Americans support Israel, but do Democrats?
A recent Gallup survey demonstrates that Americans favor Israel over “Palestinians” by terrific margins. Seven out of ten Americans have a “mostly favorable” or “very favorable” view of the State of Israel. In contrast, less than two in ten have a “mostly favorable” or “very favorable” view of the Palestinian Authority.However, when one breaks the findings down by political party a very different image emerges.A full 83 percent of Republicans sympathize more with Israelis than “Palestinians” in the Arab-Israel conflict.However, only a minority of Democrats sympathize more with Israelis – a mere 48 percent – which when I went to school suggests that a majority of Democrats do not sympathize more with Israel than with the “Palestinians.” My suspicion is that this is probably the first time within polling Americans on the Arab-Israel conflict that a majority of Democrats favor the Arabs over the Jews.
The consensus among American Jews – if not Jews, more generally – is that support within the United States for Israel must remain bi-partisan. It seems, however, that this bi-partisanship is in considerable jeopardy.
The Democratic party comes out of the tradition of social justice and Civil Rights as it expressed itself in the last half of the twentieth century. Democrats stood with Martin Luther King, Jr., not Republicans. Democrats fought for feminism and a woman’s right to choose an abortion, not Republicans. It was Democrats who both started the Vietnam War and did most to end it on the grassroots level, not Republicans.
The natural sympathies of American Jewry has been with the liberals and the Democrats since FDR, because it was the liberals and the Democrats who were fighting for the little guy, the down-and-out, the outsider. And if there is one thing that Jewish people know a little something about it is, as we recently saw on PBS’ Downton Abbey, what it is like to be an outsider.
However, after the 1967 6 Day War, Israel gradually went from being “David” to being “Goliath” in the popular imagination of the progressive-left and the activist grass-roots of the Democratic party. This development was very much encouraged by the Arabs who realized that since they could not defeat Israel militarily then they could, perhaps, defeat it on the field of propaganda which is the western mind.
For thirteen centuries Jews lived under the jack-boot of Arab-Muslim Supremacy.
Our numbers were kept low and any security that we had depended on knowing our place as dhimmis within the system of Islamic imperial jurisprudence known as al-Sharia. We were not allowed to ride horses, only mules. We were not allowed to repair or build new synagogues. In some places we were not even allowed to go out in the rain lest Jewish filth wash onto, and thereby contaminate, the clean Muslim streets.
And now the West is telling us that Jews are being mean to Arabs.
The Arab states, plus the Arab residents of Judaea and Samaria, launched a war against the Jews directly after the Holocaust that is ongoing ever since. World War II never actually ended for the Jews of the Middle East, it merely morphed into the Long Arab War.
The people who call themselves “Palestinian” are the forward cadre of the much larger forces arrayed against those Jews. Their job is to attack and attack and attack in any manner that they possibly can – including encouraging their children to engage in the traditional Arab sport of stoning Jews – until Israel responds and then, as soon as it does, the western propaganda machine rolls into action.
For years the Gazans were shooting rockets into southern Israel making life impossible there. The economy was in shambles and children were developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because they were continually having to race into bomb shelters. However, as soon as Israel responded by destroying those terror tunnels and targeting Hamas fighters, the progressive-left and the grassroots-netroots of the Democratic party rose up as one to denounce Jewish Israelis for genocide, ethnic-cleansing, targeting children for death, and any other vile accusation that they could throw onto the wall in order to see what might stick.
Needless to say, western journalists did more than their part in the defamation game as Matti Friedman has so nicely illustrated. It is as if they honestly think that Arabs have every right to try to kill Jews and if Jews fight back, this represents a form of aggression.
Meanwhile, of course, the academics – such as the vile SFSU Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, of Race and Resistance Studies fame, who advised the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) during a period when they were holding up signs calling for the murder of “colonizers” – were telling their students that Israel is a racist, imperialist, colonialist, apartheid, militaristic, racist state… despite the fact that it has far-and-away the best human rights record of any country in the entire region.
In any case, an ongoing campaign of defamation against the Jews painted them as modern monsters or the New Nazis and has succeeded in turning progressives and Democrats against one of the most persecuted people in human history… on moral grounds. The Jews of Israel may believe that they are acting in self-defense, but progressive Democrats know that they really act out of racism and white privilege, or Jewish Supremacism, or the shear lust for violence.
And this, ultimately, is why the Democrats have turned against the Jews.
They honestly think that the Jews of the Middle East richly deserve whatever beating they get.