Recent Polling Data Suggest That U.S. Support for Israel Remains Strong

June 23 2021

Examining a poll of Americans’ attitudes regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict taken near the end of last month, and comparing it to the results of other similar surveys, Victoria Coates concludes that reports of diminishing support for the Jewish state are highly exaggerated:

The [survey’s first] question was on general support for the U.S.-Israel relationship, and the results indicate that there is robust, bipartisan support for Israel in the survey sample. Forty percent of respondents are following the issue closely enough to have a strong opinion, which is highly unusual in international issues. Within this group, . . . 6.9 percent strongly oppose [the alliance] and 33.7 percent strongly support [it]. Republican support is predictably the strongest, with 70 percent of [Republican] respondents supporting the alliance either strongly or somewhat, with the majority of that group in the “strong” category. But even within the self-identifying liberal demographic, strong support for Israel does not dip below 24 percent.

Among Democrats more broadly, 65 percent support the relationship with Israel either strongly or somewhat. These are solid numbers for a country frequently portrayed in the U.S. media as polarizing, and suggest that what opposition to the relationship there is among the American people is localized to specific congressional districts, and [that such opposition] would not be a successful platform for a state- or nationwide election.

Coates also cautions against overinterpreting any particular set of data, noting that the past 70 years “have seen wide swings in American attitudes towards the Jewish state,” even as pro-Israel sentiment has proved durable in the long run. Rushing to the conclusion that “the relationship is doomed” based on short-term shifts in public opinion would be, in her evaluation, foolish.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Center for Security Policy

More about: U.S. Politics, US-Israel relations

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy