Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said that after months of anxiety over the crisis and its implications for Israel, "this survey should calm the American Jewish people."
- The American public continues to express strong support for Israel. More
than two-thirds of Americans said they are "favorable" toward
- By a three-to-one margin, Americans are more likely to blame the
Palestinians for the current violence in the Middle East.
- By more than a 5-to-1 margin, Americans are more supportive of Israeli
positions on the peace process than Palestinian positions. Nearly 75 percent
of those polled believe that Israel is serious about wanting to reach a
peace agreement with the Palestinians. Less than 50 percent believe that the
Palestinian Authority is serious about reaching a peace agreement with
- Thirty-seven percent of Americans say the Middle East and
Israel-Palestinian relations are the most important foreign policy problem
for the United States. Seventy-eight percent say the U.S. should continue to
play an important role in mediating the conflict.
- Americans believe Palestinian leaders are Inciting Violence
The survey found that 73 percent of Americans believe that "Palestinian
leaders are inciting the violence because they havenít gotten everything that
they wanted in the negotiations." Fully 58 percent of the respondents said
the goal of the Palestinians and the Arab states is not peace but "the
destruction of Israel."
The poll found that public approval of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat has
plummeted. Of the respondents, 26 percent expressed the view that Arafat has had
a positive impact on the peace process, while 38 percent said they believe
Arafat has had a negative impact. In addition, 51 percent of Americas believe
that Arafat is not committed to the peace process.
- Lack of Public Understanding
The poll found the American public is misinformed about some important facts
about the current conflict. For instance, 46 percent of Americans believe the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip have remained, "almost completely under
Israeli control" since the peace process began in 1993. In fact, 40 percent
of the West Bank and virtually all of Gaza have been returned to the
Still, sixty four percent of Americans said they closely follow news accounts
of the conflict.
The poll of 1,400 Americans was conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland and
First International Resources between January 25 and February 17, 2001. The poll
was sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, the Conference of Presidents of
Major American Jewish Organizations, the American Jewish Committee and United