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

 

At the UN, Nikki Haley Told the Truth about Israel—and the World Didn’t Burn Down

April 22 2019

Although Nikki Haley had never been to Israel when she took the position of American ambassador to the UN, and had no prior foreign-policy experience, she distinguished herself as one of the most capable and vigorous defenders of the Jewish state ever to hold the position. Jon Lerner, who served as Haley’s deputy during her ambassadorship, sees the key to her success—regarding both Israel and many other matters—in her refusal to abide by the polite fictions that the institution holds sacred:

Myths are sometimes assets in international relations. The fiction that Taiwan is not an independent country, for example, allows [the U.S.] to sustain [its] relationship with China. In other cases, however, myths can create serious problems. On Israel–Palestinian issues, the Trump administration was determined to test some mythical propositions that many had come to take for granted, and, in some cases, to refute them. Haley’s prominence at the UN arose in large part from a conscious choice to reject myths that had pervaded diplomacy on Israel–Palestinian issues for decades. . . .

[For instance], U.S. presidents were intimidated by the argument that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would trigger violent explosions throughout the Muslim world. President Trump and key colleagues doubted this, and they turned out to be right. Violent reaction in the Palestinian territories was limited, and there was virtually none elsewhere in Arab and Islamic countries. . . .

It turns out that the United States can support Israel strongly and still work closely with Arab states to promote common interests like opposing Iranian threats. The Arab street is not narrowly Israel-minded and is not as volatile as long believed. The sky won’t fall if the U.S. stops funding UN sacred cows like the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA). Even if future U.S. administrations revert to the policies of the past, these old assumptions will remain disproved. That is a valuable accomplishment that will last long after Nikki Haley’s UN tenure.

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More about: Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, United Nations, US-Israel relations