Jeff Jacoby, in an article in the Boston Globe, analyzes the result of a Gallop poll:
But look at the disparity that emerges when those results are sorted by party affiliation. While support for Israel vs. the Palestinians has climbed to a stratospheric 85 percent among Republicans, the comparable figure for Democrats is an anemic 48 percent. (It was 60 percent for independents.) And behind Israel’s “Top 5” favorability rating lies a gaping partisan rift: 80 percent of Republicans — but just 53 percent Democrats — have positive feelings about the world’s only Jewish country.
Similarly, it is true that 333 US House members, a hefty bipartisan majority, endorsed the robustly pro-Israel Hoyer-Cantor letter to Hillary Clinton. But there were only seven Republicans who declined to sign the letter, compared with 91 Democrats — more than a third of the entire Democratic caucus. (Six Massachusetts Democrats were among the non-signers: John Olver, Richard Neal, John Tierney, Ed Markey, Michael Capuano, and Bill Delahunt.)
From Zogby International comes still more proof of the widening gulf between the major parties on the subject of Israel. In a poll commissioned by the Arab American Institute last month, respondents were asked whether Obama should “steer a middle course” in the Middle East — code for not clearly supporting Israel. “There is a strong divide on this question,” Zogby reported, “with 73% of Democrats agreeing that the President should steer a middle course while only 24% of Republicans hold the same opinion.”
Taken as a whole, America’s identification with Israel is as stout as ever — the “special relationship” between the two nations still runs deep. But the old political consensus that brought Republicans and Democrats together in support of the Middle East’s only flourishing democracy is breaking down. Republican friendship for Israel has never been more rock-solid. Democratic friendship — especially now, in the age of Obama — is growing steadily less so.
I am not sure why Republicans are more supportive of Israel than Democrats, but the results of the surveys are interesting. Perhaps someone will come up with an explanation.
Read the whole article.