Is The American Public About To Toss Israel?

Ever so slowly over the past two decades, and gaining momentum since the April 2002 Israeli destruction of the West Bank town of Jenin, American attitudes toward Israel appear to be changing according to some public opinion analysts. The American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy polling unit, that works on behalf of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations has argued that the American opinion shift accelerates with each perceived Israeli outrage such as the saturation bombing of much of south Lebanon and south Beirut during the July 2006 war, the massive civilian slaughter, more than one-third women and children, in Gaza during the winter of 2008/9, the May 2010 murders and carnage committed against the Mavi Marmara, including the assassination of 19 year old American Furkan Dogan, and the cumulative effect of a half century of Geneva Convention and international law violations by Israel against occupied Palestine and Lebanon.

Some opinion analysts, like the 2009 Zogby International poll of American attitudes toward Israelis and Palestinians, express surprise with what they are learning from the American public and detect significant changes in American public attitudes favouring US disengagement from Israel.

Changes of US citizen’s attitudes toward Israel are evident in Lebanon also. Hundreds of Americans and other foreigners have visited Shatila and other Palestinian refugee Camps in Beirut in the past few years according to the Sabra Shatila Foundation that conducts tours of the camp. Many visiting Americans have been surveyed by various firms and the results mirror recent surveys from the States. Several explanations are being offered by pollsters for the developing American public opinion shift away from support for Israel.

One is the growing perception that Israel, despite its consistent claims of self-defence and accidents, when it attacks and kills civilian populations, is in  fact the aggressor and lacks respect for non-Jewish lives. Growing American revulsion at the increasing incidents of verbal assaults on Arabs and Muslims, and racist hate speech graffiti by the Israeli public, internet defamation  by elements of the US Israel lobby, and seeming encouragement by Israeli  officials and some Rabbi’s ensconced among the more than 100 illegal colonies in occupied Palestine.

Public opinion analysts are increasingly seeing that the American public wants to distance itself from Israel. But it is unlikely that Congress will, in the short term, follow the public’s lead. This conclusion is supported by the just passed congressional amendments that authorized the increase of U.S. weaponry, ammunition and war supplies stored in Israel to a record $1.2 billion, Defence News reported this week.

The value of U.S. weapons to be propositioned in Israel will reach $1 billion in 2011, with another $200 million added in 2012. Once the weaponry arrives, the amount of U.S.-owned materiel available for Israel’s emergency use will have jumped threefold since 2007. Over the past two years, logisticians and war planners from U.S.  European Command and the Israel Defence Forces elevated war stocks to the then congressionally authorized threshold of $ 800 of equipment. Ready for Israel’s next war against Lebanon or Syria or Iran – or all three countries


Franklin Lamb

13 November, 2010


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