What American Jews think: Eight notes

Eight interesting notes from Pew Research’s Portrait of American Jewry, published on Tuesday.

The most widely reported finding from a Pew survey on American Jewry released yesterday was that American Jews are increasingly secular. Close behind were reports on the number of American Jews who have Christmas trees in their homes.

Below are some interesting tidbits that I found while reading the survey results. (Read the full survey here.)

1. More American Christians (55 percent) than American Jews (40 percent) believe that God gave Israel to the Jewish people.

2. American Jews are more than twice as likely than members of other religions to describe themselves as politically liberal.

3. U.S. Jews are more likely than the general population to believe that a two-state solution is possible (61 and 50 percent, respectively).

4. Half of American Jews (48 percent) think that Israel isn’t making a sincere effort to bring about peace with Palestinians. Eighty-eight percent say Palestinians aren’t making a sincere effort.

5. As American Jews become more educated the more likely they are to say that continued settlement building harms Israel’s security. (Pew didn’t publish data about income, but it’s likely that socio-economic status overlaps with people’s level of education to some extent.)

6. Asked what is the most important problem facing Israel, over 80 percent chose answers that are somehow related to violence, conflict or anti-Semitism. Only five percent answered “criticism of Israel/Palestinian rights” (what Israel likes to describe as ‘delegitimization’). Only three percent — which also happens to be the margin of error — cited a specific diplomatic solution, meaning a one- or two-state solution as the most important problem facing Israel.

7. A majority of American Jews (60 percent) approve of President Obama’s handling of foreign policy vis-à-vis Israel, compared with 41 percent of the general U.S. population who feel the same way.

8. Jews tend to perceive discrimination against minority groups (including against Jews) at higher rates than the general population, with the exception of discrimination against Christian groups. (Good news for the ADL’s fundraising prospects?)