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October 28, 2013 10:12 am

Survey of American Jews Shows Pessimism Over Arab Spring, Iran’s Nuclear Program

avatar by Zach Pontz

President Obama greets AIPAC supporters following his speech to the group in 2012. Photo: Ruvi Leider.

American Jews are generally pessimistic about current political developments across the Middle East, notably the “Arab Spring,” Iran’s nuclear program and Arab intentions regarding Israel, a new survey published by the American Jewish Committee reveals.

The AJC survey, conducted annually, also gauged Jewish opinions on likely U.S. presidential candidates for 2016, U.S.-Israel relations, the role of religion in Israel, and President Obama’s handling of a range of foreign and domestic policy issues.

“This annual survey, which AJC has sponsored for many years, reveals many fascinating insights about the Jewish outlook. Among them are that American Jews are highly engaged in, and concerned about, top U.S. foreign policy challenges,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

“Our survey shows that they are particularly worried about Iran’s drive for nuclear-weapons capacity. And despite all the reports of a decline in American Jewish enthusiasm for Israel, over three-quarters of the respondents believe that caring about Israel is a key component of Jewish identity,” he said.

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On the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton is the candidate with the most positive sentiment. She is followed by Joe Biden, John Kerry, Chris Christie, Andrew Cuomo, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul.

The survey also gauged sentiment on changes in several Middle Eastern countries since the “Arab Spring” began nearly three years ago; 56 percent of respondents said they are pessimistic, and 40 percent said they are optimistic.

While American Jews are distrustful of the long-term goals of Arabs regarding Israel, half of the respondents favored the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The AJC said 50 percent are in favor and 47 percent oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state. In 2010, 48 percent favored and 45 percent opposed.

More details on the poll can be found at the American Jewish Committee’s website.

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