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July 3, 2012

Israel Factor assessment: Dem vs. GOP, AIPAC vs. J Street

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/israel_factor_assessment_dem_vs_gop_aipac_vs_j_street_20120703/

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Benjamin Netanyahu addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C., March 2012. (Photo: GPO)

Two quick nuggets from our latest Israel Factor survey (June 2012), before we send our panelists the next survey and forget all about it (by the way, any questions you’d like to ask our distinguished panel of Israeli experts? Send us an email).

Once every couple of months we tend to repeat some of the questions we ask, just to see what our panel thinks of the Washington players and how it changes its assessment of them. In this post, I’ll show you two graphs of the panel’s evolving assessment – two graphs each followed by a couple of short comments.

I’ll start with our panel’s Democratic vs. Republican Party assessment. The question we ask is: “From 1 (bad for Israel) to 10 (good for Israel), please rank the following institutions:”. Here’s what our Factor panel told us about the Democratic Party and the Republican Party from 2007 to June 2012:

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What do we learn from this?

1. That our panel is far from the right-wing group it is occasionally accused of being – very far from it. For the most part, this panel tend to favor the Democratic Party and believe it is better for Israel than the Republican Party.

2. This panel doesn’t buy the this-party-is-bad-for-Israel and that-party-is-bad-for-Israel propaganda. Its ranking is based on its impression of the two parties’ general policies and on the assumption that good for America is good for Israel.

3. One should note – I asked some of the panelists about it – that the experts rank the Congressional representatives of the parties, not party voters. We know from many polls that Democratic voters tend to be less favorable of Israel than Republican voters.

Now the second graph, our panel’s 2010-2012 ranking of AIPAC and J Street – the mainstream main Jewish pro-Israel lobby group vs. the new dovish and more controversial Jewish lobby:

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What can we learn from this?

1. That AIPAC is far more acceptable to the panel, and this hasn’t changed much since December 2010.

2. Yet it has changed a little: As J Street becomes more careful and less eager to provoke, the panel is slowly, very slowly, accepting it as a legitimate actor in the pro-Israel scene.

3. Looking at the specific ranking of each and every member of our panel I can tell you this: J Street can never catch AIPAC as the mainstream lobby is generally-speaking acceptable to all panelists, while J Street is well-liked by some but despised by others. For AIPAC, all ranks are between 8 and 10. For J Street they run from 2 to 10.

4. The one panelist who is ranking J Street as 10, is also the one panelist ranking President Obama as 10, and the Democratic Party as 10. The panelist ranking J Street as 2 also ranks Obama as 5 – the lowest of all marks the President got from this panel. You get my point, don’t you?

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