New polls on Israel, Iran — and, in Israel, on Obama

Just in case you don’t have enough to worry about, this week brought a number of polls that may send Jewish leaders to the neighborhood pharmacy for some extra Prozac.
While Jewish organizations have been working overtime to depict Iran as the ultimate menace to U.S. as well as Israeli interests, a new Gallup poll indicates that they’ve only been partially successful.
Some 46 percent of those surveyed said Iran poses a “direct threat” to U.S. security – but that was behind the  51 percent who said North Korea does.
Interestingly,  16 percent said “Israel and the Palestinian territories” pose a direct threat. What do you suppose that means?
The Israel Project asked the Iran question a different way and got a different result; in their new poll 83 percent of Americans surveyed said Iran is a “serious” or “very serious” threat to U.S. interests.
That’s probably good news for TIP, which has focused heavily on the Iranian menace in recent years. Less good news: the poll  showed that overall American support for the Jewish state has slipped  — the group says a little, the numbers say more than that.
Now, 49 percent of Americans say they support Israel – down from 57 percent in the group’s last survey in January and from 69 percent in a 2008 poll.
Those numbers don’t translate into increased support for the Palestinians, which is around 5 percent, but they point to some significant erosion in backing for Israel in the wake of last winter’s Gaza war and the return of Bibi Netanyahu as prime minister.
Want a link? Sorry, the group hasn’t posted the results.
Over in Israel, a new Jerusalem Post poll has some bad news for an Obama administration that is doing its best to increase its credibility in the Arab and Islamic worlds without undermining Israeli confidence in its ability to be an honest broker for peace.
According to the survey, only  6 percent of Israelis see President Barack Obama as pro-Israel, a sharp drop from a survey last month, before Obama met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington and before the new administration started ratcheting up the pressure for a complete settlement freeze.
At the same time, 50 percent say Obama administration policies are more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israel, with 36 percent calling those policies “neutral.”
Maybe the administration should be thinking about increasing its Israeli outreach along with its Islamic efforts.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.