American Jews and the Peace Process

Group Members: Dr. Chaim Waxman and Dr. Uzi Rebhun

American Jews and the Israel-Palestinian Peace Process:
A Study of Diaspora in International Affairs

This study will examine changes in the attitudes of America's Jews toward central issues of the Israeli-Arab-Palestinian conflict within the context of theoretical perspectives on the influence of diasporans on the foreign relations and regional conflicts of their homelands, as well as on ethno-political lobbies in host countries. Taking into account socio-economic characteristics and the organizational base of American Jewry, we seek to evaluate the factors that determine the attitudes and to suggest directions in which American Jewish attitudes can be considered by Israeli and American leaders in future efforts to encourage peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors. The research is based on the reworking of data from annual surveys sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, between 1998-2010, of American Jewish attitudes. Each of the annual surveys is based on the responses of 1,000 respondents who identified as Jewish in a panel of an American public opinion research organization. We will focus on three central questions:

American Jewish perceptions as to whether the Arab/Palestinian objective is the return of land or the destruction of Israel;

American Jewish support for or opposition to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state; The attitudes of America's Jews toward concessions on the status of Jerusalem as a unified city under Israeli sovereignty within the context of a permanent peace settlement with the Palestinians.

Accordingly, we will be able to evaluate the influence of significant events that occurred in a particular year on the attitudes of America's Jews toward the above issues. We expect that this research will contribute to the body of knowledge on diasporas and international relations, in general, and on the role of America's Jews in the advancement of Middle East peace, in particular.