The Corner

Are We Still an Ally of Israel? Who Knows?

In a recent Gallup poll, 85 percent of Republicans and only 48 percent of Democrats supported Israel rather that the Palestinians. What to make of it?

The hard Left’s multiculturalist furor at Israel has made enormous inroads into the Democratic party, as we see with the current “reset” policy of the Obama administration, while the old blue-blood, country-club Republicans who tsk-tsked Israel have almost vanished. Over the last 20 years the Left has reconstructed Israel from a bastion of the traditional liberal Jewish tradition into a Western, capitalist hegemonic oppressor, all of which shows the power of campus multculturalism when a tiny democratic country of 7 million can be reconfigured into a colonial power.

In some sense Obama’s new policy, rather than the wishes of the Democratic Congress, reflects the new Democratic majority, even as it is at odds with the country at large (63 percent of the American people express support for Israel). More to the point, no alliance can long withstand such a marked divide, in which Republicans are overwhelmingly pro-Israel and Democrats quite clearly are not — that divide leads to something like the radical change of heart from Bush in 2008 to Obama in 2009.

Clearly Jewish-American voters are not factoring in Israel all that much in their political decisions and have little problem identifying with a party that has lots of problems with Israel — unless domestic politics have not caught up with rapidly changing attitudes in Washington. Stranger still, the Israeli liberal elite that dominates foreign policy and cultural life in Israel will be finding the U.S. government much more akin to the hostile feeling of Europe; its six-out-of-ten support in America remains mostly rank and file.

All of this, of course, is the stuff of parlor thinking and mercurial polls. The real problems won’t arise until there is another shooting war in the Middle East, a flare-up with Iran, or another intifada, in which everything from American resupply to verbal support for an Israel in extremis will clarify things a great deal.

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