Why do non-Jewish Americans support Israel?
And liberal intellectuals, once among Israel's staunchest U.S. allies, toward growing sympathy with Palestinian views?.
Walter Russell Mead is one of the most revered American foreign policy scholars in the U.S. He has authored some great books (chief among them, Special Providence), as well as many great articles. Last year he wrote the most powerful argument against Walt and Mearsheimer's The Israel Lobby.
Now Mead has a new article in Foreign Affairs, entitled "Why Gentile Americans Back the Jewish State". Although I usually refrain from just quoting articles without adding my own take, I think this time I'll do just that. Most people do not read such long articles, and are not Foreign Affairs subscribers,..snip
Revelation, Religion, ideals
Here are a couple of paragraphs from Walter Russell Mead's The New Israel and the Old:
"Widespread gentile support for Israel is one of the most potent political forces in U.S. foreign policy, and in the last 60 years, there has never been a Gallup poll showing more Americans sympathizing with the Arabs or the Palestinians than with the Israelis? many of those who tell pollsters that the United States' policies are fair to both sides actually favor policies that most non-U.S. observers would consider strongly and even irresponsibly pro-Israel. The American public has few foreign policy preferences that are this marked, this deep, this enduring -- and this much at odds with public opinion in other countries. In the United States, a pro-Israel foreign policy does not represent the triumph of a small lobby over the public will. It represents the power of public opinion to shape foreign policy in the face of concerns by foreign policy professionals.".
"The Prophet Isaiah had described the future return of the Jews to their homeland as God's grace bringing water to a desert land. And Americans watched the returning fertility of the land under the cultivation of early Zionist settlers with the astonished sense that biblical prophecy was being fulfilled before their eyes. "The springs of Jewish colonizing vigor, amply fed by the money of world Jewry, flowed on to the desert," wrote Time magazine in 1946, echoing the language of Isaiah. Two years later, following the Jewish victory in the 1948 war, it described the Arabs in terms that induce flinching today but represented common American perceptions at the time: "The Western world tends to think of the Arab as a falcon-eyed warrior on a white horse. That Arab is still around, but he is far less numerous than the disease-ridden wretches who lie in the hot streets, too weak, sick and purposeless to roll over into the shade." Americans saw a contest between a backward and incapable people and a people able to settle the wilderness and make it bloom, miraculously fulfilling ancient prophecies of a Jewish state."
"Since the 1967 war, however, the basis of Israel's support in the United States has shifted: backing for Israel has tended to weaken on the left and grow on the right.
On the left, a widespread dislike of Israel's policies in the occupied territories and a diminished concern for its security in the wake of its triumph in the war led many African Americans, mainline Protestants, and liberal intellectuals, once among Israel's staunchest U.S. allies, toward growing sympathy with Palestinian views?. snip