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In my understanding, generally, right-wing politicians are hard on immigration and foreign people in general. This typically goes well with anti-semitism, too. (See Nazis / Neo-Nazis). At least in the US, this also goes along with evangelical beliefs seemingly.

But, how is it, that generally, in the US, right-wing politicians are pro Israel, at least traditionally?

Note: President Trump may have brought somewhat of a twist here, but I am talking not about persons here, but the right wing in general. This might exclude some ultra-right wing. Feel free to address this in your answer.

Note also: I am coming from a central european background, so my understanding of US politics may affected by this.

  • Lots of comments deleted. Please don't use comments for political discussions. For more information on what comments should and should not be used for, please check the help article on the commenting privilege. – Philipp Feb 14 at 16:08
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    This question is pretty much a mirror image of politics.stackexchange.com/questions/6163/… – Andrew Grimm Feb 14 at 20:58
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    @user4012 I (as a conservative) actually strongly disagree with your edit. You've invalidated a large portion of what I considered to be a pretty good response to the perceived association of fascism and antisemitism to the right. I would rather let that perception be manifest (in a fairly polite form) and then challenged than censor it. I also didn't find it particularly insulting as it was worded. Aren't we, as right wingers who oppose the "over offended" culture, supposed to have a thicker skin? ;) – jpmc26 Feb 16 at 2:16
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    @jpmc26 - I'm mostly annoyed at the fact that if anything similar was posted and the sides were reversed, it'd be heavily edited at best (by moderators or users), downvoted to hell, and flamed on Meta. My edit is more to bring balance to the Force, than an abstract desire to censor (see deleted answers here and here). Feel free to roll back. – user4012 Feb 16 at 12:08
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  1. Americans on the Right tend to be Evangelical Christians. As Jerusalem is holy to Christians (as well as being central to several Christian prophecies), there is a decently broad base of Christians who support Israel. This is evidenced by the demographic that tends to tour Israel

    At the moment, with security worries since the last Gaza war eased, the industry is booming. A record breaking 3.6 million people visited Israel in 2017, up 25 per cent from 2016 and the first time the number of visitors has ever exceeded the three million mark, according to tourism minister Yariv Levin.

    Of those tourists, almost 800,000 were American, and a growing proportion of those are evangelical Christians. The year before last, the most recent for which figures are available, put the figure at 13 per cent.

  2. While the US military is broad in its political views, the Right tends to view self defense as important. Thus many Right military members support Israel's right to defend itself

    Yet while Israel is hardly perfect, its response to the Great Return March is necessary and prudent. Under no circumstances can it allow Hamas to breach its border fence. Nor can it hold its foreign policy (including the location of foreign embassies) hostage to threats of Palestinian terror or Palestinian riots. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and it will be the capital of Israel in any peace settlement. The only way Jerusalem will not be the Israeli capital is that Israel ceases to exist.

What's probably confusing about this is that once you move out of a more centrist Right, and into the Alt Right or Far Right, religious views tends to diminish, and thus anti-Semitism can grow there (remember, Jesus Christ was a Jew). It's in these areas you find such fringes as Neo Nazis, skinheads and other hate groups.

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    I think this post does not answer the question. In Israel and Jerusalem there is a conflict between Jews and Muslims. Within Israel, 80% of Christians are Arabs/Palestinians. Jerusalem is holy to Christians, yes, but why would American Christian prefer Jewish control to Muslim control over Jerusalem? This essential point is not addressed in this post. The second point can also be reasoned both ways. (Note to mods: I consider that my comment addresses the content of the post and does not attempt a political discussion) – gerrit Feb 14 at 16:23
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    If anything, I think you may be underselling the influence of prophecy in this answer. Many Christians (Evangelicals in particular, but not exclusively) see the continued existence of Israel (and the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem) as pivotal to their religion. These politicians aren't pro-Israel; they are pro-prophecy. Those interests just happen to align right now. Good answer, but I'd emphasize the prophecy aspect more. – Michael W. Feb 14 at 17:19
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    @gerrit "why would American Christian prefer Jewish control to Muslim control over Jerusalem?" Because Judaism has a far lesser tendency to be hostile to Christianity than Islam does, just for starters... – Mason Wheeler Feb 14 at 17:53
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    @Obie2.0 If by "current" you mean "for the last 1000+ years," then yes. – Mason Wheeler Feb 14 at 19:25
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    @MasonWheeler - Nooooo. There wasn't any primarily Jewish state before about 70 years ago, so a proper comparison is difficult, but the attitude of many Jews toward the Christian authorities who were visiting pogroms and segregation on them was not terribly positive. By contrast, except during the Crusades and other wars, Muslims didn't really have much to make them feel negatively toward Christians in those periods. – Obie 2.0 Feb 14 at 19:56
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You perceive an inconsistency because your definitions are inaccurate.

TL;DR The American right wing is not fascist or anti-Semitic, and it supports Israel because Israel is a democracy, a long-time military and political ally, and pro-Israel lobbies have a powerful influence in U.S. politics.

Keep in mind that the American definition of right-wing is different from European definitions, and that American right-wing is a very broad term which includes conservatism.

The fascist, socialist and communist political movements were all left wing, with their roots in Marxism.

Fascism is not 'right' at all. It is a totalitarian socialist ideology, with an extreme focus on nationalism. After the horrific slaughter of WW1, the internationalist message wasn't received too well by the masses, so socialist leaders like Mussolini and Hitler mixed a nationalist message with their socialism.

Search "The Soviet Story" on YouTube for an excellent Polish documentary on the close relationship between Naziism and Communism.

In The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, Sheldon Richman succinctly states: “As an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalist veneer.”7 He contends that socialism seeks to abolish capitalism outright, while fascism gives the appearance of a market-based economy, even though it relies heavily on the central planning of all economic activities. Source

Hitler, spoken to Otto Strasser, Berlin, May 21, 1930: I am a Socialist, and a very different kind of Socialist from your rich friend, Count Reventlow. . . . What you understand by Socialism is nothing more than Marxism.

Gregor Strasser, National Socialist theologian, said: We National Socialists are enemies, deadly enemies, of the present capitalist system with its exploitation of the economically weak … and we are resolved under all circumstances to destroy this system.

F.A. Hayek in his Road to Serfdom (p. 168) said: The connection between socialism and nationalism in Germany was close from the beginning. It is significant that the most important ancestors of National Socialism—Fichte, Rodbertus, and Lassalle—are at the same time acknowledged fathers of socialism. …. From 1914 onward there arose from the ranks of Marxist socialism one teacher after another who led, not the conservatives and reactionaries, but the hard-working laborer and idealist youth into the National Socialist fold. It was only thereafter that the tide of nationalist socialism attained major importance and rapidly grew into the Hitlerian doctrine.

Von Mises in his Human Action (p. 171) said: There are two patterns for the realization of socialism. The first pattern (we may call it the Lenin or Russian pattern) . . . . the second pattern (we may call it the Hindenburg or German Pattern) nominally and seemingly preserves private ownership of the means of production and keeps the appearance of ordinary markets, prices, wages, and interest rates. There are, however, no longer entrepreneurs, but only shop managers … bound to obey unconditionally the orders issued by government.

Source

"I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the left and is now in the centre of politics." - Oswald Mosely, leader of the British Union of Fascists. Source

The American Right Wing.

Right wing is a very broad term, but here's a decent definition:

The fundamental differences between left-wing and right-wing ideologies center around the the rights of individuals vs. the power of the government. Left-wing beliefs are liberal in that they believe society is best served with an expanded role for the government. People on the right believe that the best outcome for society is achieved when individual rights and civil liberties are paramount and the role — and especially the power — of the government is minimized. Source

and another definition:

Definition of conservatism

1 capitalized a : the principles and policies of a Conservative party b : the Conservative party 2a : disposition in politics to preserve what is established b : a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change specifically : such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (such as retirement income or health-care coverage) 3 : the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change Source

The American Conservatism espouses these ideas:

First is the concept of liberty, and the necessity of protecting liberty from the abuses of state power.

Second is the rule of law. To protect the freedoms recognized by the Constitution, a fixed and certain rule of law was necessary.

And third is order and tradition. The Constitution was the culmination of nearly two thousand years of Western civilization and Western thought. Further, the Founders recognized that government was needed to provide defense, administer justice, and otherwise supply a zone of order in which people could safely go about their business.

And finally, belief in God. Both documents reflect the great reverence of the Founders and their understanding of the Bible. The Declaration of Independence opens by proclaiming that men are “endowed by their Creator” with certain rights, continues by speaking of “the laws of nature and nature’s God,” and ends with an appeal to “the Supreme Judge of the World.”

Source

As you can see, the American right wing and American conservatism are not fascist, nor are they anti-Semitic.

Fascists are called right wing or far right because leftists wanted to disassociate themselves from the atrocities of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

Yes, the Soviet Union committed atrocities. Ask any Ukrainian.

The absurd claim that fascism and Nazism are not socialist movements owes it origin, in part, to the hideous reputations those leftist ideologies and their regimes earned in the wake of World War II. How could progressives expect to thrive in America if the Holocaust and other atrocities were linked to its political relatives? Consequently, a gigantic lie was perpetrated by leftist intellectuals and slavishly spread by a sympathetic media—namely, that fascism was a movement of the “far right” and that conservatives were also on “the right.” This “Big Lie” has long been a staple of Democratic propaganda and the basis for the absurd notion that President Trump is a fascist—not his violent, GOP-assassinating, speech-suppressing, “Antifa” opponents. Source

Now that we've clarified the definitions, let's answer your question.

American "right-wing" politicians support Israel because:

  1. Israel has been a steadfast U.S. ally for around 70 years, the same way Syria and Iran have been Russian allies for decades.

  2. Israel is a functioning legitimate democracy in the Middle East, surrounded by dictatorships and monarchies.

  3. AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobbies in the United States exert a powerful influence on U.S. politicians in both the right and left wings (like a well-supported answer mentioned above).

  4. Many millions of Americans who can be generally described as 'right wing' are acquainted with Christianity and Judaism, and Christian and Jewish scripture clearly states that Judea and Samaria (in current day Israel) are the homeland of the Jewish people, so they would reasonably support Israel's right to exist. Right wing politicians would support this because their voters probably do. There are also millions of left-wing Americans acquainted with Christianity and Judaism who consider Israel to be the ancient homeland of the Jewish people, but you're asking about right wing politicians.

  5. The American right wing is neither fascist nor anti-Semitic. They just get called those names constantly by their political opponents. Neo-Nazis aren't conservative or even right wing. They're not even left wing. They're pretty much authoritarian statists with a focus on racial identity more than anything else. Even the so-called 'alt-right' is statist and authoritarian.

About the Trump Situation:

Trump is more center right than right wing, and he has supported left wing policies on occasion. Trump even donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Clinton Foundation before he became a politician. Source That's why Ted Cruz and others accused Trump of not being conservative during the 2016 presidential election. Trump also uses skillful rhetoric to keep his numerous political opponents off balance, so it is difficult to discern his stance on the issues from his public statements.

Also, there is A LOT happening behind the scenes in American politics right now. That's why the media, the Repbulicans and the Democrats are all against Trump. Trump and a few Republican politicians are overturning a lot of applecarts that belong to very powerful people, and they are quite angry with him.

Source Source

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    Re Keep in mind that the American definition of right-wing is different from European definitions, and that American right-wing is a very broad term which includes conservatism. European right-wing does include conservatism. If there is a transatlantic difference in the meaning of 'right-wing', you have not highlighted it. – Evargalo Feb 15 at 22:39
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    The parts about how the US Right is not the same as the European Right is spot on. (There's a reason the full on antisemites and white supremacists coined the term "alt right" for their movement.) The problem I have with this answer are the repeated claims that fascism was not considered right wing and changed to be such. The right wing was a term originally used for monarchists and thus its extremes are fully authoritarian, while the left wing was classically the revolutionaries, and thus its extreme is anarchy. – trlkly Feb 16 at 7:19
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    Why are you bringing up fascism? Also I'm giving you a downvote for claiming that Mussolini and Hitler were socialists. Can't believe people upvoted this answer. – dan-klasson Feb 16 at 7:32
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    This answer is objectively bad. More than half this answer is off-topic, defending fascism and nazis (and contradicts established scholarship. Wikipedia says fascism is "far-right;" the IEP article on totalitarianism and established scholars Paxton and Sternhell all note the far-right foundations of fascism). Dinesh D'Souza is a far-right conspiracy theorist. Mediabiasfactcheck notes that gulagbound is a conspiracy-pseudoscience website. Removing off-topic text and addressing these points would substantially improve this answer. (edit: tyops) – BurnsBA Feb 18 at 17:13
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    Even supposing this answer was factually correct (which it isn't), it is heavily biased and inferior to other answers. Basically at the point you view a right wing individual as moderate that is a red flag that you are much further right wing than that individual, and that your political views are clouding your ability to be unbiased. The several sources you cite are questionable at best. And finally the first 75% of the answer is not an answer, but rather an effort to distance the modern american right from it's historical relative of fascism. – tox123 Mar 8 at 4:23
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To what extent are they?

The notion that the Republican Party is pro-Israel is only partly correct.

Support for Israel has come from both Democratic and Republican politicians. Barack Obama, despite being opposed to Israeli oppression in Palestine, notably said that "Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel." Major donor Haim Saban, who describes himself as a "single-issue" voter on the matter of Israel (and not in the sense of disliking it), has primarily donated to Democratic candidates.

Looking at anti-Semitism, we see a similar pattern, suggesting that the Republican party is not as pro-Jewish as some might be assuming. A Quinnipiac University poll of anti-Semitism found that Republicans were notably less likely to say that it was an issue. Since anti-Semitism is more common among certain far-left groups than the mainstream, it's possible that these results could shift, but it's impossible to say for sure. In any case, at the current time the Republican Party seemingly expresses lower levels of concern for anti-Semitism.

Going further abroad to test the general principle, a survey of anti-Semitism found that Labour supporters were less likely than Conservatives or Liberal Democrats to endorse anti-Semitic statements, as did another survey asking party members whether "Jews' loyalty to Israel made them less British." I believe there was a survey of anti-Semitic incidents that ranked Conservatives below Labour, but Labour below UKIP, but I have not been able to find it.

All of this suggests that the initial impression of the questioner, that the higher level of overall prejudice among Republicans would lend itself to being against Jews as well, isn't totally incorrect.

Nonetheless, it's certainly true that Republicans have been more likely to pursue policies in line with those of Israel's government, such as Donald Trump's support of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, or Marco Rubio's opposition to the BDS movement, which extended to supporting a bill meant to make it illegal for companies to support them. So, what's going on here?

Religious beliefs

Evangelical voters have a strong influence in the Republican Party. They represent a quarter of the US population, and are likely a higher percentage of Republicans. Among these evangelical voters, certain groups believe that they have a theological duty to support Israel. As the hugely influential Jerry Falwell said:

To stand against Israel is to stand against God. We believe that. I love the Jew because God loves the Jew. As a follower of God, I am under obligation to love as he loves. My life is committed to a number of priorities, and one of them is to promote, protect, and stand alongside the Jewish people. History and Scripture prove that God deals with nations in relation to how they deal with Israel. My deep conviction is that America will not remain a free nation unless we defend the freedom of Israel. We must proclaim this from our church pulpits as ministers, as well as in our daily lives as private citizens with a Christian obligation to the Jewish people.

Jerry Falwell, The Fundamentalist Phenomenon

Often, this is because they believe that God will return the Jews to Israel before the foretold events of Revelation, as with Pastor John Hagee, who said of the Jewish return to Israel.

God says in Jeremiah 16 — "Behold I will bring them the Jewish people again unto their land that I gave unto their fathers" — that would be Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - "Behold I will send for many fishers and after will I send for many hunters. And they the hunters shall hunt them" — that will be the Jews — "from every mountain and from every hill and from out of the holes of the rocks." If that doesn't describe what Hitler did in the Holocaust — you can't see that. So think about this — I will send fishers and I will send hunters. A fisher is someone who entices you with a bait. How many of you know who Theodore Herzl was? How many of you don't have a clue who he was? Woo, sweet God! Theodore Herzl is the father of Zionism. He was a Jew that at the turn of the 19th century said, "this land is our land, God wants us to live there". So he went to the Jews of Europe and said, "I want you to come and join me in the land of Israel". So few went, Herzl went into depression. Those who came founded Israel; those who did not went through the hell of the Holocaust. Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter. And the Bible says — Jeremiah righty? — "they shall hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and out of the holes of the rocks", meaning: there's no place to hide. And that will be offensive to some people. Well, dear heart, be offended: I didn't write it. Jeremiah wrote it. It was the truth and it is the truth. How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said, "my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel". Today Israel is back in the land and they are at Ezekiel 37 and 8. They are physically alive but they're not spiritually alive. Now how is God going to cause the Jewish people to come spiritually alive and say, "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He is God"?

This theology is not pro-Jewish as such, since it comes from a very Christian-centered viewpoint and sometimes espouses anti-Semitic ideas, but it does insist on the centrality of Jewish return to Israel.

Some of these, such as that very John Hagee, were definitely influential on the process.

Netanyahu is betting Israel’s future on people such as Pastor John Hagee of Christians United for Israel, featured at the ceremony for Trump’s opening of the Jerusalem embassy. Hagee once said “Hitler was a hunter” sent by God to drive Jews to Israel. Pro-Israel apocalypse-minded Christians see Israel as a precursor to the second coming, when Jews must convert or go to hell.

Further, although most of the Jews in Congress are Democrats, there are conservative Jews among the Republicans in Congress. Jewish people as a whole are more likely to support Israel than non-Jewish people, particularly conservative Jews, so their opinions could have some influence as well.

Biases

Bias against Jews is widespread in the United States. But so is bias against Arabs and Muslims, and at the moment, many more-mainstream conservatives see Muslims as the greater threat (among much of the far right, on the other hand, Jews are simply supposed to be behind Muslim immigration, thus seamlessly retaining them as the main foe). As mentioned below, Israel is perceived as opposing Arab and Muslim countries in the region. Republicans are more likely to express anti-Muslim views, with Trump voters even more likely to hold such beliefs, such as believing that refugees from the Middle East post a threat.

As such, the Republican Party may be somewhat motivated by its anti-Muslim and anti-Arab segment to support Israel as a bulwark against Arab states, as well as to not care too much about its actions toward Palestinians.

Further, more subtle preferences may come into play. Israel's government and culture are more similar to those of the United States than those of Saudi Arabia or Iran. Frequently, defenders of Israel's policies point out that it's the only democracy in the Middle East. The positive aspects of Israel's political system and society have a who section in AIPACs minibook pamphlets. And of course, ethnocentricity is a human universal: people are going to be more sympathetic, on average, to a country whose cultural they identify with more.

Besides, going back to the Evangelical Christian segment of the Republican Party, they've often called themselves Judeo-Christian, which probably increases the perception among their base that Jews (and, by their reasoning, Israel's government) should be supported.

Economic interests

Republicans were, until the election of Trump at least, the party more in favor of free trade. They've also often been more willing to put economic interests ahead of social ones (rightly or wrongly). Even after Trump's election, the priorities of the people currently in Congress have not necessarily changed much.

While Israel is not the largest trading partner of the United States, they nonetheless are pretty far up on the list, at number 24. The vast majority of the countries above it also are pretty high on the "nice list" of the United States, save perhaps for Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia, which despite receiving extensive US support also attracts criticism for its political system and human rights record. As such, Republicans, with their general liking for free trade and great consideration of economic factors, might be less willing to lose a major trading partner by taking a stand against their treatment of Palestinians as harsh as, for instance, was recently taken against Maduro (namely, oil sanctions that will hurt the US economy).

Foreign policy

Israel's government is opposed to the government of Iran, and various other Arab governments in the region that have been unsympathetic to US political and military interests in the region. This has been consistent across administrations, with the particular focus on Iran likely owing something to its status as a regional power, potential nuclear capabilities, and frequent inveighing against Israel.

Republicans in the US tend to be foreign policy hawks, save some more isolationist adherents to a more libertarian philosophy. As such, they're more likely to believe in aggressively opposing perceived US enemies, and Israel is seen as a natural ally there.


A note about Trump:

Trump has personally made statements that some have seen as anti-Semitic, such as saying that a primarily Jewish audience wanted to buy politicians. However, more than his own biases, what drives Trump are the people around him in whom he has confidence. He's surrounded by orthodox Republicans, and he mostly pursues their policy priorities. Further, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is an observant Jew who has a strong interest in Israel's politics, and has engaged in a lot of work relating to them. As such, his opinions might be a strong influence on those of Trump. The end result is that Trump comes out supporting policies that are in line with those of Israel's current administration, whatever his personal beliefs.

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    Lots of comments deleted. Please don't use comments for political discussions. For more information on what comments should and should not be used for, please check the help article on the commenting privilege. – Philipp Feb 14 at 16:19
  • "they've often called themselves Judeo-Christian, which probably increases the perception among their base that Jews (and, by their reasoning, Israel's government) should be supported" I was disappointed about how little importance and attention this was given and suggest as an improvement that the history between religions be expanded. Christians were not originally called Christians. There was no distinction; original "Christians" were Jews. There were Jews who believed Jesus was the messiah they were waiting for, and there were those who did not, the former later to be called Christians. – Aaron Feb 15 at 18:50
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    @Aaron - That's true, but how relevant is that to modern times? Christians were frequently perfectly happy to view Jews as "other" during the Medieval period and beyond. The various Abrahamic religions aren't one big happy family. – Obie 2.0 Feb 15 at 18:51
  • ... in fact, the original Christians, those described in the bible, held on to their Jewish identity, and after they opened up the church to the gentiles some of the Jews took pride in their Jewish bloodline, thinking that made them better followers of Jesus. However, the Christian bible suggests that all Christians are Jews, that you are not a Jew if you are one by birth but rather that you are a Jew if you are one by heart. – Aaron Feb 15 at 18:56
  • @Obie2.0 It is very relevant to modern times, even if many people have forgotten it. Especially since many people are trying to get back to their roots. It flavors what we have now, since what we have now is because of what came before. And no, you are right, they are very much not one big happy family, and the hate-mongers and bigots of the Medieval ages only add to the history. That is yet another aspect (of many) of why Christians and Muslims are at odds, which adds more fuel to the fire for them supporting Israel. – Aaron Feb 15 at 19:00
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Political support for Israel is bi-partisan and has been for decades. There's very little daylight between Democrats and Republicans regarding Israel. There are many reasons for bi-partisan support for Israel, Ilhan Omar clumsily spoke about recently, but primarily it is due to direct and indirect financial support for people that support AIPAC's platform, or financial support and/or grooming for political opponents of politicians who do not sufficiently support AIPAC's platform.

Members of AIPAC have been pretty open about their influence and power on many occasions.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2005/07/04/real-insiders

https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=bQHXJ4JzxV4C&pg=PT221&lpg=PT221&dq=charles+percy+%E2%80%9Cincurred+AIPAC%E2%80%9Ds+wrath%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=AQdojkdymF&sig=ACfU3U1ujV7Qc71h47rg043bBjqygcJ0zA&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=charles%20percy%20%E2%80%9Cincurred%20AIPAC%E2%80%9Ds%20wrath%E2%80%9D&f=false https://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/john-mearsheimer/the-israel-lobby

https://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/14/opinion/friedman-newt-mitt-bibi-and-vladimir.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2002-04-16-0204160300-story.html

https://www.thenation.com/article/ady-barkan-aipac-ilhan-omar/

As Machavity pointed out, the Republican party is basically the party of white identity politics, Christian Evangelical fundamentalists, and private concentrated wealth. The Christian evangelical element loves Israel because they believe it is key in their end times prophecy. White identity politics constituents like Israel's unapologetic stance regarding Muslims, private concentrated wealth, particularly in defense contractors and petro chemical companies also benefit from America's current middle east foreign policy, so its no surprise that support for Israel is rising among Republicans.

The question about Democratic support for Israel is a bit more complicated than the Republicans. Bi partisan support is eroding, and the parties younger, more progressive base is less supportive of Israel than its older, more hawkish members. The party has traditionally enjoyed wide support from America's Jewish demographic, which has traditionally been more socially liberal and progressive regarding gay rights, racial equality and other liberal issues. It has also had strong cultural ties with Israel and seemingly has trouble reconciling its own liberal, progressive values, with an Israeli state that is becoming increasingly far right, and allied with the Republicans. Its party leaders have undoubtedly sought the financial support of the Israel lobby, Haim Saban "I'm a one issue guy, and that issue is Israel" was one of the Clinton's biggest donors. So as Omar so crudely put it, it really does seems to be about the Benjamins.

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    Can you fix the naked links, and ideally make it more clear which citations support which claims, and use more reliable sources than “The Israel Lobby”? – Andrew Grimm Feb 14 at 7:00
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    @Obie2.0 They do; I have upvoted both. The actual answer is quite complicated. – gerrit Feb 14 at 16:37
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    "the Republican party is basically the party of white identity politics" No, it most certainly is not. The only party they've ever had any real sway over was the Democrat party, and that was roughly 100 years ago. – jpmc26 Feb 15 at 0:58
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    @Obie2.0 I think it's more like you think most people in the world are actually like the most fringe elements you keep reading about. Or you don't differentiate between believing statistical trends as opposed to actually hating someone and wanting to oppress or otherwise harm them. Politicians are all at least a little corrupt and interested in manipulating the system to their advantage. That isn't the same thing as supporting actual racists. – jpmc26 Feb 15 at 3:01
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    @Obie2.0 - there's an enormous difference between dlsliking identity politics, and being supportive of white identity politics. The fact that people of your political persuasion can't grasp that simple truth, is the reason Trump is president. If I'm going to be called a racist for opposing affirmative action, I might as well vote for a sack of potatoes (or Trump), whose main defining characteristic compared to other Republican(1) politicians is calling out people who do such calling. (1) and yes, ironically, he's not even a real Republican history wise or views wise, as per many conservatives – user4012 Feb 15 at 17:00
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American politics as a whole is pro-Israel. This is apparent if you compare the US stance versus the rest of the world. No other country offers Israel nearly as much unconditional support as the US does. For example, Obama signed a record-breaking $38 billion military aid package to Israel. Looking at it objectively, both Democrats and Republicans are pro-Israel.

In the US popular support for Israel has come from two diametrically opposed factions of society; the small but influential Jewish-American minority, and from Evangelical Christians. The first group has traditionally been aligned with the Democratic party and the latter group with the Republican party. It is stating the obvious that Jews, in general, are more likely to be Zionists than non-Jews.

Evangelical Christian Support

The Evangelical Christian support comes from, among other things, verses in the book of Revelations. According to Elizabeth Oldmixon, a politics professor at the University of North Texas:

These are the folks who believe that there will be a millennium in the future, a golden age, where Christ reigns on Earth, [and] they believe that before Christ will return, there will be a tribulation where Christ defeats evil. There will be natural disasters and wars, and perhaps an Antichrist, as the book of Revelations notes. Then at the end of that period, the people of the Mosaic covenant, including the Jews, will convert. Then after their conversion, the great millennium starts.

A prerequisite for this to happen is the in-gathering of all the Jews in exile to the Holy Land, aka Israel/Palestine. In the words of televangelist Pat Robertson:

These facts about modern day Israel are all true. But mere political rhetoric does not account for the profound devotion to Israel that exists in the hearts of tens of millions of evangelical Christians.

You must realize that the God who spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai is our God. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are our spiritual Patriarchs. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel are our prophets. King David, a man after God's own heart, is our hero. The Holy City of Jerusalem is our spiritual capital. And the continuation of Jewish sovereignty over the Holy Land is a further bulwark to us that the God of the Bible exists and that His Word is true.

And we should clearly take note that evangelical Christians serve a Jew that we believe was the divine Messiah of Israel, spoken of by the ancient prophets, to whom He entrusted the worldwide dissemination of His message to 12 Jewish apostles.

This begs the question of why other factions of Christianity aren't equally supporitve of Israel? Neither the Eastern Orthodox, nor the Catholic or the European Protestant Church are as supportive of Israel as the American Evangelicals. In fact, in some protestant countries the church usually sides more with Palestinians than Israel.

I don't know the answer but would speculate that it is related to Old Testament (OT) versus New Testament (NT) beliefs. The Jewish people plays a central part in the OT but not so much in the NT, which is more focused on Jesus and the "good news" he brings to the whole world. One example of this schism is support for the death penalty. Some Christians support it based on verses in the OT, while others oppose it based on verses in the NT.

Anti-arab sentiment

American support for Israel used to be a bipartisan issue as seen in this graph from GALLUP:

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Why it changed in the early naughts is not hard to explain. 9/11 and the Iraq war greatly increased anti-Arab and anti-Islamic sentiment in the US. Especially Republican politicians were eager to paint Islam and terrorism as great threats

Palestinians, who are a mostly Muslim Arab people, and have used terrorism as a means to achieve political goals became one of the targets of the rhethoric. In turn, this increased support for Israel who at the time was embroiled in the Second Intifada.

Republican politicians have continued to play on anti-Arab and anti-Islamic sentiment. One recent example is Trump's "Muslim ban" to make it harder for individuals from some mostly Muslim countries to enter the US.

"All About the Benjamins" - The Israel Lobby

The theory that US politicians support Israel because they are paid of (a "Benjamin" is US slang for a $100 bill) was recently put forward in a tweet by Ilhan Omar which was criticized for being anti-Semitic. She "unequivocally apologized" for the tweet but at the same time "reaffirmed the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics" such as the "AIPAC" (American Israel Public Affairs Committee). The role of the Israel lobby in American politics have been explored by, for example Mearsheimer and Walt, who concludes:

If neither strategic nor moral arguments can account for America's support for Israel, how are we to explain it? The explanation lies in the political power of the Israel lobby. Were it not for the lobby's ability to work effectively within the American political system, the relationship between Israel and the United States would be far less intimate than it is today.

But the Israel lobby has been lobbying both parties and have been going to great lengths to avoid making Israel a partisan issue. Lobbying can therefore not explain why the Republicans today are more Israel friendly than the Democrats, unless the former group is more susceptible to lobbying than the latter.

However, in the last two decades a new phenomena in American politics have emerged which is the neoconservative movement. That has caused a drift of the Israel lobby to the right.

The Neoconservative movement

The American neoconservative movement (neo-con for short) is rooted in the backlash of the social liberation movements in the 1960s and 1970s. The movement extoll the virtues of American hegemony and of foreign intervention. It is also unabashedly pro-Israel. Stephen McGlinchey wrote on the Iraq war in 2003:

The core postulate of the neoconservative Bush foreign policy package, revolutionary democratisation, is intricately tied to Israel’s security. Israeli politicians have long stressed that they live in a ‘tough neighbourhood’ and frequently stake their claim to be the only truly democratic nation in a sea of dictatorships and corrupt regimes. Both the domestic Israel lobby and the Bush administration believed toppling Saddam Hussein would lead to a domino effect of democratisation that would simultaneously fulfil the aims of increasing Israel’s security and the wider aims of the Bush doctrine.

That is, since the Bush administration the Republican party's foreign policy have been inextricably linked to Israeli priorities. The link has also been criticized by conservative author Andrew Sullivan who wrote (cited in Wikipedia):

The closer you examine it, the clearer it is that neoconservatism, in large part, is simply about enabling the most irredentist elements in Israel and sustaining a permanent war against anyone or any country who disagrees with the Israeli right. That's the conclusion I've been forced to these last few years. And to insist that America adopt exactly the same constant-war-as-survival that Israelis have been slowly forced into ... But America is not Israel. And once that distinction is made, much of the neoconservative ideology collapses.

The neocon movement appears responsible for the (small) difference in opinion on Israel-related issues we can see in Washington today.

One prominent example is the Iran nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration. It was intensely criticized by the Republican party, the Israel Lobby and even by the State of Israel itself. In 2011, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, invited by the Republican party, held a speech in the American congress lambasting the deal and the Democratic party's policy of appeasement. In Democratic circles, the speech was seen as a grave breach of protocol and according to congresswoman Janice Schakowsky actually solidified Democratic support for the agreement.

Another example of the emerging rift came in the last days of the Obama administration in 2016 when it did not use its veto to block a UN Security Council resolution demanding a halt to Israeli settlement construction in the occupied territories. This move was again lambasted by Netanyahu and Republican President-elect Donald Trump.

Symbol politics?

This part of my answer is speculation. It seems to me that Israel has become a symbol for the right in a lot of countries. Especially for the alt-right which I think Trump is a part of. The left roots for the Palestinians, so the right has to support Israel, even if they don't care that much. It is perhaps a sign of the times with greater political divides between the left and the right which is also influencing Israel support.

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    In your last point, I think the distinction between "lobbyists and activists who support Israel" and "people working for the Israeli government" is important to make. – Obie 2.0 Feb 15 at 18:11
  • "Lobbying can therefore not explain why the Republicans today are more Israel friendly than the Democrats, unless the former group is more susceptible to lobbying than the latter." I don't agree with this. Right wing people generally do not care about oppressed people unless the cause of the oppressed fits their agenda. Which it definitely does not do in this case. That's why the Israeli lobby gives overwhelmingly more to Democrats. – dan-klasson Feb 16 at 7:14
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    OP here. I originally saw political support for Israel mostly on the Republican side, and thus have asked specifically about it. It's helpful to see, that this is not so much of a partisan issue at all, at least according to that GALLUP chart. – hitchhiker Feb 17 at 20:59
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Far and away the best indicator of far right support in the USA is the person identifying as an Evangelical Christian. The overlap isn't complete of course, but this is the one personal fact with the highest mutual correlation.

Most Evangelical Christians believe the contents of The Bible are inerrant truth, usually including the prophecies in Revelation being actual things that will happen in the future*.

Dispensationalism is known for its opinions respecting the nation of Israel during this millennial kingdom reign, in which Israel as a nation plays a major role and regains a king, a land, and an everlasting kingdom.

Since John's Revelation ends with the Second Coming of Christ, there are a lot of American Evangelicals who actually consider this a thing to encourage, and anything the US can do to set the stage is a good thing. Since this particularly includes Israel being sovereign in Jerusalem, to their mind this needs to happen.

And yes, this means they are literally hoping to help start Armageddon.

* - Most other Biblical scholars consider it as having been allegory relating to Emperor Nero.

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    Just a nit to pick, the book of Revelation doesn't end with the second coming. There's 3 chapters after that covering what happens after the second coming. – Rob K Feb 14 at 21:22
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    -1 - Christianity of any kind is very much not correlated with being "far-right" (alt-right) in a modern American context - which is very much an atheist (or 'Christianity is useful but not true') phenomenon instead. Delete the word "far" from "far right" and you'd be much nearer the mark. (Though not at it - I don't think you understand Dispensationalism at all.) – Jonathan Cast Feb 14 at 22:30
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    @JonathanCast - The answer doesn't say "Christianity of any kind". If you mean Evangelical Christianity specifically, that's just factually incorrect. The latest pew polling shows that about 70% of self-identified Evangelical Christians are Republicans. The only thing higher correlating is being a Mormon (at about 80%), but there are far fewer Mormons than Evangelical Christians. – T.E.D. Feb 14 at 23:13
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    @T.E.D. - "Republican" and "far right" are also very different things. – Jonathan Cast Feb 14 at 23:15
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    I suspect there is much truth in the first paragraph, but if it could be supported by some quotes (polls, of articles in sociology pier-reviewed publications, or at least some political analyst's article) to sustain the ...best indicator... and ...highest mutual correlation... claims, this would make the whole answer even more convincing. – Evargalo Feb 15 at 15:29
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You won't get a straight answer to this question simply by looking for reasons. But you may understand it better if you look for the causes. There is a degree of enamor with Israel that the US has as a country. The left and the right have different causes for this, but you only asked about the right. So I will only answer about the right. Looking for reasons is like looking for reasons why people fall in love and then assuming that people think through those reasons while they do fall in love. That's not what happens. Those reasons make people feel like they are on the same "wavelength", so to speak. And that's what Americans see in Israel.

An interesting question might be how it happened.

While I don't have a source to quote for you, I'll just mention a fact which I learned in college without a reference. Social sciences believe that a sense of a nation is created by 2 factors. First, it requires a foundational story. The story need not be true (eg., Romulus and Remus twins). Even if it is true, it is sometimes referred to as a foundation legend. Second, it requires a history of sacrifice of the nations' people for the cause of survival of the nation. The blood sacrifice is what gives the sense of an "earned right" to continue on.

Having established this, consider what the foundational story of the United States was.

  • It was a story of British subjects who decided to separate from the British Empire and form a democratic nation of their own with their own set of laws and an independent government.
  • They had to fight the British Empire as soon as they attempted to separate.
  • The British Empire tried to enlist the services of the native population to fight against their rebellious former subjects. They lost.
  • With time, the relationship between the United States and the British Empire normalized, but the Brits still look at the United States with a slight whiff of superiority. They do, from time to time, lecture down to Americans about how they believe Americans should behave... somewhat as older parents can find themselves talking to grown up and established children.
  • The United States became a refuge for people trying to escape the religious strifes of Europe.
  • The new nation became a nation of immigrants. The immigrants who populated it came from all over the world.
  • The antagonism between the immigrants and the native population, which started at the time of the nation's finding, continued for a long time after.
  • The United States became the dominant nation in its part of the world.

I think you know, or, at least you can guess, what I will say next. Each one of these points is also true for Israel.

As a result, the way the Americans view themselves in the world is very close to how they view Israel.

And because the right is generally conservative (almost by definition), their ties to the foundational story are stronger. Which makes their ties to Israel rooted in the America's foundational story rather than any political issue which is currently in vogue.

BTW, it may be tempting to protest that Israel didn't become a country welcoming to all religions. However, the United States didn't form with that goal, either. It was established to escape religious persecution, which was the norm in Europe at the time. And it is this refuge from the European religious prosecution which created the parallel.

  • Very interesting. There is a key difference though: in the colonies that became the USA, the newly proclaimed country had to fight the colonial empire. In Israel, the newly proclaimed nation had to fight its new neighbours, which were (and are) not happy with a nation in their midst with a different religion, culture, and geopolitics. – gerrit Feb 15 at 7:41
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    @gerrit the separation of Israel didn't start with its statehood. The statehood was declared after the UN vote to end the mandate. And the vote was held because UK essentially gave up on keeping the mandate because the British subjects living on that territory were already fighting UK to gain independence. As for the views of the surrounding nations, these were all nations created by the British Empire. "Divide and conquer" is not a new concept. – grovkin Feb 15 at 8:22
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    @gerrit I think that you will find that the newly proclaimed nation of the United States also spent a good part of its youth fighting against its neighbors, the Native American nations, who were not thrilled to have a " a nation in their midst with a different religion, culture, and geopolitics". Of course, it's not a perfect analogy for many reasons (who is 'native' and who isn't is a point of contention, for instance) but the comparison stands. – Daniel B Feb 15 at 11:03

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