The Economist reports that the American public is usually on Israel’s side:
Americans are far more likely than Europeans to side with Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A Pew Global Attitudes survey taken between March and May found that 48% of Americans said that their sympathies lay with the Israelis; only 13% were sympathetic towards the Palestinians. By contrast, in Spain for example, 9% sympathised with the Israelis and 32% with the Palestinians.
Politicians are much more likely than their constiuents to support Israeli policy:
Support for Israel stretches from San Francisco liberals like Nancy Pelosi to southern-fried conservatives like Bill Frist. The House and Senate have both passed bipartisan resolutions condemning Hizbullah and affirming Congress’s support for Israel. The House version passed by 410 to 8 (of which three were from districts in Michigan with concentrations of Arab-Americans). The Senate resolution, sponsored by 62 senatorsâ€”including the leaders of both partiesâ€”passed unopposed.
Why the unquestioned support?Â Two reasons: the Israeli lobby and Christian evangelicals:
â€œThank God we have AIPAC, the greatest supporter and friend we have in the whole world,â€ says Ehud Olmert, Israel’s prime minister. The lobby, which is the centrepiece of a co-ordinated body that includes pressure groups, think-tanks and fund-raising operations, produces voting statistics on congressmen that are carefully scrutinised by political donors. It also organises regular trips to Israel for congressmen and their staffs. (The Washington Post reports that Roy Blunt, the House majority whip, has been on four.)
White evangelicals are significantly more pro-Israeli than Americans in general; more than half of them say they strongly sympathise with Israel. (A third of the Americans who claim sympathy with Israel say that this stems from their religious beliefs.) Two in five Americans believe that Israel was given to the Jewish people by God, and one in three say that the creation of the state of Israel was a step towards the Second Coming.