Poll shows most Americans oppose embassy move to Jerusalem
Most Americans oppose moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to an IRmep poll fielded through Google Consumer Surveys.
IRmep conducted the survey January 27-29 as speculation continues about whether the Trump administration will break with twenty years of precedent and move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Among 1,035 Americans surveyed, 56.2 percent said the US should keep its embassy in Tel Aviv while 38.3% said the US should move it to Jerusalem.
The survey had an RMSE score of 3.3 percent.
After Donald Trump took office, his administration continues to promise to move the embassy, despite warnings that it would predetermine any “final status” negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
According to an IRmep analysis—which explains the unique phrasing of the survey question—fifteen major presidential candidates have promised to move the embassy while campaigning for office. Those elected reneged after assuming power.
The original 1947 UN agreement partitioning Palestine into Arab and Jewish states required that Jerusalem be “internationalized.” US-based Israel lobbying organizations began laying the groundwork for moving the US embassy—in hopes that other countries would also relocate from Tel Aviv—in the late 1970s.
In 1979, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) submitted a petition with 100,000 signatures to President Jimmy Carter—who had campaigned in favor of a move—asking him to formally withdraw the US from the 1947 UN Agreement and relocate the embassy. Carter refused.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Christian Coalition began lobbying for a law to move the embassy in 1984. AIPAC intensified lobbying in the mid-1990s to predetermine the outcome of the Oslo peace process. The Oslo accords sought a peace treaty between Israelis and Palestinians, including through negotiation of the final status of Jerusalem.
In 1995, Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) during his presidential bid agreed to co-sponsor a bill that would defund the US State Department if it did not move the embassy by 1999. To avoid constitutional separation-of-powers challenges, ZOA and AIPAC legal scholars crafted a “waiver” that allows the president to delay the move every six months on “national security” grounds.
Ever since the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 became law, US presidents have signed waivers to avoid moving the embassy.
IRmep is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit researching U.S. Middle East policy formulation.