The caveats are all obvious but still worth repeating. President Barack Obama is President of the US, not Israel. Israelis don’t get to vote in US elections, and US Presidents don’t necessarily desire a high approval rating among Israelis. The fact that Obama is unpopular in Israel – andwe know that he has been unpopular for quite a while – might be of no significance to him. In fact, Obama might even think that such unpopularity is a reasonable result of his solid Middle East policies. Or he might think that if Israel is the type of country in which a leader like Prime Minister Netanyahu is popular, being unpopular means you’re doing something right.
Of course, there is a counter argument to be made: for an American President to be more effective as he handles the important relations with Israel, it is better to be popular in Israel. Having some leverage with Israelis is a tool that a President can use wisely, if he has it at his disposal.
Obama doesn’t have it – as a new survey by Menachem Lazar, the pollster of Panels Politics, proves. Lazar was kind enough to let me pen some of the questions for this survey, and was even kinder to share the results with me. It is a survey that has more than one important component, and I will share them with you in the coming days, one at a time.