WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- A poll conducted by the Anti-Defamation League indicates strong support for Israel among U.S. citizens but deep uncertainty over how to handle Iran.
Seventy-six percent of Americans surveyed said Israel can be counted on as a strong U.S. ally -- up from 67 percent in 2009. Sixty-four percent said they believe Israel to be a credible participant in peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
"This latest survey of the American people shows that Americans continue to see Israel as America's closest ally in the Middle East and a willing partner for peace with the Palestinians," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director. "American public sympathy for Israel in the conflict with the Palestinians is at an all-time high."
However, when the questioning turned to Iran there were no clear answers about how Americans think their government should approach the situation.
A slim plurality, 50 percent to 41 percent, said the United States should act militarily if necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. A slim plurality, 46 percent to 42 percent, said economic sanctions should be left in place until Iran gives up its nuclear program.
Should Israel attack Iran, a plurality of Americans would want their country to remain neutral rather than engage on its ally's behalf: 48 percent said stay neutral, 40 percent said support Israel and 9 percent said oppose Israel's military action.
The ADL surveyed 1,200 people Oct. 12-21. The poll has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.