AJC's View on Survey of Israeli Attitudes Towards U.S. Jews

June 25, 2013 – New York – The results of a new survey of Israeli attitudes towards American Jews regarding the peace process are “not entirely surprising,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

Israelis are divided on any role for U.S. Jews in the peace process, but value American Jewish advocacy for Israeli security, it was reported.

Commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation, the survey found that 31.9 percent think Israeli leaders should not take into account the positions of American Jews on the peace process at all, 33.6% said they should be considered to a small extent. Only 21.6% called for those views to be taken into account to a great extent, and 9.4% to a very great extent.

Regarding Israel’s national security, however, the survey found that 66.3% of Israelis see the Jewish community in the U.S. as having a very or somewhat positive influence.

Harris’s full statement on the survey follows:

"In our own experience, Israelis have been deeply divided -- what else is new? -- on their perception of the American Jewish role.

“Many have told us that, while our political support for Israel is vital for the country's well-being, it should not be seen as translating into involvement on life-and-death issues in the decision-making structure of a sovereign, democratic country.

"In that spirit, it also suggests a clear line between asking American Jews to stand up for Israel while pointing out that Israelis, not American Jews, will bear the direct consequences of decisions made in the national security realm.

"Conversely, some have told us that Israel cannot realistically expect to ask for the support of American Jews without taking into account their views, wherever they may fall on the Israeli political spectrum. In other words, with the desire for support comes the acknowledgment of a say in matters.

"For AJC, this has always involved a delicate balancing act, recognizing there are valid points in both perspectives.

"We are not Israeli citizens, though we have the choice to move to Israel tomorrow and become fully involved in the country's life, including serving in the military, paying taxes, voting in elections, and raising our children. We have to recognize these fundamental differences in the reality of Israelis and American Jews.

"At the same time, given our profound engagement with Israel, and with Israel-related issues in Washington and scores of capitals around the world, we have an outlook on pressing issues that needs to be shared and, at times -- yes, with appropriate sensitivity -- aired."