Two in five Americans back sanctions on Israel — poll

Palestinian men work at a construction site in the Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit near the West Bank town of Bethlehem on 19 October 2010. Photo by Najeh Hashlamoun

Two in five Americans back economic sanctions or more serious actions against Israel over its continued construction of settlements on occupied Palestinian land, a crime under international law, a new poll has found. Among Democrats, a clear majority – 56 percent – backs economic sanctions or tougher actions. The poll produced other remarkable findings that underline growing public opposition to unquestioning support for Israel in the United States.

Commissioned by professors Shibley Telhami and Stella Rouse of the University of Maryland and conducted by the firm Nielsen Scarborough, the survey asked more than 2,000 respondents their views on key foreign policy issues. More than half – 54 percent – say the US should be even-handed, leaning neither towards the Israelis or Palestinians, a figure that shoots up to 72 percent among Democrats. Right now, 57 percent of respondents overall see the US leaning more towards Israel.

Americans are also very open-minded towards a one-state solution encompassing all of present-day Israel, the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Overall, 37 percent of Americans favor a two-state solution, but 31 percent say they would prefer “a single democratic state in which both Jews and Arabs are full and equal citizens, covering all of what is now Israel and the Palestinian territories.”
Read full report in Electronic Intifada