No, American Support for Israel Isn’t Dwindling

March 20 2018

According to a recent Gallup poll, 74 percent of respondents registered a positive attitude toward the Jewish state; indeed, Israel’s favorability ratings are the highest they’ve been since 2005. The information from this survey, writes Jonathan Tobin, should serve to counteract prevailing wisdom to the contrary:

The assumption has been that President Donald Trump’s tilt toward Israel would alienate both centrists and liberals in America who see anything associated with him in a negative light. The unpopularity of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also supposed to be a drag on Israel’s popularity, as is the mainstream media’s continued assertions that West Bank settlements, rather than Palestinian intransigence, remains the obstacle to peace in the Middle East. But the numbers don’t back up those assumptions. . . .

It’s true that a huge gap exists between the two parties. A staggering 87 percent of Republicans sympathize with Israel, as opposed to 49 percent of Democrats. That still means that [nearly] half of the Democrats stand on the side of the Jewish state.

We’re also told that young people are rejecting Israel. It’s true that many college campuses have seen a rise in support for the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement. But Gallup also tells us that 65 percent of Americans ages eighteen to thirty-four back Israel. While that’s admittedly lower than the 80 percent of support Israel gets from those fifty-five and older, it still reflects a solid consensus. . . .

Israel is as popular as it has ever been in the history of American polling. While the shift of the Democratic party to the left [on the subject of Israel] is troubling, the numbers also dictate that those competing for that party’s presidential nomination in 2020 must realize that smart politics will compel them to stay firmly in the pro-Israel camp.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, US-Israel relations

 

“Ending the War in Yemen” Would Lead to More Bloodshed and Threaten Global Trade

Dec. 13 2018

A bipartisan movement is afloat in Congress to end American support for the Saudi-led coalition currently fighting the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. With frustration at Riyadh over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, reports of impending famine and a cholera outbreak in Yemen, and mounting casualties, Congress could go so far as to cut all funding for U.S. involvement in the war. But to do so would be a grave mistake, argues Mohammed Khalid Alyahya:

Unfortunately, calls to “stop the Yemen war,” though morally satisfying, are fundamentally misguided. . . . A precipitous disengagement by the Saudi-led coalition . . . would have calamitous consequences for Yemen, the Middle East, and the world at large. The urgency to end the war reduces that conflict, and its drivers, to a morality play, with the coalition of Arab states cast as the bloodthirsty villain killing and starving Yemeni civilians. The assumption seems to be that if the coalition’s military operations are brought to a halt, all will be well in Yemen. . . .

[But] if the Saudi-led coalition were to cease operations, Iran’s long arm, the Houthis, would march on areas [previously controlled by the Yemeni government] and exact a bloody toll on the populations of such cities as Aden and Marib with the same ruthlessness with which they [treated] Sanaa and Taiz during the past three years. The rebels have ruled Sanaa, kidnapping, executing, disappearing, systematically torturing, and assassinating detractors. In Taiz, they fire mortars indiscriminately at the civilian population and snipers shoot at children to force residents into submission.

[Moreover], an abrupt termination of the war would leave Iran in control of Yemen [and] deal a serious blow to the global economy. Iran would have the ability to obstruct trade and oil flows from both the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab el-Mandeb strait. . . . About 24 percent of the world’s petroleum and petroleum products passes through these two waterways, and Iran already has the capability to disrupt oil flows from Hormuz and threatened to do so this year. Should Iran acquire that capability in Bab el-Mandeb by establishing a foothold in the Gulf of Aden, even if it chose not to utilize this capability oil prices and insurance costs would surge.

Allowing Tehran to control two of the most strategic choke points for the global energy market is simply not an option for the international community. There is every reason to believe that Iran would launch attacks on maritime traffic. The Houthis have mounted multiple attacks on commercial and military vessels over the past several years, and Iran has supplied its Yemeni proxy with drone boats, conventional aerial drones, and ballistic missiles.

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More about: Iran, Oil, Politics & Current Affairs, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen