J Street poll: 72% of US Jews find Trump partly to blame for Pittsburgh shooting

Strong majority of Jewish Americans disapprove of president, favor Iran deal and two-state solution, according to survey commissioned by left-wing lobby

US President Donald Trump addresses a 'Make America Great Again' rally at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, November 3, 2018 in Belgrade, Montana. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP)
US President Donald Trump addresses a 'Make America Great Again' rally at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, November 3, 2018 in Belgrade, Montana. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP)

WASHINGTON — A poll released Wednesday morning by the left-wing lobby group J Street said that the vast majority of American Jews find US President Donald Trump at least partially responsible for the deadly Pittsburgh synagogue shooting two weeks ago.

According to the survey conducted by GBA Strategies, a Democratic polling firm run by Jim Gerstein, 72 percent of US Jewish voters think Trump’s comments and policies were either “very” or “somewhat” responsible for inspiring the attack by emboldening anti-Semites.

On October 27, a gunman entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh with an AR-15 and several handguns and opened fire on a Shabbat service. The suspect, identified as Robert Bowers, killed 11 congregants and injured four police officers, authorities said. The ADL said in a statement that it believed the massacre was “the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.”

Federal prosecutors charged Bowers with 44 felony counts, including using a firearm to commit murder and other hate crimes, such as obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death and obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer.

The poll, which was commissioned by the liberal Middle East advocacy group J Street, found that large numbers of Jewish Americans were deeply concerned with the resurgence of anti-Semitism (81%), racism (79%) and right-wing extremism (79%) since Trump ascended to the White House in January 2017.

US President Donald Trump arrives for a ‘Make America Great Again’ campaign rally at McKenzie Arena, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on November 4, 2018. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP)

“American Jews do not like Trump’s policies, and they intensely dislike this president, whose rhetoric on race and immigration drives Jews even further away from Republicans,” Gerstein said. “The Trump presidency has led Jews to vote even more Democratic than at any time since 2010.”

The survey was taken on Election Day, when it questioned 1,139 Jewish voters. It found that 74% of respondents disapproved of Trump while just 18% approved of him. Those figures coincide with other polls, including the American Jewish Committee’s from last September, which found that 77% disapproved of the president.

The GBA poll also found that 76% of Jewish voters backed Democratic congressional candidates whereas 19% went with Republicans.

On Tuesday, Democrats seized control of the House of Representatives while Republicans gained seats in the Senate, in what was largely seen as a referendum on the Trump presidency.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., smiles as she is cheered by a crowd of Democratic supporters during an election night returns event at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

GBA also focused on some of J Street’s core issues, mainly US foreign policy in the Middle East. The survey reported that 71% of Jewish voters supported the Iran nuclear deal struck under the Obama White House, which marked an 8% increase in support for the landmark pact from Election Night 2016, when GBA conducted the same poll.

Moreover, 78% of participants said a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians should result in a two-state outcome. That also marked an increase from 2016, when 70% said they favored that resolution.

The Iran deal and a two-state solution are among the two main policies for which J Street advocates and supports.

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