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Relations between Washington and Jerusalem reel from bad to worse.  In his latest speech to the Knesset, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "slammed" President Obama.  Ridiculing Obama as "naive," Netanyahu yearned for the bad old days of Arab dictatorships friendly to Israel before the Arab Spring.

At the same time, DCCC Chair, Congressman Steve Israel, (D-NY) demands an audit of US aid provided to the Palestinian Authority because of recent developments at the UN and negotiations between political factions, Fatah and Hamas.  

A couple of weeks ago, US Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, visited Israel to secure their assurances that they would inform the USA before they launched any attack against Iran.  Panetta's Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak, flatly refused the request.

In the Republican presidential debates, Mitt Romney backs unbridled Israeli policy against Iran and throughout the Middle East.  So do most other Republicans from Bachmann to Perry to Santorum who support Israel unequivocally. Ron Paul is the lone Republican outrider who says Israel is armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons and can take care of herself.

In the latest CBS poll on foreign policy, there were some surprising results.  Americans are less supportive of Israel, and there is a stark partisan divide.  One thing is crystal clear, Republicans support Israel much more strongly than Democrats.  For example, 58% of Republicans believe Israel is an ally of the USA, against only 29% of Democrats who concur, a two-to-one margin.  At the same time, 26% of Republicans believe that Israel is "friendly but not an ally," while 40% of Democrats say the same thing - that Israel is "not an ally."  In the CBS poll, 4% of Republicans and 8% of Democrats say Israel is, "unfriendly," while 3% of Republicans and 9% of Democrats say that Israel is an "enemy."  Thus, while 58% of Republicans think Israel is an ally, 59% of Democrats say that Israel is "not an ally" or "unfriendly" or an "enemy."

Given the current lack of trust between the US and Israel set against the political hostility between the Prime Minister and the President along with the dramatically changing American attitudes to the US-Israel relationship, the question is:  Why is Steve Israel jumping through Netanyahu's hoops while the Prime Minister is dissing the President while coddling his Republican opponents and refusing to cooperate with US national security policy?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Odd spin on the CBS poll... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    S M Tenneshaw, eztempo, Bob Love

    Diarist is deemphasizing the "friendly, but" from the polling-choice "friendly, but not an ally" when representing Democrats' responses. Agenda?

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 09:24:18 AM PST

    •  You missed the point (0+ / 0-)

      CBS polls emphasized the growing number of Americans who do not see Israel as an ally, but that is a minor point.  The major point is why is Steve Israel jumping through Binyamin Netanyahu's hoops like a trained poodle - especially now that relations between the two administrations and their governments have deteriorated to the point that Netanyahu is blasting Obama from the dais at the Knesset?  

    •  I don't get it. (0+ / 0-)

      What's the agenda?

      Anyway, that's not really important. These poll results are pretty standard. The polling evidence has long shown that most Americans see Israel as a friendly state, but not a particularly important one - it typically ranks as a second or third tier ally, alongside states like Mexico. The partisan divide is also entirely typical - polls have long shown that people who self-define as Democrats are far less supportive of Israeli policies than are self-defined Republicans, and his gap is increasing. Israel's dwindling band of liberal defenders always act outraged at the suggestion that supporting its policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians and its neighbours is illiberal, but the polls clearly show otherwise.

  •  Israel rawx. So does Steve Israel. (0+ / 0-)

    This diary, not so much.

    When they own the information, they can bend it all they want. -- John Mayer

    by S M Tenneshaw on Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 10:25:20 AM PST

  •  Israel is protecting his party's Congresspeople (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CTDemoFarmer, David54, drawingporno

    The chair of the DCCC is all about shielding his own Democratic Congress contingent and not about to change Administration policy toward Israel.  It's a shame that the poll doesn't distinguish between the State of Israel -- the idea of Israel as a consistent friend of the U.S. in the Middle East -- and the current ruling bloc -- Netanyahu's policy.  Were that distinction made, a "policy poll" rather than a "State of..." poll, the attitudes of Republicans and Democrats might be differentiated more than is seen here, in fact.

    •  What is Israel shielding his Party from? (0+ / 0-)

      Just what do you mean by your headline?  Why does Israel have to protect his "party's Congresspeople"? The CBS poll proves that the majority of Democratic voters are skeptical about Israel to some extent or another.  Your comment is meaningless.  The attitudes of Democrats and Republicans are starkly different.  You don't know what you are attempting to talk about - that much is abundantly clear.

      •  The ZOA -Zionist Organization of America (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Had their annual event this month.  For the first time in years, no democrats on the podium.  Glen Beck, Michelle Bachman and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, yes, Schumer, nope.

        •  What is your point? (0+ / 0-)

          That ZOA should dictate foreign policy to the USA?  That a group that honors:  Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachmann and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen should shape foreign policy?  That the Democratic Party should capitulate to a foreign leader who blasts the sitting president of the USA?

          •  Chill out (0+ / 0-)

            that's not what he's saying. Read the comment before responding. And lay off the patriotic discourse: there is no problem in principle with a "foreign" leader criticising the US president. What matters is whether or not the criticism is accurate.

            The ZOA is a right-wing group within the spectrum of 'pro'-Israel organisations in the US. At the most recent annual meeting they were handing out yellow 'Jude' stars in the audience, and Ha'aretz reported that there was a palpable sense of 'peril' throughout the conference that another 'genocide' of the Jews is in the making. They're fruitcakes.

      •  I think the DCCC is shielding 'em from the Right (0+ / 0-)

        As whizdom points out, Malleus, you, yourself, are asserting that there could be an attack from the Right on sitting Democrats -- that they are "weak on support for Israel".  Evidence what happened to Anthony Weiner's seat in the special election where the Democrat was hurt by charges that the Obama Administration was insufficiently supportive of the State of Israel.

        It's obvious, and not "meaningless" that shoring up the cred of Democratic Congresspeople on their support of Israel is an objective of the DCCC, here.

        •  Are you seriously suggesting US capitulation? (0+ / 0-)

          Do you really believe that the USA should capitulate to the dictats of a foreign leader after he blasts the sitting Democratic President of America?  Do you actually believe that Democrats should cower before the wrath of Binyamin Netanyahu when he attacks Barack Obama?  Do you honestly believe that you can extrapolate the loss of one seat in New York to Binyamin Netanyahu's hatred of Barack Obama's policy on Israel?  Did you read the CBS poll?  You appear to be out of step with the majority of Democrats and the growing majority of Americans - just like Steve Israel, who should seriously consider resignation.  

    •  I agree with this: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      It's a shame that the poll doesn't distinguish between the State of Israel -- the idea of Israel as a consistent friend of the U.S. in the Middle East -- and the current ruling bloc -- Netanyahu's policy.

      That distinction should always be made. I would love to see an Israel without a Netanyahu and what he represents.
      It's my business because I'm an American taxpayer.

  •  Personally I'm tired (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drawingporno, MalleusMaleficarum

    of so called patriotic Americans having more fealty to a foreign head of state than to the President. Call me old fashioned, but clearly the waters edge is beyond the Jordan. Bibi has been given carte blanche by Cantor and the GOP, hoping to persuade Jewish voters from voting Democrat.

    Never underestimate the ability of the Right to overreach.

    by never forget 2000 on Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 03:41:50 PM PST

    •  Personally I'm tired of people (0+ / 0-)

      taking solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, which ought to be based on universal principles of justice, freedom, equality and international law, and infecting it with particularistic prejudices like "patriotism" and concerns about "fealty" to "foreigners".

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