Washington, Aug. 16 – Jamaica is a long way from the Middle East but among those on the Caribbean island with an opinion, 42 percent want their country to support Israel while only 9 percent favor the Palestinians.
A poll sponsored by The Israel Project found that the top reason Jamaicans feel their government should stand with Israel is shared values, “including the freedom of speech, religion, press and the right to vote.” However Jamaica has supported Israel at the United Nations in the past two years exactly zero percent of the time, according to figures compiled by the U.S. State Department.
In September, Jamaica along with the rest of the world community will vote on a unilateral Palestinian drive for recognition as a state without negotiations with Israel. The poll found that Jamaicans who take a position on the issue feel, by a three-to-one margin, that such a resolution “will only harden extremists on both sides and make peace much harder to achieve.”
On the issue of dividing Jerusalem, there is no consensus. Jamaicans who take a position are evenly split about whether the city should remain entirely under Israel’s control, or if it should be divided between Israel and the Palestinians.
“It is clear that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a top priority for the broad population. But, among those who have an opinion, attitudes are decidedly tilted pro-Israel,” said Neil Newhouse, a leading Republican pollster and consultant to The Israel Project whose firm conducted the poll.
On Iran, 40 percent said they strongly believed that the international community should try to prevent the Islamic Republic from acquiring nuclear weapons compared to six percent who strongly believed that Iran should be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.
The survey was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies of 926 Jamaican adults, ages 18-64, interviewed June 27-July 18, 2011. The survey has a margin of error of +3.22%.