Jack Cohen

Jack Cohen – A Contradiction in US Attitudes Towards Israel

american-jews

Jack Cohen – A Contradiction in US Attitudes Towards Israel

Current polls give Israel very strong support among the general US population, by a ratio of ca. 65% to ca. 15% for the Palestinians.  On the other hand, the US media is predominately liberal/left and has a bias against Israel (NYT, CNN, Wash Post, etc.) and the campuses are cesspools of anti-Israel propaganda, with Professors of Middle East studies usually rabidly anti-Israel and many student groups that support the Palestinians and make life difficult for Jewish students.  Why is there this contradiction?

One of the reasons is that surprisingly evangelical Christians, of which there are ca. 55 million in the US (ca. 20% of the population), are strong supporters of Israel.  They support Israel for two main reasons, first they believe that the second coming of Christ cannot happen until all the Jews are gathered into the Holy Land, so this is a religious belief.  But, they are also politically anti-Muslim, and see Israel as a bulwark of Western Judeo-Christian values against the spread of Islam.  Thus, Pastor John Hagee of San Antonio founded Christians United for Israel three years ago and it already has 3.5 million members, the largest pro-Israel organization in the US.

Of course, the evangelical Christian movement is predominately right-wing, and the organized Jewish community in the US is predominately left-wing, generally supporting Democratic liberal candidates for office.  It is no accident that the leader of the left-wing of the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders, is a Jew, and that he is deliberately critical of Israel.  This highlights the fact that most Jews prefer to put their liberal-left concerns for “human rights” before their support for Israel, although in fact there should be no contradiction.  Many see the plight of the Palestinians as their personal concern as Jews, preferring to ignore the fact that the Palestinian movement not only uses terrorism against Jews, for which they can find excuses, but is totally opposed to Western liberal values such as human rights, rights for women and gays.

But, even deeper than  that, all Jewish communities in the Diaspora (Galut) are insecure. They feel that Israel, and particularly its military actions to protect its citizens, undermines their own security.  Since they have no hand in such actions they feel free to criticize them, which gives them a feeling of being more in tune with the liberal-leftist political milieu that they inhabit. So is it any wonder that Israel cannot rely on the US Jewish community for its grudging support, but rather relies on the enthusiastic right-wing Christian support.  If US Jews want to have more influence on Israeli actions they should give Israel more support as the only liberal democratic and pro-American country in the whole turbulent region.

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