While Americans generally view Israel as a U.S. partner or ally, many question whether the two countries share the same interests and values, according to a new AP-NORC poll.
Why it matters: The results come just ahead of a bilateral meeting between President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, their first sit-down since Netanyahu’s return to office last year.
State of play: About four in 10 Americans said Israel is a partner the U.S. should cooperate with, but doesn’t share the U.S.’ “interests and values.”
The results revealed a partisan split, with more than half (53%) of Democrats saying Israel is a partner that doesn’t share U.S. values and interests but should be cooperated with, compared to 32% of Republicans who said the same.
Overall, only about one-third of respondents said Israel is an ally that shares U.S. values and interests, with Republicans (44%) more likely than Democrats (25%) to feel this way.
The big picture: Tensions between the U.S. and Israel have been strained over a number of issues, including Israel’s controversial judicial overhaul.
The Biden administration has criticized the overhaul and questioned what it will mean for Israel’s democracy. President Biden has repeatedly called on Netanyahu to seek a broad consensus about judicial reform.
Netanyahu and his coalition — the most right-wing government in Israel’s history — have faced months of mass protests in Israel. The Israeli prime minister has also faced protesters while in the U.S., including during his visit to a Tesla factory in San Jose, California, on Monday.
Zoom out: Biden’s bilateral meeting with Netanyahu will take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The two leaders will “discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues focused on the shared democratic values between our two countries and a vision for a more stable and prosperous and integrated region, as well as compare notes on effectively countering and deterring Iran,” per a senior administration official.