The L.A. Jewish Journal commissioned Jewish communal pollster Steven Cohen to poll American Jews on their attitude toward the Iran nuclear deal. The results are startling because they expose a huge divide between the positions of the Israel Lobby and Jewish leadership and the rest of the community. While the Lobby is preparing to spend $50-million or more in an all-out blitz to derail the deal before Congress, American Jews generally support it. Cohen finds that 49% of Jewish respondents support the deal and 31% oppose it. When asked whether Congress should support it, 53% said Yes, 35% No.
Among Jews under 40, the result was 59% in favor and 25% opposed. This confirms a rising generation gap between younger and older Jews around questions concerning Israel. This is a phenomenon that many polls have confirmed, most notably the Pew poll on American Jewish identity.
46% of Jews said the deal would lead to more stability in the region, while 41% said it would make the region more unstable. 49% believe it will endanger Israel while 33% believe it will make Israel safer. What’s especially interesting about this result is that American Jews distinguish between the regional stability of the Middle East and Israel’s stability. Given a choice, by a small margin most understand that regional stability is more important than Israel’s stability. Part of the reason for this dichotomy is the intransigence of Israel’s political leadership and the wedge its driven between Israel and the U.S. Most American Jews are saying: don’t make us choose sides because if you do you might not like the result.
The poll also tracked results for all Americans and found that 28% support the deal personally, while 24% oppose it (48% had no opinion). Among all Americans, 41% believed Congress should support it and 38% believed it shouldn’t. This means that Jews support the deal in greater measure than Americans as a whole. Considering that wealthy pro-Israel Jews like Sheldon Adelson and groups like Aipac will be financing much of the Israel Lobby opposition to the deal, it’s shocking there’s such a disconnect between the élite and the rank and file.
H/t to John-Lewis Dickerson.