Support for Israel Higher than Ever

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"Support for Israel Higher than Ever"

Jon Chait, who’s a great deal more conservative on Israel than I am, thinks Benjamin Netanyahu has blundered with his recent spat with the Obama administration over settlement construction in East Jerusalem. Kevin Drum, too, seems to think things may be close to a breaking point: “At some point even Congress is going to sit up and take notice, and we might be closer to that point than Benjamin Netanyahu and AIPAC think.”

I suppose I agree with the result this kind of concern-trolling is supposed to bring about, but I actually think Netanyahu and AIPAC are on firm ground here. The power of hawkish Israel advocacy groups is such a cliché at this point that there’s been relatively little attention paid to the fact that the trend data suggests that Israeli policy is backed more strongly than ever by the public:

Middle East Sympathies, Full Trend, 1988-2010 1

Now among people who watch the conflict semi-closely, the trend is in the opposite direction. The current government in the West Bank is probably the most moderate we’ve ever seen, while Israel is governed by a right/far-right coalition that’s the least moderate we’ve ever seen. But of course the bulk of voters don’t pay attention to this sort of thing. So I think Congres is less likely than ever to question the upside-down nature of the US-Israel client-superpower dynamic.

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