Jewish Journal


Israelis to Obama: This isn’t the time for you to do peace-processing

by Shmuel Rosner

February 14, 2013 | 7:39 am

Obama and Netanyahu, photo by Reuters

50% of Israelis support the "two state solution", but only 30% of them believe that "reigniting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process" should top the agenda for President Obama's visit to Israel. Only 20% of Israelis blame Obama alone for the "tense relations" between him and Prime Minister Netanyahu – more Israelis, 34%, blame Netanyahu, and 41% of Israelis think both leaders are equally responsible for the 'marital problems' these leaders have been having.

However, only 14% of Israelis believe that Obama deserves to be called 'pro-Israel'. This is Obama's lowest score on an Israeli survey since May 2011 – as you can see in our Israeli Opinion on Obama tracker. A lot more Israelis think Obama is "pro-Palestinian" or merely "neutral". As I've explained numerous times, "neutral" is a negative response when the American President is considered.

All these goodies are included in a new survey by Panels Politics, supervised by pollster Menachem Lazar. We had the questions in advance and the numbers as soon as they became available. They give an updated view of Israelis' thoughts about Obama about a month before his planned visit to Israel. Take a look at the numbers (followed by a few more comments):

How would you define President Obama?

Barack Obama recently appointed a new Secretary of State, John Kerry, and a new Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, to serve in his second administration. What do you think these appointments reveal about Obama's approach to Israel?


In the last four years, the relations between Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu were tense. Who is responsible for this situation?

What should be the main goal for Obama's visit to Israel?


Three short comments:

1. There's probably a high correlation between Israelis who blame Netanyahu for the tense relations (34%), and those who want the peace process to be at the top of the agenda. These Israelis may be referred to as 'the opposition'.

2. If there are 52% supportive of the two states solution, but only 30% who want Obama to make it the top issue of his visit – this means that almost half of the "two states" supporters don't think it is the most urgent issue at hand, or don't believe it is practical to pursue it at this point in time. Add them to the 40% who oppose the "two states" in this survey, and you get 60% of Israelis who wouldn't currently vigorously pursue a peace process. That's the 48% who answered 'Syria-Iran' plus the 10% who answered 'bettering the relations'.

3. 29%  call Obama pro-Palestinian, 23% see in the Kerry-Hagel appointments a proof that Obama is no friend, 20% think Obama alone is responsible for the tense relations with Netanyahu, and – in another question – 20% don't want Obama to give a speech at the Knesset during his visit. All in all, about a quarter of Israelis are hard-core Obama opponents. The rest of them are still suspicious but not as vehemently convinced that Obama is a huge problem.

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