Friday, March 16, 2018

American Support for Israel - Never Stronger

Image for illustration purposes only (Jerusalem Post)
There seems to be a lot of hand-wringing about the President’s effect on the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Listening to mainstream media pundits you would conclude that it has all been negative. And be quite worried about public support for Israel.

Well, I am here to tell you not to be worried. At least as far as the American people are concerned. A new Gallop poll has determined that support for Israel by the American people has never been stronger. (Which closely resembles the results of a recent Pew poll.)

Considering all the negative commentary by mainstream media pundits about virtually all of President Trump’s policies, both foreign and domestic - one would think his very pro-Israel posture would create a negative backlash about Israel. Media pundits rarely put anything but a negative spin on everything he does. The impact on public opinion by a daily dose of Trump bashing might claim Israel as a victim in the public eye. If Trump is pro Israel, it must be a bad thing. 

But the opposite seems to have happened.

I have always tried to be objective about any President. Whether it was Obama or Trump. Although I had problems with Obama on some of his issues and continue to have problems with Trump on some of his, neither of them are all bad or all good. One must look at each thing separately and then decide. Unlike the media which tends to almost always spin things one way.

Just to cite an example of each, I believe that Obama did a lot for Israel while he was President. The cooperation between the two countries in both matters of intelligence sharing and military cooperation had never been stronger. Foreign aid to Israel increased under his watch.  He sold the most advanced US fighter jets (F 35s) to only one country: Israel. He also agreed to fund Israel's Iron Dome defense system. 

But I also thought the last thing he did was terrible. He allowed the UN Security Council to pass a resolution condemning by  uncharacteristically abstaining from a vote instead of voting against it. That was disgusting. Although I believe he meant well.

As for Trump, I had reservations about the wisdom of his declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital. As I was about his announcement to move the US embassy there by Israel’s Independence Day. As much as I thought it was the right thing to do, I was worried about the consequences. I thought that it might lead to bloodshed and therefore may not be worth it. 

I was wrong. Nothing of any substance has resulted from that. True, the Palestinian Authority has broken off peace negotiations with Israel and rejected the US as an honest broker. But that means absolutely nothing. Both Israel and the Palestinians are not any worse off now than before Trump made those announcements.

What has happened instead is that Israel now has better relations with Arab nations than at any time in its history. This is also a function of a common enemy, Iran. I cannot ever recall a time where the royal leader of Saudia Arabia referred to a Muslim cleric as a modern day Hitler. But that is exactly what he said about Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khameni. 

I know that Sunni and Shia Muslims are bitter enemies. But that has never resulted in the kind of name calling before. Hitler?! Wow. In the past references like that were reserved for Israeli leaders.

He’s right. This is also Israel’s view. Iran is now Israel’s biggest threat. As it is for Saudi Arabia. Iran is now in Syria and supplies it and Lebanon’s Hezbollah with missiles and other sophisticated weaponry. They both have the means to cause serious harm to the Jewish people. Israel is therefore in a state of existential threat by an enemy sworn to wipe them off the map.  

A war under these conditions would be very costly in both blood and treasure. But Israel cannot afford to tolerate this situation. 

This is one reason the nuclear deal with Iran was so bad. It did nothing to prevent Iran from pursuing those goals. They are in 'full steam ahead' mode!

Which brings me to the political divide. Both surveys made it clear that Republicans are far more supportive of Israel than are Democrats. And the margin of support is huge. From the Jerusalem Post
Gallup, like Pew, found a significant partisan gap, but far less pronounced than the Pew findings. According to the Gallup poll, 87% of Republicans sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians, though that number among Democrats is only 49%, representing a 38 point difference. In the Pew poll, there was a huge 52 point difference between Republicans and Democrats (79% vs. 27%) 
The lack of support by the majority of Democrats is disappointing, to say the least. I am therefore quite happy that Republicans are in control of both houses of congress. They are the ones that fully supported Netanyahu when he addressed congress in opposition to Iran’s nuclear deal. As is the current President. Their support of Israel reflects that of the majority of the American people.

Most Democrats on the other hand thought it was a good idea to remove all sanctions for a promise not to build nuclear weapons for a period of 10 years. (As noted about 8 years left on that deal). They remained free to keep  sponsoring terror all over the globe terror. And to go ahead full steam with the above-mentioned agenda.

I don’t know what the upcoming congressional elections will produce. A lot of media pundits think that Democrats have a good chance of taking over at least one house of Congress – if not both. However, their predictions are surely influenced by their bias – in a kind of wishful thinking way. But I hope they are wrong. And they easily could be. Just the way they were wrong about the Presidential election. We shall see.

The American people are a smart people. Most of them realize Israels concern’s are just despite all the hand-wringing by the mainstream media. And thank God for that.