U.S. Jews favor return to Iran deal, and don’t care about Israel as a political issue

Jews support a return to the Iran deal by 68-32, according to a new survey. And when Jews are asked to name their top two political issues, Israel shows up near the bottom of the list, well behind climate change.

BY PHILIP WEISS  APRIL 14, 2022

American Jews overwhelmingly support the renewal of the Iran deal, and very few American Jews consider Israel a political priority, according to a new survey of American Jewish voters.

Jews support a return to the Iran deal by 68-32, the Jewish Electoral Institute found in a poll of 800 Jews this spring. The proportion is nearly 4-to-1 among Reform Jews (79-21) and women (77-23). And Jews over 65 are for the deal by a larger percentage (72-28) than Jews under 40. Only the orthodox are against the Iran deal, by 85-15! But orthodox make up just 9 percent of the Jewish population.

Now here’s the indifference to Israel question.

Voters were asked to say which two issues they wanted the president to focus on. Israel got clobbered. Only 4 percent listed it as one of their two issues.

When you break it down by denomination, it’s even starker. 1 percent of non-denominational Jews and 2 percent of Reform Jews think Israel should be a priority. And those two groups make up more than two-thirds of American Jews — 31 percent non-denominational, 37 percent Reform. Though  5 percent of Conservative and 18 percent of Orthodox Jews see Israel as a priority.

Other issues are just way more important. 42 percent of nondenominational Jews say climate change should be a top priority; 32 percent say voting rights; 12 percent say crime.

Of course the low Israel number may reflect the fact that the Israel lobby has got most Democrats under its wing already, to the point that Biden won’t criticize the occupation. So if the issue is not politicized, who needs to worry about it?

But the poll is consistent with other trends: a survey in 2007 showing that young Jews were becoming alienated from Israel, with only about half of those under 35 saying Israel’s end as a Jewish state would be a personal tragedy. And a survey by the Jewish Electoral Institute a year ago saying a quarter of Jews regard Israel as an apartheid state, and 38 percent of Jews under 40 say Israel is an apartheid state.

Polling from the Electoral Institute two and three years ago also suggests greater concern about Israel. In a 2020 survey, 68 percent of Jewish voters said a candidate’s position on Israel was somewhat or very important in choosing who to vote for. Though the poll said, “Israel remains the lowest priority for Jewish voters,” behind many other issues. (These polls apparently did not force respondents to name just two issues, as the latest one does.)

The new poll also shows that 93 percent of American Jews are concerned about antisemitism. The Reform number there is 95 percent concerned, the orthodox 96 percent, the non-denominational 89 percent concerned.

h/t Michael Arria and Adam Horowitz

Adapted from: https://mondoweiss.net/2022/04/u-s-jews-favor-return-to-iran-deal-and-dont-care-about-israel-as-a-political-issue/

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