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August 6, 2014 1:48 pm

The Gaza War, and the New U.S. Jewish Consensus on Israel

avatar by Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn

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Funeral of IDF St.-Sgt. Eliav Kahlon 22, from Safed Photo: Dave Bender

Funeral of IDF St.-Sgt. Eliav Kahlon 22, from Safed Photo: Dave Bender.

It’s hard to imagine any issue on which more than 90% of American Jews agree. Is anti-Semitism bad? Are latkes good? Are reruns of “Seinfeld” worth watching?

Yet we finally do have one such issue. According to a new Gallup Poll released on August 1, when asked about the Gaza War, 93% of American Jews said they sympathize with Israel, 5% sympathize with both sides, and 2% sympathize with the Palestinians.

Note that the poll was carried out amidst a veritable tsunami of pro-Palestinian news media coverage in the United States. American Jews have been bombarded daily with heart-rending images of frightened or wounded Palestinians. The New York Times, especially, has done its utmost to perpetuate the notion that the Palestinians are innocent victims of Israeli brutality.

Just before the poll results were released, a front-page story in The Forward, reporting on American Jewish opinion regarding the war, was headlined “Many Jews Rally For Israel, While Some Protest Gaza War.”

The headline alone conveyed the impression that a substantial proportion of U.S. Jews were criticizing Israel.

According to the body of the article, “a series of opposing rallies and protests have drawn Jews on both sides.” Reinforcing the idea of a deep division in the community, six of the nine individuals interviewed in the article were critics of Israel. (And even one of the pro-Israel demonstrators was quoted not in support of Israel, but in defense of the right of the critics to speak out against Israel.)

The Gallup poll clearly demonstrates the opposite: that the division, if one can call it that, is more than 9 to 1 in support of Israel. (Note that the respondents were not forced to choose between Israel and the Palestinians; they had the option of choosing “both sides.” Yet only 5% did so.)

How is that there is such overwhelming – almost unanimous – support among American Jews for Israel in this war?

After all, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is routinely portrayed in the news media as “right-wing,” and most American Jews are supposedly liberal to left-wing. So shouldn’t they be opposing Netanyahu’s war policies (even though they are backed by an overwhelming majority of Israelis)?

Furthermore, most American Jews voted for Barack Obama, and the Obama Administration has often been harshly critical of Israel’s conduct of the war, while showing sympathy to the Palestinians. So shouldn’t they be supporting Obama?

Moreover, this is a community that has – over three generations – repeatedly given birth to dissident organizations that are opposed to Zionism or Israel. In the 1940s, it was the American Council for Judaism, a group established by anti-Zionist Reform rabbis. In the 1970s, it was Breira, organized by former anti-Vietnam war radicals. In the 1980s, it was the New Jewish Agenda, created by New Age activists.

More recently, J Street has emerged. One of J Street’s oft-repeated claims is that the mainstream pro-Israel organizations do not speak for most American Jews – that there is a silent majority in the Jewish community favoring J Street’s positions. Certainly if one were to believe the fawning media coverage it has received, J Street would appear to have the support of a significant number of American Jews.

But the new Gallup Poll strongly suggests otherwise.

It’s not that there has been much of a shift to the “right” in the Jewish community. In fact, American Jews haven’t abandoned an essentially liberal outlook all that much. It’s the world that has changed.

Beginning with the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, many Palestinian leaders and spokesmen attempted to convince the world – and American Jewry – that they had become moderate and no longer sought the destruction of Israel. For some twenty years, American Jews watched as the “moderate Palestinian” myth gradually fell apart.  The “jihad” speeches … the hate-filled Palestinian school books … the attempt to smuggle in a ship filled with fifty tons of weapons … the salaries for imprisoned terrorists … Every new development chipped away at the Oslo illusion.

It all reached a terrible in climax in Gaza. Israel finally did what Israeli and American Jewish doves had long demanded: it unilaterally withdrew every Israeli soldier and citizen from every inch of Gaza. It was the ultimate test of Palestinian intentions.

And how did the Palestinians respond?  By burning down the greenhouses Israel left them, electing Hamas terrorists as their leaders, and firing thousands of rockets into “occupied Sderot,” “occupied Ashkelon,” and now, “occupied Tel Aviv.”

American Jews have responded to this sobering new reality as any normal, logical, rational thinking people would respond.

Lesson nineteen of the Gaza war:  There is an overwhelming American Jewish consensus in support of Israel.

Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn are members of the board of the Religious Zionists of America.

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  • Tabitha korol

    I know the majority of Jews support Israel, but so many of them cannot connect the dots and think that Obama is “clearly” on the side of Israel! Something happens to the synapses of the brains of these people; I sure as heck can’t figure it out. They are absolutely pro-Israel, and they absolutely will vote for the people who would do anything to destroy; they can’t make the connection. Pathetic, and I don’t know what to do about it.

  • martin

    any Jew that can’t support Israel in this hour of crisis must be an imbecile.

  • Please send this article to that self-hating Jew Thomas Friedman

  • Bernard Ross

    Jstreet is the kapo soros creation and stooge whose purpose is the support of obama and the democratic party. they are paid whores.

  • Lynn

    How even 2% of American Jews can support Hamas is beyond belief and understanding.

    During the Yom Kippur War I was living in Malaysia, a Muslim country. I asked a friend how he could remain my friend under the circumstances. He replied, “You are Jewish and so have to support the Israelis. I am Muslim and so have to support my Muslim brothers. It is only natural. So, we will not discuss it an remain friends.”

    Sometimes wisdom is found in the most unlikely places. If I, a Jew, had been one of the far-left Jewish crazies supporting the Arabs, Malays would have considered me disgusting and unnnatural. Instead of endearing myself to them, they wouldn’t have wanted anything more to do with me. I would have judged as totally unnatural and immoral. I believe they would have been right.

  • Obama hates Israel and the US as a matter of fact. To restore civility to the world we must change the American president.

  • Leah

    “Is anti-Semitism bad?”

    Who writes this nonsense?

  • Dr.M.Otero

    Many Spaniards are part Jewish but are unaware of it. 60% of Spaniards have never met a Jew, but indicate that they are anti-Semitic.
    Someone should write a fantasy how great Spain might be today, had it not had the 1492 Inquisition and driven the Jews and Arabs out.

  • T.C.

    ROBIN ROSENBLATT send your appeal to Pastor John Hagee at Cornerstone Church Texas or C.U.F.I. I’m sure they will be able to help.

  • jb willikers

    A conservative is a liberal mugged by a “sobering new reality.”

  • Fredric M. London

    The reason so many Jews voted for Obama (myself included, in 2008 only), is that the GOP is the most inhumane, greedy, self-serving, avaricious, and fascistic party in US history. They back Israel, and for that we are glad. Israel has few enough friends. But on every other issue their positions are appalling and hateful, bloodthirsty, and venal. How can someone with conscience vote GOP? However, Obama has proven that the left-wing fascism of the Democratic Party is becoming stronger and stronger.

    So, what is a good Jewish boy to do? My frum daughter even considered voting for Obama in 2012 because of the egregiousness of his opponent. Ultimately, she did as I did and voted write in. But that is not an answer. True liberal Jews, who support Israel through and through, have been given our walking papers by the Democratic Party, but the GOP does not offer an alternative. Just look at the corrupt supreme court, and its war on anything reasonable, its unrelenting fight against the rights of US citizens, down to their coup in 2000. We believe, through and through, in helping our fellow man. We do not want starvation to resume in the US, nor see the landscape go any further down the road to the social Darwinism of the 19th century. Domestically, the Democrats are far closer to compassion and reason than are the government shutting fanatics of the right wing. However, we cannot support a president who is totally enmeshed with Islamic terrorism, and whose party will not do a thing to buck him.

    Personally, I feel totally disenfranchised by the current political ‘dialog.’ In my opinion only one of two things can solve this problem.

    1. Let us take back one of the parties. Either bring the Democrats back to true liberalism, or overcome the tea party and the other fascist traitors of the GOP.

    2. Form a new political party.

    There have been other major parties in US history. Now is the time to start one. There are many wealthy backers who would like to see the political dialog more along the lines of reason, who could provide financing.

    • Steve Butman

      MR. London: I could not agree with you more. Americans are left with terrible choices on both sides of the political spectrum. The problem, IMO, is two-fold; 1) The Electoral College system which doesn’t allow for 3rd party candidates to be elected President. This system needs to be abolished…it does NOT represent the will of The People. 2) The “legalization” of SuperPACS has guaranteed that individual votes do not count anymore. “Big Money” will elect candidates to office, not We The People. We are no longer a Republic nor a Democracy, we are a PLUTOCRACY.

    • Sam Barkan

      Mr. London, This is the most inane excuse I believe one can give to vote for a Muslim who sat 20 years in Rev Wright church and heart his epitaph against the US and the Jews….
      Please the Democratic party is long past its human stage, this is NOT Kennedy or Johnson party of the Civil rights struggle but the party of Pelosi and Reid the champion of Big Unions, big business and endless EPA and anti-small business regulation….but worse the ONE that allowing Hussein-O to destroy US position abroad and sever the relation with Israel, to the point that its PM Mr. Netanyahu entered the White house thru the side entrance…. this says more about this administration and its Democratic party more then anything else.
      Grow up and smell the rotten egg the fools in the Jewish community laid and allowed this snake-oil merchant to sell them and they bought it line-hook- and-sinker…Just Pathetic

  • I sympathize with the Jewish people but they absolutely do not belong in that part of the world. They have the aggressive-defensive Western mindset and belong amongst the First World countries. I’m happy to have them in multicultural Australia.

    • Steve Butman

      Israel is exactly where it belongs! When G-d gave Israel to the Jewish people (via Abraham), He gave us the land upon which Israel stands. Israel is NOT a “mobile home” that can be moved around.

  • Shalom,

    I am very depressed and a shamed! No one will help with this…

    Israel is in a Battle of Good vs. Evil. You can do your part in this battle. With just a $1,000 or $500 donation from each of you will solve Israel’s cattle problem.
    Can you image a cowboy getting off an EL AL Jet tomorrow with enough Texas Longhorn embryos and semen straws to help every ranch and farm in Israel.

    Instantly, every Ranch and Farm in Israel will know that you support them.
    This is an internal security problem as well as an agriculture problem. Israeli ranches and farmers are under attack by jackals, wolves and Arabs; their passive European cattle that don’t fit Israel’s desert environment.

    If every Israeli, Jew and Christian helped with this we could solve this problem. How much land needs to be stolen and how many families need to be attacked and even murdered before you help?

    Texas Longhorn cattle are desert cattle; they can solve these problems and can stop these attacks simply by threatening with their sharp horns. Support the Israel Longhorn Project help put a stop to it now.

    Partners include: The Israeli Border Police, the New Shomrim or the New Guards, Israel’s Agriculture Department, the Prime Minister’s office, Chaim Dyan of AMBAL. (Israel cattle breeders Association) and Migal – Galilee Technological Center, in Kyriat Shmona. Karei Deshe Range Station and many Israeli Ranches.

    Donations only of: $500, $1000, $5,000, $10,000 and $50,000 to help us reach our goal of now $375,000 to start the project. (We can start with less if we have to. You can use PayPal on the website). Later we will need another $200,000 to a total of $575,000. That will be used through years 2 to 5, to make project self-supporting in the 5th year.

    Robin Rosenblatt: former IDF and past anti Terrorist Agent
    The Longhorn Project
    815 Hill Street, # 5
    Belmont, CA 94002
    Tel: 650.631.9270 / 03.722.6108
    Nonprofit 501(c) 3 #74-3177354

    • Andrea

      What a terrible idea on many levels. First of all, Israel leads the world in its embrace of vegetarian/veganism because Jews are the most compassionate people in the world. Animal agriculture is devastating to the environment and our health. (It is the NUMBER ONE cause of climate change, ahead of all forms of transportation combined. It’s the leading cause of heart disease, obesity and diabetes!) Bringing in cattle doesn’t solve any of Israel’s problems, it would just create new ones. Learn the truth about animal ag and how easy is it to go veg.

  • Emanuel

    Down with the MB Jihad Street fraud.