Poll: Netanyahu, US congress & AIPAC stand to the right of Israeli public

Posted: May 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, Polls, the US and us | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

According to Maariv’s poll, 57 percent of Israelis accept the principles outlined in president Obama’s Middle East speech. By being more pro-Israeli than the Knesset, the US Congress indicates that the road to peace and justice in the region cannot pass through Washington

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) speaks at the AIPAC Policy Conference 2011. In Israel, Kantor’s view would have placed him in a settler’s party (photo: AIPAC)

In the morning following Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech before a joint session of Congress, a poll published by the Israeli daily Maariv indicates that while Netanyahu enjoys considerable support among Israelis, the public is far more inclined than its prime minister to make concessions to the Palestinians.

According to a Teleseker-Maariv poll, conducted last night, a clear majority of 57 percent of Israelis would have wanted Netanyahu to say “yes” (or “yes, but“) to the path to a two-state solution outlined in President Obama’s speech.

(As pollster Dahlia Scheindlin wrote on this site, such figures correspond to previous polls, which show, for most part, the support of most of the Jewish public for a two-state solution based on the ‘67 borders.)

At the same time, if elections were held today, the Maariv poll has Netanyahu’s Likud party receiving 30 seats (it holds 27 today), with opposition party Kadima dropping from 27 to 26 seats. The poll shows Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beitenu rising from 14 to 16 seats.

If those numbers represent the real attitude of the Israeli public, then Netanyahu has presented a false picture in the speeches given during his U.S. visit– he enjoys a stronger coalition than he cares to present, but in rejecting the 1967 borders as the basis for negotiations, he doesn’t reflect the views of most Israelis.

My bet is that with time, more Israelis will come to oppose the ‘67-based solution and a compromise over Jerusalem, as the prime minister’s messages increasingly sinks in with some of his supporters, who are now more open to concessions than he is.

What’s even more interesting is how far to the right the Washington establishment is on these issues. If they were Israelis, all of those attacking President Obama on Israel – from the Senate majority leader to the Washington Post’s editorial page – would have been part of the right flank of the Likud, or a moderate settler party. Right now, the Israeli consensus – if such thing exists – is to the left of the beltway (though Netanyahu is working very hard to change that).

If the events of the past few days have taught us anything, it’s that the unique connection between Washington politicians (Republicans and Democrats alike), the Jewish lobby and Israeli hawks is the main obstacle to the termination of the occupation.

Under the current circumstances, the road to justice and peace in the region cannot pass through the U.S. capital.


2 Comments on “Poll: Netanyahu, US congress & AIPAC stand to the right of Israeli public”

  1. 1 maayan said at 5:43 am on May 25th, 2011:

    “If the events of the past few days have taught us anything, it’s that the unique connection between Washington politicians (Republicans and Democrats alike), the Jewish lobby and Israeli hawks is the main obstacle to the termination of the occupation.”

    Wrong conclusion. All these folks want peace. They just don’t want peace on 1949 Armistice lines or peace without “end of conflict” or peace where it’s merely another step in Palestinian desire to take over Israel. All of these parties have indicated a willingness to compromise and end the occupation.

    By the way, there is no “Jewish lobby.” There are a number of “pro-Israel” lobbies.

    “Under the current circumstances, the road to justice and peace in the region cannot pass through the U.S. capital.”

    Or countries that suck up to Arab and Muslim majority blocs in the UN or Arab oil control.

    The road to peace and justice in the region lies with the Palestinian leadership which will have to prepare its population for peace and inform them that compromise over this land – what they have been avoiding for a century – is the only way to achieve peace and justice. You and your 972 friends should make every effort to help them come to this conclusion instead of continuing to lay the blame at Israel’s feet.

  2. 2 Tom Mitchell said at 8:39 am on May 25th, 2011:

    Noam,
    Average Israeli citizens do not fear facing unemployment for expressing an opinion, members of Congress do. The Congress is about as corrupt as the Knesset, and with Israel divided on the issue, the members will defer until Israel (and AIPAC reflecting that) expresses a united opinion.