Why is America pro-Israel? Hint: It’s not because of the Jewish lobby. So argues former TAI contributor Yair Rosenberg in a new piece in Tablet. He notes that while AIPAC and its opponents both think the group’s power is responsible for America’s policy toward Israel, the truth is more mundane:
Consider this: Last March, Gallup released a remarkable poll under the headline “Americans’ Sympathies for Israel Match All-Time High.” It revealed that Americans “lean heavily toward the Israelis over the Palestinians, 64 percent vs. 12 percent” and went on to note that “Americans’ partiality for Israel has consistently exceeded 60 percent since 2010; however, today’s 64 percent ties the highest Gallup has recorded in a quarter century.” Last week, Gallup found that American favorability toward Israel had reached 72 percent, an approval rating that dwarfed all other Middle Eastern countries. These results accord with decades’ worth of similar polls taken by Pew, which found in 2012 that Americans favored Israel over the Palestinians by a 5-to-1 ratio.The upshot of these figures is clear: Politicians tilt toward Israel because their voters do.
Read the whole thing. Rosenberg helpfully contrast the U.S. situation to the European one and explains why this theory can explain something the Jewish lobby theory can’t: why AIPAC wins on some issues but loses on others (like Syria or the Pollard case, both of which he discusses). AIPAC is influential insofar as it represents a view that is commonly held in America. Americans’ love of Israel is what makes AIPAC powerful, not the other way around. The Jews don’t run America, and it’s past time for the hysteria over the “Israel lobby” to be put to bed.