American public opinion and the special relationship with Israel
By John J. Mearsheimer
There is no question that the United States has a relationship with Israel that has no parallel in modern history. Washington gives Israel consistent, almost unconditional diplomatic backing and more foreign aid than any other country. In other words, Israel gets this aid even when it does things that the United States opposes, like building settlements. Furthermore, Israel is rarely criticized by American officials and certainly not by anyone who aspires to high office. Recall what happened last year to Charles Freeman, who was forced to withdraw as head of the National Intelligence Council because he had criticized certain Israeli policies and questioned the merits of the special relationship.
Steve Walt and I argue that there is no good strategic or moral rationale for this special relationship, and that it is largely due to the enormous influence of the Israel lobby. Critics of our claim maintain that the extremely tight bond between the two countries is the result of the fact that most Americans feel a special attachment to Israel. The American people, so the argument goes, are so deeply committed to supporting Israel generously and unreservedly that politicians of all persuasions have no choice but to support the special relationship.
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs has just released a major study of how the American public thinks about foreign policy. It is based on a survey of 2500 Americans, who were asked a wide variety of questions, some of which have bearing on Israel. Their answers make clear that most Americans are not deeply committed to Israel in any meaningful way. There is no love affair between the American people and Israel.
This is not to say that they are hostile to Israel, because they are not. But there is no evidence to support the claim that Americans feel a bond with Israel that is so strong that it leaves their leaders with little choice but to forge a special relationship with Israel. If anything the evidence indicates that if the American people had their way, the United States would treat Israel like a normal country, much the way it treats other democracies like Britain, Germany, India, and Japan.
Consider some of the study's main findings:
"Contrary to the long-standing, official U.S. position, fewer than half of Americans show a readiness to defend Israel even against an unprovoked attack by a neighbor. Asked whether they would favor using U.S. troops in the event that Israel were attacked by a neighbor, only 47 percent say they would favor doing so, while 50 percent say they would oppose it ...This question was also asked with a slightly different wording in surveys from 1990 to 2004 (if Arab forces invaded Israel). In none of these surveys was there majority support for an implicitly unilateral use of U.S. troops."
Americans "also appear to be very wary of being dragged into a conflict prompted by an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. In this survey, conducted in June 2010, a clear majority of Americans (56%) say that if Israel were to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, Iran were to retaliate against Israel, and the two were to go to war, the United States should not bring its military forces into the war on the side of Israel and against Iran"
"While Americans have strongly negative feelings toward the Palestinian Authority... a strong majority of Americans (66%) prefer to 'not take either side' in the conflict."
"There is some tangible worry regarding the direction of relations with Israel. Although 44 per-cent say that relations with Israel are "staying about the same," a very high 38 percent think relations are 'worsening,' and only 12 percent think they are 'improving'."
"Americans are not in favor of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, a major sticking point in the conflict, with 62 percent saying Israel 'should not build' these settlements."
Finally, only 33 percent of those surveyed feel that Israel is "very important" to the United States, while 41 percent said it was "somewhat important." It is also worth noting that on the list of countries that were said to be "very important" to the United States, Israel ranked fifth behind China, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. Of course, all of those countries have a normal relationship with the United States, not a special relationship like the one Israel has with Washington.
The data in the Chicago Council's study is consistent with the data that Steve and I presented in our book and in countless public talks. The story remains the same.
The bottom line is that the lobby is largely responsible for America's special relationship with Israel, which is harmful to both countries. Alan Dershowitz was spot on when he said, "My generation of Jews ... became part of what is perhaps the most effective lobbying and fund-raising effort in the history of democracy."
John J. Mearsheimer is a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and coauthor of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.
Many incoming cabinet members have railed against the worker protections and environmental and corporate regulations that President Barack Obama has enacted.
A mild earthquake was felt along the central coast and on nearby islands.
Biden's two-day visit to Ottawa, which started with the dinner hosted by Trudeau on Thursday, came as Canada's regional leaders met in the capital to finalize a national climate strategy.
Shelters and logistics center were also destroyed in operation in Gara region
Investigations are ongoing, but Colombia's civil aviation safety chief has said the plane disregarded international rules on fuel reserves.
Most of Bulgaria's fleet of MiG-29s have been in constant need of repairs in recent years.
The US refining system is already the largest in the world, with some 139 refineries in operation, according to Davis Refinery. Most petroleum refining operations are along the US Gulf Coast.
Military spokesman Badare Akintoye had earlier said "at least 30 people have been killed in the suicide blasts carried out by two female suicide bombers in the market."
Quake occurs day after 7.8 tremor damages around 30 buildings and prompts tsunami warning
Park's downfall was triggered by a scandal involving her close friend, Choi Soon-Sil, who is now awaiting trial on charges of using her presidential ties as leverage to squeeze tens of millions of dollars from local companies.
The delivery of the first two of 50 F-35s to be purchased by Israel comes as the years-long development of the most expensive plane in history reaches a critical stage.
Ownership of islands known respectively as Northern Territories/Southern Kurils bedeviled Japan-Russia relations for 70 yrs
Horses that have been an indispensable part of life Turkey in which they have been a constant companion throughout the history of Turks
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed on November 30 to lower its monthly output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to 32.5 million bpd as of January.
Calls from Western leaders to stop the fighting and diplomacy at the UN have so far amounted to nothing with Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin seemingly intent on pushing their advantage.
Lagarde, who served as finance minister until 2011, has always insisted she acted in France's best interests.