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ADL Survey Shows American Jews Overwhelmingly Supported Israel's Gaza Action

New York, NY, January 29, 2009  American Jews overwhelmingly supported Israel in its actions against Hamas in Gaza, according to a national survey conducted for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  The findings strongly contradict the notion that surfaced during the war in Gaza that American Jews were divided in their attitudes, with suggestions that many were critical of Israel.

The telephone survey of 400 American Jewish adults was conducted between January 13-19, 2009 (with a hiatus Friday evening-Saturday for the Jewish Sabbath) for ADL by The Marttila Communications Group, and has a margin of error of +/-4.9%.

Survey Highlights

 94% expressed sympathy for Israel over Hamas; only 1% for Hamas (graph). By denomination breakdown: Orthodox - 98% expressed sympathy for Israel; Conservative - 96%; Reform - 91%.

  81% expressed the belief that Hamas was responsible for the escalation of the violence; only 14% held Israel responsible (graph).  By denomination breakdown: Orthodox - 84% held Hamas responsible, Conservative - 88%, Reform - 77%; non-practicing 77%.

 Asked whether Israel's response to Hamas rockets was appropriate or excessive, probably the major theme that has appeared in international critiques of Israel, 79% said it was appropriate, 17% excessive (graph). By denomination breakdown: Orthodox -  88%, appropriate, Conservative - 80%, Reform - 80% and non-practicing - 71%

 When asked about Israel's right to self-defense versus the need to win the "hearts and minds" of the Arab world, 79% said that Israel's responsibility to protect its citizens takes precedence (graph).

 "The survey findings strongly contradict those who disagreed with Israel's actions against Hamas and claimed there was a sharp division in the American Jewish community," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.

"The vast majority of the Jewish community clearly understands and overwhelmingly supports Israel's effort to stop Hamas' constant rocket attacks and cripple its terrorism infrastructure. The Jewish community is an open community where different views are welcome.  It was unfortunate that some seem to have an interest in exaggerating the level of disagreement on this issue."

ADL also explored American Jewish views of some of the key political issues facing Israel:

 Two-thirds of those interviewed indicated that they supported Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 and the same number continues to support that position today (graph).

 63% support the creation of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza while 32% oppose.  On the question of who is doing more to bring peace to the region, Israel or the Palestinians, 91% said Israel and 4% said the Palestinians.

"The findings on the political issues speak of a continuing strong center in the American Jewish community that wants a secure Israel but also strongly supports efforts toward peace," Mr. Foxman said.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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