Who supports Israel?

Michael Barone reads the results of the recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg News poll and concludes: “Republicans more pro-Israel than Democrats.” Here are two salient paragraphs on the numbers reflecting the disparity between Democratic and Republican support for Israel:

These numbers would have been astonishing 50 years ago and surprising 20 years ago. In the 1940s and 1950s, Democrats were much more supportive of Israel than Republicans were. Israel, after all, was a conspicuously socialist republic, whose creation initially was supported by the Soviet Union. The Democratic Party had a much more philosemitic image than the Republican Party. And remember that it was Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who stepped in and shut off Israel’s offensive in the 1956 war. And Democratic President Lyndon Johnson who sped support to Israel in the 1967 war.

Now we see a turnaround. Left-wing anti-Israel sentiment is not confined to a few odd corners of the academic world; it has become a mass constituency in the Democratic Party. Nor is the view that the Palestinians and Hezbollah are virtuous and deprived Third World victims while Israel is a First World oppressor limited to old media (see CNN, BBC, large parts of the New York Times, etc., etc.). It’s also the view of a mass constituency in the Democratic Party.

Like us, like Hugh Hewitt, like Victor Davis Hanson, Barone has the thirties on his mind. He notes that he’s reading How War Came: The Immediate Origins of World War II, 1938-1939 (now sadly out of print, I believe) by British diplomatic historian Donald Cameron Watt. Watt is a formidable historian and the book is invaluable, but I’ve never been able to get over this sentence in the first chapter giving Watt’s retrospective on the war: “The worst, because the most irredeemable, losses to Europe were those suffered in the field of art and architecture.”


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