63% of Americans oppose moving U.S. embassy to Jerusalem

December 11, 2017

A poll conducted by the Brookings Institution, a Washington, DC-based think tank, has found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of all Americans oppose President Donald Trump’s decisions to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That 63% includes 44% of his own party, the Republicans.

In announcing his official proclamation last week, Trump said, “ have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver.  Today, I am delivering.”

The president added, “I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long-overdue step to advance the peace process and to work towards a lasting agreement.:

However, in posting the results of its survey on December 5, Brookings opined, “It is almost impossible to see the logic of the Trump administration’s expected recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital…before it even unveils what’s certain to be a controversial plan for Middle East peace, which will be tough enough to sell.”

Indeed, they said, “Trump certainly doesn’t need to solidify his pro-Israel credentials; three of his key Middle East advisers are known to be sympathetic with the Israeli right.”

What’s more, they pointed out, “…the American public, including his Republican core, already thinks his policy is pro-Israel.”

A University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll—conducted by Nielsen Scarborough in early November among a national sample of 2,000 American adults and  released at the Brookings Institution on December 1— found that 59% of respondents said they preferred that Trump lean toward neither side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

How about the Evangelical Christians whose support has been critical for Trump, and who are known to support declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. embassy there? While 53% of Evangelicals support the move, 40 % oppose it.

In the meantime, the administration’s assumptions about the limited demonstrations in the region against the move and the scant costs of the relocation  are based on little more, the Institution says, than “a leap of faith”.

What’s more, Brookings warned, “Jerusalem is the perfect issue for Iran and Islamist militants to use to mobilize support against the United States and those who endorse its policies.”

Research contact: @ShibleyTelhami

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