkable job in eloquently voicing our concerns on a world stage.  Whether anyone is going to listen is another matter, but it's never been easy being a Jew.


  1. You make some valid points about this survey and public perceptions of Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, but why do you call yourself "libertarian neocon"? Isn't that kind of a contradiction in terms? What comes first for you, nationalism or libertarianism?

  2. Hi starchild. Most libertarians (basically all those who aren't anarchists or anarcho-capitalists) believe there are two legitimate functions of government, rule of law and defense. So my belief in a strong and active defense doesnt really contradict my libertarianism, especially when we have a volunteer army. Also, I became a neocon after seeing the towers go down on 9/11 (I work in midtown and had a full view of everything that day). There are people out there trying to kill us and it seems to make sense for us to stop them.