Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Survey: 60% of American Jews Support Establishment of Palestinian State

A Palestinian flag hangs on a tent at the protest encampment at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, on May 1, 2024. (AFP)
A Palestinian flag hangs on a tent at the protest encampment at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, on May 1, 2024. (AFP)
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Survey: 60% of American Jews Support Establishment of Palestinian State

A Palestinian flag hangs on a tent at the protest encampment at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, on May 1, 2024. (AFP)
A Palestinian flag hangs on a tent at the protest encampment at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, on May 1, 2024. (AFP)

About 60% of American Jews support the establishment of a Palestinian state, found a survey by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs last week.

The survey showed that American Jews are affected by the growing differences between their government and Israel, and therefore, share views that differ from Israeli public.

About 52% of the 511 American Jews surveyed by the Center regarding the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict said they supported US President Joe Biden’s decision to potentially withhold arms shipments to Israel if it continued its offensive in the Rafah border.

Dr. Irwin J. Mansdorf, the head of the team of researchers that conducted the survey, said approximately 33% of respondents agreed with the accusation that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, including 13% who said they strongly agree.

He noted that in the aftermath of the Israeli army’s entry into the Rafah border area and Biden’s announcement of a potential arms embargo should Israel continue its offensive into Rafah, the Center noticed a great deal of activity both in the media and on the American streets.

The survey aims mainly to highlight the views of American Jews on a number of subjects and how they may have been influenced by events in Israel, Gaza, and in the United States, Mansdorf said.

Its results indicate a general feeling of apprehension and concern for the future of American Jewry.

Despite a significant awareness of the complex situation, there is a notable suspicion and skepticism towards Israel and the actions of its government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Also, support for Israel remains robust but conditional. About a quarter indicated unconditional support, while another quarter supported Israel but not the current Israeli government.

Mansdorf explained that although a third of the respondents increased their support for Israel as a result of pro-Palestinian demonstrations at universities, a quarter indicated that their support for Israel had decreased.

Meanwhile, 28% of the respondents expressed great concern about their future or their family's future as Americans Jews in light of events unfolding on US campuses. Furthermore, 13% expressed little concern, while only 8% expressed no concern at all.

The survey also shed light on the attitude of American Jews towards the upcoming US elections. It said 26% of respondents said they were closer to Biden while only 13% indicated that they would abstain from voting. Despite the arms embargo on Israel, Biden is still absolutely ahead of other Jewish competitors in the United States, the survey showed.

Mansdorf said American Jews are also concerned about personal relationships with non-Jews, which had reportedly deteriorated since the onset of anti-Israel demonstrations in the US.

Most respondents said they experienced negative impacts in their relationships with non-Jewish neighbors, friends, and colleagues as a result of the war and demonstrations.

When considering voting for progressive candidates like Rashida Tlaib or Ilhan Omar over a moderate Republican, 26% of respondents said they would, with 13% abstaining and a similar amount expressing indecisiveness.

Also, the survey showed that Biden enjoys substantial support for re-election, leading former US President Donald Trump by a wide margin (52-11).

While support for a two-state solution to end the Palestinian-Israel conflict is declining among Israeli public opinion, the support among US Jews is rising, the survey revealed.

It said 12% of respondents back a totally independent Palestinian state with no conditions attached, 24% support a totally independent Palestinian state that must recognize Israel as a Jewish state, while 25% said an independent state for Palestinians must be demilitarized and accept Israel as a Jewish state.

It then showed that 16% support a confederation between Israel and a Palestinian entity with negotiated security arrangements while 5% said they are against any form of Palestinian state.

Mansdorf concluded that the survey highlights a community in flux, grappling with its traditional liberal values and evolving perspectives on Israel.

While support for Israel remains strong, it is increasingly conditional, reflecting a shift in how American Jewry relates to the current Israeli government and the broader conflict, the survey said.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Climate Change Imperils Drought-Stricken Morocco’s Cereal Farmers and Its Food Supply

 A farmer works in a wheat field on the outskirts of Kenitra, Morocco, Friday, June 21, 2024. (AP)
A farmer works in a wheat field on the outskirts of Kenitra, Morocco, Friday, June 21, 2024. (AP)
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Climate Change Imperils Drought-Stricken Morocco’s Cereal Farmers and Its Food Supply

 A farmer works in a wheat field on the outskirts of Kenitra, Morocco, Friday, June 21, 2024. (AP)
A farmer works in a wheat field on the outskirts of Kenitra, Morocco, Friday, June 21, 2024. (AP)

Golden fields of wheat no longer produce the bounty they once did in Morocco. A six-year drought has imperiled the country's entire agriculture sector, including farmers who grow cereals and grains used to feed humans and livestock.

The North African nation projects this year's harvest will be smaller than last year in both volume and acreage, putting farmers out of work and requiring more imports and government subsidies to prevent the price of staples like flour from rising for everyday consumers.

"In the past, we used to have a bounty — a lot of wheat. But during the last seven or eight years, the harvest has been very low because of the drought," said Al Housni Belhoussni, a small-scale farmer who has long tilled fields outside of the city of Kenitra.

Belhoussni's plight is familiar to grain farmers throughout the world confronting a hotter and drier future. Climate change is imperiling the food supply and shrinking the annual yields of cereals that dominate diets around the world — wheat, rice, maize and barley.

In North Africa, among the regions thought of as most vulnerable to climate change, delays to annual rains and inconsistent weather patterns have pushed the growing season later in the year and made planning difficult for farmers.

In Morocco, where cereals account for most of the farmed land and agriculture employs the majority of workers in rural regions, the drought is wreaking havoc and touching off major changes that will transform the makeup of the economy. It has forced some to leave their fields fallow. It has also made the areas they do elect to cultivate less productive, producing far fewer sacks of wheat to sell than they once did.

In response, the government has announced restrictions on water use in urban areas — including on public baths and car washes — and in rural ones, where water going to farms has been rationed.

"The late rains during the autumn season affected the agriculture campaign. This year, only the spring rains, especially during the month of March, managed to rescue the crops," said Abdelkrim Naaman, the chairman of Nalsya. The organization has advised farmers on seeding, irrigation and drought mitigation as less rain falls and less water flows through Morocco's rivers.

The Agriculture Ministry estimates that this year's wheat harvest will yield roughly 3.4 million tons (3.1 billion kilograms), far less than last year's 6.1 million tons (5.5 billion kilograms) — a yield that was still considered low. The amount of land seeded has dramatically shrunk as well, from 14,170 square miles (36,700 square kilometers) to 9,540 square miles (24,700 square kilometers).

Such a drop constitutes a crisis, said Driss Aissaoui, an analyst and former member of the Moroccan Ministry for Agriculture.

"When we say crisis, this means that you have to import more," he said. "We are in a country where drought has become a structural issue."

Leaning more on imports means the government will have to continue subsidizing prices to ensure households and livestock farmers can afford dietary staples for their families and flocks, said Rachid Benali, the chairman of the farming lobby COMADER.

The country imported nearly 2.5 million tons of common wheat between January and June. However, such a solution may have an expiration date, particularly because Morocco's primary source of wheat, France, is facing shrinking harvests as well.

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization ranked Morocco as the world's sixth-largest wheat importer this year, between Türkiye and Bangladesh, which both have much bigger populations.

"Morocco has known droughts like this and in some cases known droughts that las longer than 10 years. But the problem, this time especially, is climate change," Benali said.