Sep 19, 2023 - World

Americans question whether Israel shares U.S. values, poll finds

Joe Biden meets Isaac Herzog, Israel's president, in the Oval Office on July 18. Photo: Shawn Thew/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

While Americans generally view Israel as a U.S. partner or ally, many question whether the two countries share the same interests and values, according to a new AP-NORC poll.

Why it matters: The results come just ahead of a bilateral meeting between President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, their first sit-down since Netanyahu's return to office last year.

State of play: About four in 10 Americans said Israel is a partner the U.S. should cooperate with, but doesn't share the U.S.' "interests and values."

  • The results revealed a partisan split, with more than half (53%) of Democrats saying Israel is a partner that doesn't share U.S. values and interests but should be cooperated with, compared to 32% of Republicans who said the same.
  • Overall, only about one-third of respondents said Israel is an ally that shares U.S. values and interests, with Republicans (44%) more likely than Democrats (25%) to feel this way.

The big picture: Tensions between the U.S. and Israel have been strained over a number of issues, including Israel's controversial judicial overhaul.

  • The Biden administration has criticized the overhaul and questioned what it will mean for Israel's democracy. President Biden has repeatedly called on Netanyahu to seek a broad consensus about judicial reform.
  • Netanyahu and his coalition — the most right-wing government in Israel's history — have faced months of mass protests in Israel. The Israeli prime minister has also faced protesters while in the U.S., including during his visit to a Tesla factory in San Jose, California, on Monday.

Zoom out: Biden's bilateral meeting with Netanyahu will take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

  • The two leaders will "discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues focused on the shared democratic values between our two countries and a vision for a more stable and prosperous and integrated region, as well as compare notes on effectively countering and deterring Iran," per a senior administration official.
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