No, Republicans Don’t Support Israel Because of Sheldon Adelson

A recent article in New York magazine argued that the billionaire Sheldon Adelson is largely responsible for the Republican party’s current pro-Israel stance. David Bernstein objects:

[P]utting aside the question of whether GOP support for Israel is truly “unconditional and unquestioning,” [as the article states], the person most responsible for making support for Israel a core Republican issue is Osama bin Laden, with a supporting role played by Yasir Arafat. Gallup polls from the past 25 years show that Republicans were already leaning somewhat more in favor of Israel in early 2001 than were Democrats. . . . This reflected the increasingly strong influence of pro-Israel evangelicals and national-security hawks in the Republican party, on the one hand, and the hostility or ambivalence of what was once known as the “McGovernite” wing of the Democratic party, on the other.

But the difference in partisan attitudes accelerated after 9/11. Relative support for Israel unsurprisingly went up among both Democrats and Republicans. September 11 made Americans more sensitive to Israel’s terrorism-related security concerns, and Arafat’s decision to continue and accelerate the second intifada—replete with bus, café, and synagogue bombings—was hardly likely to endear the Palestinian cause to Americans after 9/11. But these factors had a greater influence on Republican opinion than on Democratic opinion. . . .

In short, you have a Republican party in which 80 percent of the grass-roots membership supports Israel, and a significant percentage of that 80 percent considers it a litmus-test issue. Meanwhile, the current Democratic administration has engaged in open rhetorical warfare against an Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, whom Democrats tend to loathe and Republicans tend to admire. Under those circumstances, . . . it’s really not possible . . . to imagine any scenario other than the GOP, and all its major presidential candidates, offering Israel strong support.

Read more at Washington Post

More about: 9/11, Israel & Zionism, Republicans, Terrorism, US-Israel relations, Yasir Arafat


As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas