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

A University of Michigan Professor Exposes the Full Implications of Academic Boycotts of Israel

Sept. 26 2018

A few weeks ago, Professor John Cheney-Lippold of the University of Michigan told an undergraduate student he would write a letter of recommendation for her to participate in a study-abroad program. But upon examining her application more carefully and realizing that she wished to spend a semester in Israel, he sent her a polite email declining to follow through. His explanation: “many university departments have pledged an academic boycott against Israel in support of Palestinians living in Palestine,” and “for reasons of these politics” he would no longer write the letter. Jonathan Marks comments:

We are routinely told . . . that boycott actions against Israel are “limited to institutions and their official representatives.” But Cheney-Lippold reminds us that the boycott, even if read in this narrow way, obligates professors to refuse to assist their own students when those students seek to participate in study-abroad programs in Israel. Dan Avnon, an Israeli academic, learned years ago that the same goes for Israel faculty members seeking to participate in exchange programs sponsored by Israeli universities. They, too, must be turned away regardless of their position on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. . . .

Cheney-Lippold, like other boycott defenders, points to the supposed 2005 “call of Palestinian civil society” to justify his singling out of Israel. “I support,” he says in comments to the [Michigan] student newspaper, “communities who organize themselves and ask for international support to achieve equal rights [and] freedom and to prevent violations of international law.”

Set aside the absurdity of this reasoning (“Why am I not boycotting China on behalf of Tibet? Because China has been much more effective in stifling civil society!”). Focus instead on what Cheney-Lippold could have found out by using Google. The first endorser of the call of “civil society” is the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, which includes Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and other groups that trade not only in violent “resistance” but in violence that directly targets noncombatants.

That’s remained par for the course for the boycott movement. In October 2015, in the midst of the series of stabbings deemed “the knife intifada,” the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel shared a call for an international day of solidarity with the “new generation of Palestinians” who were then “rising up against Israel’s brutal, decades-old system of occupation.” To be sure, they did not directly endorse attacks on civilians, but they did issue their statement of solidarity with “Palestinian popular resistance” one day after four attacks that left three Israelis—all civilians—dead.

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More about: Academia, Academic Boycotts, BDS, Israel & Zionism, Knife intifada