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God, Israel, and the Jews

Yet more poll evidence is showing that American Jews are not the primary source of American pro-Israel feeling: Only 40 percent of Jews believe that God gave Israel to the Jewish people, but 82 percent of Evangelicals and 47 percent of white Protestants believe this. More African American Protestants believe that God gave the country to the Jewish people than Jews believe this. That’s according to the Pew Research Center, which also found that white Protestants are also less content with America’s support of Israel than Jews are:

White evangelical Protestants also are more likely than Jews to favor stronger U.S. support of Israel. Among Jews, 54% say American support of the Jewish state is “about right,” while 31% say the U.S. is not supportive enough. By contrast, more white evangelical Protestants say the U.S. is not supportive enough of Israel (46%) than say support is about right (31%).

American Protestants (with the exception of a liberal minority) supported the idea of a Jewish state in the Middle East long before American Jews came to embrace this idea. That pattern still holds today; American Protestants, again a certain minority excepted, remain the strongest base for pro-Israel policy in American public opinion.

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  • lukelea

    I wonder what the figures are for forty or so million foreign-born immigrants now resident in the United States? I can’t imagine that Asians feel that way. Not sure about Catholics in general.

    I raise this issue only because, as an immigration restrictionist, I hope it will alert the heads of major Jewish organizations that maybe mass immigration is not such a great thing — assuming they care about future popular American support for the state of Israel.

    • Kevin

      What fraction of Asian immigrants are Christian? It’s pretty high among East Asian immigrants, and many belong to Evangelical and/or Charismatic churches. Still your probably right that they are less pro-Israel than native born whites.

  • wigwag

    ” That pattern still holds today; American Protestants, again a certain minority excepted, remain the strongest base for pro-Israel policy in American public opinion.” (Walter Russell Mead)

    The certain minority Professor Mead alludes to includes the Presbyterians, Methodists and Episcopalians; politically liberal denominations, all.

    There was a time that British Anglicans were staunchly pro Israel as well, but unfortunately the adjective “self-hating” frequently applies to Anglicans (who loathe their nation’s colonial past) even more than it applies to Jews.

    Philosemitism and support for Zionism has a long history in Britain; it has it roots in the time of Cromwell and reached its apogee with Winston Churchill.

    Gertrude Himmelfarb (the wife of the late Irving Kristol who is also known as Bea Kristol) wrote a fascinating book on the topic entitled,

    “The People of the Book: Philosemitism in England from Cromwell to Churchill.”

    It’s a great read for anyone interested in how the view of Jews and Zionism evolved in British Protestants over several centuries.

    Treat yourself and read the book; you will be glad you did.

    • Anthony

      WigWag, hello. Didn’t the Irgun Zvai Leumi take up arms against the British to facilitate the English leaving what was then called Palestine by Great Britain (a reference made by Churchill).

      • wigwag

        Yes that is true.

        • Grigalem

          Off-topic and pointless in this context, but true.

          Remember – Jack “Kid” Berg (Judah Bergman), world champion junior welterweight from England, wore a Star of David on his trunks, and is a member of the Hall of Fame.

          We could do this all day.

  • Withywindle

    But some amount of “pro-Israel” opinion is simply a proxy for domestic political opinion–and likewise “anti-Israel”; that is, conservatives say they’re pro-Israel as a way of bashing liberals, and liberals (increasingly) say they’re anti-Israel as a way of bashing conservatives. It’s to some extent a proxy, an empty signifier for internal political quarrels and polemics. Not entirely–but significantly. Could be worth mentioning that.

    • Grigalem

      I’ve never seen any examples, but I suppose anything is possible.

  • Andrew Allison

    According to Gallup, 46% of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000
    years. Surely this must play an important role in American pro-Israel feeling.

    • Grigalem

      OK. I give up. Lay that out for me.

      • Kevin

        If you believe the Bible is the inerrant truth it’s not that hard to accept both beliefs from Genesis on creation and Exodus, etc. on God giving Isreal to the Jews.

        • Grigalem

          But not keeping the Sabbath, or keeping kosher, or wearing a garment made from linen and wool mixed, or cancelling all debts every seven years, or making statues of the Divine, or ….

          Well anyway, thanks for the elucidation. Though, the last time I looked, it was UN Resolution 181 that gave Israel to the Jewish People.

  • Emanuel Appel

    You guys are living in a bubble.
    Israel is. It doesn’t depend on what American Jews or Protestants or Eskimos think as Greece or France don’t depend on what you think of them.

  • Fenster

    The “Jewish Lobby” isn’t made up of Jews. We Jews can never agree on anything. Thank God for Evangelical Christians.

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