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Poll: Americans' support for Israel rises


09:53, November 14, 2011

JERUSALEM, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- Support for Israel among the U.S. electorate has risen to 60 percent, the highest level since 2009, according to a new poll released here on Sunday.

This increase in support follows Palestinian efforts to avoid direct negotiations with Israel and unilaterally declare statehood via the United Nations, the poll determines.

Support for Israel is more pronounced among 'opinion elites' ( 67 percent) -- respondents measured by their degree of engagement in foreign policy, level of education and income. The increase among the general electorate is driven by a 10-point rise in support among Democrats since June 2011. Support for Israel also remains relatively steady among Republicans and Independents.

The survey was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research in conjunction with Public Opinion Strategies and commissioned by The Israel Project, a non-profit organization that provides factual information about Israel and the Middle East.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents characterized Israel as "one of our strongest allies" and 66 percent as a "democracy," while 63 percent rejected the notion that Israel is "extremist" or " responsible for the violence."

By contrast, a majority of 56 percent of those surveyed consider Palestinians as "extremist" and an "obstacle to peace." Fifty-five percent do not view them as "victims" of Israeli occupation.

Asked to rate the reasons why they are "proud of America's strong alliance with Israel," women's rights (28 percent), freedom of speech and voting (28 percent), freedom of religion and the threat of terrorism (24 percent) topped the list of U.S. voters.

Regarding the notion of a two-state solution, three-quarters of respondents support the idea of Israel "as a homeland of the Jewish people" and Palestine "as the homeland of the Palestinian people."

The Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research/Public Opinion Strategies results are based on telephone interviews with 800 U.S. registered voters aged 18 to 65 from Oct. 30.

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