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Most U.S. Jews see Israel as serious in peace bid, poll finds

By mmorgenstern@jta.org

June 1, 2011 | 12:33 pm

American Jews strongly believe in Israel’s commitment to peace, and largely think the Palestinian leadership and people are opposed to it, according to a new poll.

Eighty-four percent of respondents in the survey released last week said the Israeli government is committed to a lasting peace, compared to just 20 percent who said the same about the Palestinian Authority. More than half think the Palestinian people are opposed to peace with Israel.

Sponsored by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, the poll sampled more than 1,000 American Jews several days before President Obama called for the 1967 borders to be used as the basis for negotiations for a future Palestinian state.

More than 75 percent of those polled said the biggest obstacle to peace in the region is the Palestinians’ “culture of hatred” and promotion of anti-Israel sentiment.

Seventy-eight percent said it was essential for the Palestinian Authority to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and 62 percent did not believe that Israelis would be free from Palestinian terror attacks even if a Palestinian state were created in the West Bank and Gaza.

Nearly one in four said they would consider it “the biggest tragedy of my lifetime” if Israel were to no longer exist, and 58 percent said they would call it “a major tragedy that personally concerned me.”

Andrea Levin, executive director of CAMERA, said in a release that the results get to what most Jews in the United States believe.

“Some news media accounts have tended to amplify a vocal fringe in the American Jewish community that espouses extreme views and policies far out of the mainstream,” Levin said. “This poll clarifies what American Jews actually feel and believe.”

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