On March 25, The New America Foundation welcomed John Zogby of Zogby International to release a new poll conducted of American perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The polling, which was carried out over a short time period and following a rather controversial visit to the region by Joe Biden, showed significant support for the Obama administration’s policies and furthermore increased the centrality of resolving the grander Israeli-Arab conflict to US national security interests.
Among other things, the poll finds that while Americans retain strong levels of support for Israel, a great majority view the continued lack of resolution to the conflict to be harmful to U.S interests in the regions. “Americans have made clear that ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict is important and negatively impacts U.S. interests, but the growing partisan divide over policy is worrisome” Arab American Institute President James Zogby said. 73% of Democrats agree that the President should steer a middle course while only 24% of Republicans hold that same opinion.
The event was followed up by a panel of speakers, with Dr. James Zogby of the Arab American Institute, Amjad Atallah, Director of the Middle East Task Force as well as MJ Rosenburg, Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at Media Matters Action Network.
The panel concluded realizing that there is an increasing divide among Americans concerning the conflict, but also agreed that the majority believe continuing the status quo negatively impacts U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East. Stressed by comments made by General Petraeus most recently in testimony given before the Senate, unless there is a realistic track to a two state solution, it makes the job of the military very difficult in the region. Where interests converge and diverge, we must diverge away from personalities that exist in Congress and converge with those willing to end the disagreements.