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The Boomerang Effect: How Netanyahu Made Israel an American Issue, and Lost

By       Message Ramzy Baroud       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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From Palestine Chronicle

From youtube.com: Netanyahu's Congress speech {MID-248947}
Netanyahu's Congress speech
(Image by YouTube, Channel: RT)
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Despite massive sums of money spent to channel public opinion in the United States in favor of Israel, unmistakable trends in opinion polls are attesting to the changing dynamics of Israel's support among ordinary Americans.

Not only is Israel losing its support and overall appeal among large sections of American society, but among young American Jews, as well -- a particularity worrying phenomena for the Israeli government.

The trend promises to be a lasting one, since it has been in the making for years, starting some time after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

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It was on that date that the affinity between Israel and the US purportedly grew to unprecedented levels, since both countries claimed to be fighting "Islamic terror." In reality, the attacks, the ensuing media discourse and subsequent wars have all coagulated the support of Christian Evangelists behind Israel, as they saw the widening conflict in the Middle East as part of a long-awaited prophecy.

It was precisely then that the support of Israel by American Liberals, especially those identifying with the Democratic Party, began to weaken.

With time, supporting or not supporting Israel became a partisan issue, which is, itself, unprecedented.

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While the Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, exploited every opportunity to maximize support for Israel in order to achieve objectives deemed important by the Israeli rightwing, ultra-right and religious parties, Netanyahu's conceited and confrontational style has alienated many Americans, especially Democrats.

Worse, Netanyahu's policies of entrenching the Occupation, blocking any peace efforts and expanding illegal Jewish settlements, also began to shift the kind of support that Israel has historically taken for granted, that of American Jews.

A comprehensive Pew poll published in October 2013 indicated that a growing number of US Jews question the sincerity of the Israeli government in its alleged efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Palestine. Only 38% thought Tel Aviv was sincere, and only 17% agreed that the illegal Jewish settlements are conducive to Israel's security. 44% thought otherwise.

The Israeli government, aware of the generational gap within the US Jewish communities, seemed more fixated on maximizing the unprecedented trend of support it was receiving from US Republicans and religious conservatives, especially Christian Evangelists.

Fast forward to January 2018 and Israel's ratings among American Jews has plummeted even further.

According to a recent Brand Israel Group study, "support for Israel among Jewish college students in the United States has dropped 32% between 2010 and 2016," reported the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

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The report was accompanied by stern warnings from the CEO and director-general of the influential Jewish Agency, Alan Hoffman, who described the findings as "extremely worrisome."

However, no contingency plan is likely to reverse these numbers any time soon, since they are consistent with the overall perception of Israel among the US population.

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Ramzy Baroud is the Managing Editor of Middle East Eye. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold (more...)
 

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