Democrats, Republicans, and Israel

Since Israel came into existence in 1948, Democrats and Republicans have changed places in their attitudes toward Israel. In the first era, 1948–70, Democrats sympathized more with the Jewish state and Republicans distinctly less so.

In 2000, survey research commissioned by left-wing, anti-Israel activist James Zogby found “a significant partisan split” on the Arab-Israeli conflict, with Republicans significantly more pro-Israel than Democrats. For example, asked the question, “With regard to the Middle East, how do you feel the next president should relate to the region?” 22 percent of Republicans and only 7 percent of Democrats said he should be pro-Israel.

Recent research by the Gallup Poll finds that 72 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of Democrats sympathize more with the Israelis than Palestinian Arabs. A detailed look at this same data finds more dramatic results, with conservative Republicans over five times more sympathetic to Israel than liberal Democrats.

The Democratic coolness toward Israel fits into a larger pattern of conspiracy theories about neo-conservatives and anti-Jewish outbursts by such party luminaries as Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson, Cynthia McKinney, and James Moran. One observer, Sher Zieve, concludes that among Democrats, “anti-Semitism is and has been on the rise” for some time.

The current trend appears to be growing. This leads me to expect that Muslims, Arabs, and others hostile to Israel will increasingly vote Democratic, even as Jews and those friendly to the Jewish state increasingly vote Republican. In this light, it bears noting that American Muslims see themselves in direct competition with Jews; the Brookings Institute’s Muqtedar Khan predicts that Muslims in the United States soon “will not only be able to out-vote, but also out-bid the Jewish and most other ethnic lobbies.”

These developments have potentially profound implications for U.S.-Israel relations. The cross-party continuity of policy of the past will end, to be replaced by a major shift whenever the White House changes hands from one party to the other. As the political consensus breaks, Israel will be the loser.

To read the entire article by Mideast expert Daniel Pipes, log onto DanielPipes.org. (Used by permission.)

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