Don’t ask America who holds the purse strings

Nearly one in five Americans think that Jews control the world's financial institutions, although only seven per cent think they have too much power and are to blame for the current financial crisis.

The findings by international pollster Stanley Greenberg also indicated that Israel continues to enjoy a high degree of public support in the United States with 66 per cent saying America should support Israel while only six per cent support the Palestinians.

According to the election day poll conducted by the advocacy group The Israel Project, support for Israel remains high on both sides of the American political divide. However there is a much more marked tendency to support it among Republicans, with 80 per cent of their voters saying that the US must support Israel, compared with 59 per cent of Democrats. Despite that high level of support, 37 per cent of American voters said Israel should take care of itself while 58 per cent believed that the US has to stand with Israel.

The most prevalent reason given for support of Israel was that it shared the same values of freedom of speech and democracy as the US.

On the issue of Iran's nuclear programme, 72 per cent agreed that America must still work hard to deny Iran nuclear weapons.

The poll shows an increasing concern among Americans over Iran following recent reports and is fourth on a list of their foreign policy concerns following ending the war in Iraq, restoring global economic growth and defeating Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. On the list of foreign policy priorities for the new president, making peace between Israel and the Palestinians also came fourth.

Of the 18 per cent who thought Jews control the world's finances, 11 per cent thought that it was Israel that controls the economy.

    Last updated: 12:44pm, November 20 2008