Why Does The U.S. Love Israel?
Why does the US support Israel? It’s a simple
question, but simply stating it as a question can elicit defensive or hostile reactions.
Supporters of Israel find the question itself offensive because they see Israel as a democratic nation
with a right to their own land and freedoms. So, why wouldn’t the US support them? Supporters
of Palestine find the question offensive too, because they see Israel’s current policies
as oppressive and an endangerment to both Palestinians and their land. So, why would
the US support them? Objectively, both questions are valid, and we can’t know exactly why
US leadership holds their stance on Israel, but we can explain how the US began sending billions
of dollars in aid annually to Israel, and why that policy still stands. First off, the US didn’t always support
Israel. They sent some humanitarian aid right after World War Two, but that wasn’t seen
as preferential treatment, nor was it particularly uncommon. This is important to note, because
in the aftermath of World War Two, clear alliances weren’t yet established, and the
US wanted to be perceived by the Middle East as fair and impartial. A strategy that was working…until
the generally anti-western Arab Nationalist Movement gained momentum, and the USSR started
courting Arab nations. This was during the Cold War, a time period in which the USSR
and the US were actively competing for ideological influence over almost every region on Earth.
To remain relevant in the Middle East, the US set out to establish closer ties with Israel,
because Israel was already a democracy with strong anti-communist leanings. The US wanted to
establish Israel as a bulwark against communist influence and a partner for their intelligence
and military operations. As such, it was in the United State’s best interest to make Israel
as strong and stable as possible. Since then, the threat has changed but not
the arrangement. The US still supports a strong and stable Israel, but the country is no longer
a bulwark against the spread of communism. It is now seen as a bulwark against the spread of
Muslim Extremist Ideals, like those shared by Al Qaeda and ISIS. Which Israel does do, but
that is still not the reason for continued attention to Israel. The real reason is popular support. Initially, foreign aid to Israel was seen
as anti-communist, a hugely popular idea among Americans. Now foreign aid to Israel is largely
seen as protection for Israel from hostile neighbors and the Muslim world in general.
After 9/11, around 55% of all Americans supported Israel, whereas only 15% supported Palestine,
a trend that continues. According to a recent gallup poll, 62% of Americans supported Israel
in their recent conflict with Palestine, while only 18% supported Palestine. Anti-muslim sentiment
did flare in the US after 9/11 and is potentially on the rise again due to the current war with
ISIS. It is likely that some of that support comes out of fear and a poor understanding of the Muslim
world. This is the political climate that makes it convenient for Politicians to support Israel.
But even that isn’t the whole story. The United States government is slow to change,
and significantly influenced by the religious right. A movement that tends to stand staunchly
behind the status quo and is more sympathetic to Israel than the public at large. So even
if popular support did shift closer to Palestine, inertia alone could keep the US allied with Israel
for some time. If you’d like to learn more about the middle
east and what is happening there please check out our video on Syria and the emerging refugee
crises it is causing in the area. (sound up). New videos five days a week please subscribe.