Diplomacy

Poll: Americans Want Netanyahu to Address Congress

A plurality of Americans are in favor of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing Congress next month on the dangers presented by a nuclear Iran, Bloomberg View’s Josh Rogin reported Tuesday.

Citing the results of a recent poll, Rogin writes:

How do Americans feel about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing Congress next month? According to one new poll, more support it than object — despite the controversy over the way he was invited.

The data, reported here for the first time, was commissioned by The Israel Project, a pro-Israel group. It adds important context to a CNN/ORC poll, released Tuesday, which showed that 63 percent of Americans disapprove of the way House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to the joint session. Boehner said Sunday that he had intentionally kept his plans secret from the Barack Obama administration, because he feared White House “interference” with the speech, now scheduled for March 3.

While it may be true that most Americans don’t like Boehner’s tactics, it’s not the case that they don’t want Netanyahu to go through with it.

The Israel Project publishes The Tower.

According to the poll, 43% of those agreed with following statement: “Other people say Iran is getting closer to building a nuclear weapon. As one of the world’s most knowledgeable leaders on the Middle East and the Iranian nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu should address Congress before the March 31st deadline for a political framework with Iran.” In contrast, 25% thought that Netanyahu should not speak in light of next month’s Israeli election.

Additionally, 36% of those polled, another plurality, agreed that “Netanyahu has been warning about Iranian nuclear ambition for 20 years, he has been a leading voice in the discussion and should be welcomed to speak at this key point.”

Rogin noted that the poll also showed that “more respondents than not (47 percent to 32 percent) disapprove of the way the administration has reacted to the coming speech.”

Rogin quoted Omri Ceren, The Israel Project’s managing director for press and strategy, who summed up the poll results: “The numbers are stark. Even Americans who may be ambivalent about how the Netanyahu speech came together … would be less likely to vote for a congressperson who boycotted.”

The questions and polling methodology are published here (.pdf).

The polling numbers reflect the views of a recent New York Daily News editorial that urged politicians to “put global security and solidarity ahead of petty, partisan one-upmanship.” Similarly, David Hazony, editor of The Tower, recently wrote that “there is nothing partisan” about the threat Iran poses to the United States and its allies.

[Photo: IsraeliPM / YouTube ]