Mitchell uses suspect poll to pressure Israel
George Mitchell, President Obama's Middle East envoy, is using a suspect poll regarding Israelis' views of Barack Obama in order, apparently, to pressure Israel.
Here is an excerpt of the Q and A between Charlie Rose and George Mitchell:
Charlie Rose: Why is President Obama's popularity so low in Israel? It's four percent.
George Mitchell: No, that's completely false...Several polls that I've seen in the past month show that he is-I'll give you the numbers, 49 favorable, 45 unfavorable, 43 favorable, 37 unfavorable; it's a reasonable. A plurality support him in Israel and a small plurality oppose him.
The poll Mitchell relies upon seems to be from the New America Foundation. As far as I have been able to determine, this has been the only one poll regarding the views of Israelis towards the administration that comes anywhere near matching Mitchell's statements.
Previous polls done by Israelis themselves have shown far more problematic views , including one that show only 6% of Israelis who see the administration as pro-Israel and one that shows only 4% of Israelis Jews consider Obama pro-Israel.
The New American Foundation is a left wing group, with a connection to Jonathan Soros, son of George Soros. Steve Rattner is involved; Bernard Schwartz, Lew Cullman also involved -- very generous donors to not just the Democratic Party but also strong supporters of Barack Obama. James Fallows is the Chairman - he certainly leans to the left.
Ben Smith, of Politico , wrote this about the poll's authors:
The surveys authors, who support robust Israeli and American engagement in the peace process, said in an analysis accompanying the poll's findings that the numbers are encouraging, and that the responses leave Netanyahu room to maneuver toward peace, and Obama sufficient support to demand it.
This poll was basically done by Jim Gerstein (founding VP of J Street - a group that its founder admitted had Barack Obama's back on matters relating to Israel). J-Street also has connections to George Soros, is a foe of Israel's; has been linked to Hamas supporters; has Arab donors; and had a line-up of anti-Israel speakers scheduled for its first Washington conference.
Here is one Commentary magazine writer's view of the New America Foundation poll. Noah Pollak is the expert on J Street and he has critiqued J Street's polling methods before
The moral of the story? George Mitchell seems to be using a poll that should be viewed skeptically in order to give him leeway to pressure Israel to comply with American plans. Domestically, will the administration rely on this quite useful poll to justify its actions to American Jews? That strategy may have been presaged by Mitchell's views expressed during the Charlie Rose interview.
Clever...using a poll concocted by political allies to justify pressure on an ally.