JTA — A poll commissioned by a new group founded by Jewish Democrats, the Jewish Electorate Institute, found that Jewish voters favor Democrats over Republicans, 74-26 percent. Only 25% approve of the job Trump is doing, while 75% disapprove.
The numbers on Democrats and Republicans line up with polling since the George W. Bush presidency. Jewish disapproval of Trump has been a thing since his 2016 campaign.
What’s interesting is that for the first time I can recall, a pollster asked respondents not only whether they were pro-Israel, but whether they were also critical of Israeli policies. (J Street in the past asked respondents whether they supported US peace moves, even if it means the US government pressing Israel, which is not quite the same as asking the respondent whether she feels comfortable criticizing Israel.)
The breakdown shows that a majority of American Jews do not perceive criticism of Israeli government policies as inconsistent with support for Israel: 32% say they are supportive of Israel and its government’s policies; 35% are supportive of Israel and critical of some government policies; and 24% are supportive of Israel and critical of many of its government’s policies.
That’s a majority of 59% who say they are comfortable supporting Israel and also criticizing its government. (Also, 92% of voters say they are supportive of Israel, belying the noise generated by fringe anti-Israel groups who say they are more representative of where Jewish Americans are heading.)
That may not go down well on the Israeli right, which has traditionally bristled at Jewish criticism of Israeli policies as a special kind of betrayal.
Nevertheless, it’s a posture that will likely define US Jewish-Israel relations going forward, as seen in our roundups this week of Jewish nominees — Democrats and Republicans — in the US House of Representatives and last week’s roundup of Jewish Senate candidates.
Of 41 Jewish Democrats running in the midterms, 17 accept the endorsement of J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group whose very ethos is supporting Israel while criticizing its government.
J Street came up when Republican Sen. Ted Cruz debated Rep. Beto O’Rourke this week: Cruz blasted his Democratic challenger for accepting support from a group he called “rabidly anti-Israel.” That kind of attack may resonate among Christian evangelicals in Texas (the home state of Christians United for Israel), but seems less likely to make inroads among liberal and centrist Jews.
Are you relying on The Times of Israel for accurate and timely coverage right now? If so, please join The Times of Israel Community. For as little as $6/month, you will:
We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.
That’s why we started the Times of Israel eleven years ago - to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.
So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.
For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.
David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel