Americans split on military aid to Israel, say political status quo unacceptable

Naftali Bennett
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attends a cabinet meeting at the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem, Sunday, August 1, 2021. (credit: Abir Sultan / Pool Photo via AP)
Ahead of Prime Minister Bennett’s first visit to Washington, new poll data show partisan divides on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, support for a Palestinian state.

By Dina Smeltz and Emily Sullivan | Chicago Council on Global Affairs | Aug 25, 2021

…overall opinion divides closely on whether the United States should (50%) or should not (45%) restrict US military aid to Israel to prohibit its use in military operations against Palestinians.

In recent years, the US-Israel relationship was stewarded by Israel’s longest-serving leader, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the man whom he referred to as “the greatest friend that Israel has ever had in the White House,” former President Donald Trump. This week, the first meeting between the two countries’ newly elected leaders, President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, will set the tone for a new era of US-Israel relations.

New data from the 2021 Chicago Council Survey indicate that some differences in ideas about US policy toward Israel on Capitol Hill—heightened by the 11-day clash between Israel and Hamas last May—have corresponding divisions among the American public. The US public is sharply divided along partisan lines on key issues, including whether to take a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, support for a Palestinian state, and restrictions on the uses of military aid to Israel. Moreover, it’s not just Americans who are at odds with each other. A comparison of the recent Chicago Council Survey and a Viterbi Family Center poll shows that the American public and Jewish Israelis have opposing views on what might be acceptable solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while Israeli Arabs and Americans are broadly aligned on acceptable political outcomes.

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