A talking points document issued a week ago by Americans for Peace Now (APN) offers lefty Jews “7 Things You Should Know [about] Trump’s Decision on Jerusalem,” to bolster their conversation with rightwing relatives around the Hanukkah table. We found talking point 4 – “Americans, and particularly American Jews, do not want the US government to move our embassy to Jerusalem,” thought-provoking, if not outright depressing.
“The numbers are striking,” goes point 4, “Among Americans, only 31 percent support immediate relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem, while 63 percent support it. By party affiliation, opposition to the move is shared by 81 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of Independents, and 44 percent of Republicans.”
But “among American Jews,” the APN point 4 text continues, “opposition to the embassy move is even more pronounced than among the American population as a whole. Only 16 percent support an immediate move, while 36 percent would support the relocation in the context of progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and 44 percent oppose the move entirely.”
The data regarding the views of US Jews on the embassy move came from the “AJC survey of American Jewish opinion 2017: questions and responses (PDF),” conducted August 10-28 with a national sample of 1,000 Jews over age 18, margin of error plus-minus 3.71%. According to the survey, incidentally, 64% of respondents voted for Hillary Clinton, and only 18% preferred this newcomer to politics, the Republican party’s presidential candidate.
Item 14 on that survey asked: “Regarding a possible move of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which of the following courses of action do you most support?
Move the Embassy to Jerusalem immediately – 16%
Move the Embassy to Jerusalem at a later date in conjunction with progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks – 36%
Not move the embassy – 44
Not sure – 4
Granted, the APN talking point cheated a little, as talking points are known to do, and presented the third choice as “44 percent oppose the move entirely,” turning the time-specific context of the survey’s inquiry into a kind of eternal, ideologically based belief. But the question remains, why would the largest group of respondents – 440 out of 1,000 – oppose the US ever moving its embassy to Jerusalem, even following a successful peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian Authority?
In other words, we have no problem accepting the opinion of the 160 respondents who most likely voted for Trump and want him to move the embassy at once; and we also understand those other 360 who didn’t vote for Trump and condition the move on the success of a future peace treaty – but why would so many American Jews object to their country ever recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, to be followed by moving its embassy there?
We don’t deny the veracity of the survey’s findings, nor do we find it difficult to believe that 440 out of every 1,000 American Jews don’t want Jerusalem to ever be acknowledged as the capital of the Jewish State. We only wonder why, with this level of rejection of the validity of the Jewish State – such as its choices regarding its own sovereignty – does Israel even consider this block of US Jews as legitimate participants in the broader Jewish dialogue?
For all intents and purposes, especially should 2018 prove to be a Democratic wave year in response to rampant Republican failures – these are Israel’s enemies, and their ability to inflict damage on the Jewish State is about to increase seriously, should the Democrats retake either or both houses of Congress. Israel shouldn’t waste its time searching for ways to bring them in – it should cut them off the Jewish body politic.