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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Survey Among American Jews: Over 51% Support for Biden’s Decision to Withhold Arms Shipments to Israel

Filed under: Operation Swords of Iron

Survey Among American Jews: Over 51% Support for Biden’s Decision to Withhold Arms Shipments to Israel
(Ted Eytan/CC BY-SA 2.0)

In the aftermath of the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) entry into the Rafah border area and President Biden’s announcement of a potential arms embargo should Israel continue its offensive into Rafah, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has released the results of a recent survey capturing the viewpoints of 511 American Jews regarding the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict

Conducted between May 9-11, 2024, the survey provides critical insights into the attitudes and concerns within the American Jewish community during this turbulent period. The survey has a margin of error of ±4% and includes a balanced representation by gender and age.

“The Israel-Hamas war has created a great deal of activity both in the media and on the streets,” claims Dr. Irwin J. Mansdorf, and adds: “We were interested in the views of American Jews on a number of subjects and how they may have been influenced by events in Israel, Gaza, and in the United States.”

Key Findings:

1. Apprehension and Concern: The survey results indicate a general feeling of apprehension and concern for the future of American Jewry. Despite a significant awareness of the complex situation, there is a notable suspicion and scepticism towards Israel and its actions, reflecting a liberal-left inclination among a portion of the respondents.

2. Genocide Accusations: Approximately one-third of respondents agreed with the accusation that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, while about half disagreed. This sentiment aligns with concerns over personal relationships with non-Jews, which have been negatively affected since the start of anti-Israel demonstrations in the United States.

3. Demonstrations: Only 28% viewed the demonstrations as purely anti-Israel, while 35% saw them as anti-war and pro-peace. A quarter of respondents perceived the demonstrations as both.

4. Support for Israel: Support for Israel remains robust but conditional. About a quarter indicated unconditional support, while another quarter supported Israel but not the current Israeli government. Notably, 11.5% unconditionally supported the Palestinians, with 7.8% supporting the Palestinians but not Hamas.

5. President Biden’s Actions: There is strong support (over half) for President Biden’s decision to withhold arms shipments to Israel, with a significant minority (about a quarter) disagreeing. Biden also enjoys substantial support for re-election, leading Trump by a wide margin (52-11). However, 90% of respondents felt that President Biden takes the Jewish vote for granted.

6. Progressive “Squad” Candidates: When considering voting for progressive candidates like Rashida Tlaib or Ilhan Omar over a moderate Republican, 26% of respondents said they would, with 13% abstaining and a similar amount expressing indecisiveness.

7. Two-State Solution: There is considerable support (over 60%) for a two-state solution as the best road to peace, with varying conditions related to demilitarization and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

“Furthermore, there are notable differences in viewpoints between respondents over and under the age of 44,” emphasizes Dr. Mansdorf. Younger respondents are more likely to agree with the genocide accusation (38% under 44 vs. 22% over 44) and have experienced more negative impacts on their relationships with non-Jews due to the demonstrations (52% “No” for over 44 vs. 13% “No” for under 44).

The survey highlights a community in flux, grappling with its traditional liberal values and evolving perspectives on Israel. While support for Israel remains strong, it is increasingly conditional, reflecting a shift in how American Jewry relates to the current Israeli government and the broader conflict.