6 in 10 Americans say
"U.S. gives too much foreign aid to Israel"

61 percent of Americans say that the U.S. gives too much aid to Israel

The majority of Americans do not support $3 billion per year in military aid to Israel

PR Newswire
September 30, 2014

Most Americans (60.7 percent) believe the United States gives "much too much" or "too much" foreign aid to Israel according to the survey report American Public Opinion on U.S. Aid to Israel (PDF) released today by the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, IRmep. 

  • 33.9 percent of Americans say Israel receives "much too much" U.S. foreign aid, while 26.8 percent feel it is "too much." The U.S. gives Israel over $3 billion annually—9 percent of the foreign aid budget and more than any other country.  Only 25.9 percent believe aid is "about right" while 6.1 percent think aid is "too little" and 7.3 percent say it is "much too little."  Since 1970 U.S. foreign aid to Israel has grown on average 30 percent per year.

  • Younger Americans are most skeptical about U.S. aid to Israel. Almost 65 percent of adults under the age of 34 said such aid is excessive.

  • Only the wealthiest Americans (earning $150k and above) believe aid is "about right" at 47.6 percent.  However 42.9 percent within the same income category think aid is "too much" while only 9.5 percent think it is "too little."

  • Most Americans (63.9 percent) believe Israel has an arsenal of nuclear weapons.  This belief may make them resent costly demands to buy weapons to maintain Israel's so-called "qualitative military edge" since Israel has long possessed the ultimate military deterrent.

  • A majority of Americans (58.5 percent) mistakenly believe that Iran also has nuclear weapons.  No western government or intelligence agency claims Iran has built a weapon.  However a sustained campaign by anti-Iran groups in the U.S. and news media failures have apparently led most Americans to believe an Iranian bomb already exists.

The survey was fielded between September 26-29, 2014 to just over 2,100 adults with an estimated margin of sampling error of 2.2 percent.  According to IRmep director Grant F. Smith, "Given its outsize share of the U.S. foreign aid budget, it is stunning that American taxpayers are rarely asked how they feel about massive U.S. aid flows to Israel."  IRmep's American Public Opinion on U.S. Aid to Israel (PDF) report's foreign aid conclusions are opposite those recently presented by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs 2014 survey.

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Additional Resources

Congressional Research Service:
U.S. Aid to Israel

Congressional Research Service:
U.S. Aid to the Palestinians

Book – Fallen Pillars: US Policy towards Palestine and Israel since 1945

Palestine Monitor Fact Sheet on US Aid

Times of London Graphic on US Aid

Arms Transfers to Israel: 1993 to Present

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Jewish Virtual Library on US Aid

Organizations

Council for the National Interest

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

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