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Many Americans, including Jewish individuals, are reportedly protesting against the Israeli government's operation in Gaza. They cite harsh and inhumane conditions as reasons for their protest.

As a foreigner, I therefore struggle to comprehend the rationale behind Biden's support for Israel. I thought he should've taken a more "balanced" approach, since his decisions in favor of Israel upset protesters and Muslim Americans, making it more difficult for him in the upcoming election.

Does Biden's support for Israel align with popular opinion in the US? Do opinion polls show that most people support Israel?

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    TBH there's probably not a lot that's specific to Biden politics.stackexchange.com/questions/39271/… I'm holding off VTC this for now though, in case someone manages to come up with something more specific. Nov 16, 2023 at 7:33
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    On your last point there is poll here npr.org/2023/11/15/1212913674/… Nov 16, 2023 at 7:45
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    I've attempted to salvage the question by focusing on your underlying concern, i.e. whether Biden's support for Israel aligns with public opinion.
    – F1Krazy
    Nov 16, 2023 at 9:54
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    There's almost certainly a big difference between opinions about Israel and opinions about the Israeli government. The government has shifted significantly towards the right recently (e.g. the changes to judicial power, and the severity of the reaction to the Hamas attack). Israeli citizens are not overwhelmingly in favor of these policies.
    – Barmar
    Nov 16, 2023 at 22:27
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    @Barmar But is there not a fundamental problem with "Zionism"? The idea of a state based around an ethno-religion is odd in today's international world. There is an added difficulty in that the Jewish population of Israel is almost universally urbane and European in origin, which gives it more than just the appearance of a colonial power. Paradoxically the land was given to the Jews by Balfour in 1917, at the same time the British Army was enaged with Arab tribes in freeing the land from the Turks. What remains has never worked, does not now work and it is hard to see how it will ever work.
    – WS2
    Nov 17, 2023 at 10:21

3 Answers 3

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In general support for Israel went up after Oct 7

When presented a series of options for American involvement in the conflict between the Israelis and Hamas in Gaza, more Americans (41%) say the U.S. should support Israel’s position than any other option. Republicans (54%) are more likely to say this than Democrats (37%).

That support has cooled somewhat in a more recent version of that same poll, but general support for Israel still runs decently high

Most (57%) view Israel favorably, a [seven] point drop from October (64%). A majority from both political parties view Israel favorably, but Republicans (71%) are more likely to do so than Democrats (57%).

Where support has dropped the most is within the Democratic Party itself. A different survey showed support for Democrats at 61% (adding "Too Little" and "About Right") in October. Less than a month later, that number was 38%.

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    These results don't make sense — the results for the total population should be somewhere in between the results for Republicans and Democrats (unless, I guess, a significant part which doesn't view Israel favorably also doesn't choose a party) Nov 16, 2023 at 15:48
  • @CommandMaster If everyone was Dem or Rep that would be difficult but it includes some who don't support either party. And its figures for support for Ukraine are similarly skewed. From the small print "The sample ... includes 415 Democrats, 375 Republicans, and 132 independents." And btw "The poll also has a credibility interval of plus or minus 5.9 percentage points for Democrats, plus or minus 6.2 percentage points for Republicans, and plus or minus 10.4 percentage points for independents."
    – Stuart F
    Nov 16, 2023 at 17:02
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One can imagine members of Congress, esp the House, have their ears close to the ground (i.e. pay a lot of attention) as to what their constituents want:

House passes resolution condemning Hamas attacks on Israel

Driving the news: The resolution received overwhelming bipartisan support, passing by a vote of 412-10.

Just nine Democrats voted against the measure: Reps. Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.), André Carson (Ind.), Al Green (Texas), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Summer Lee (Pa.), Delia Ramirez (Ill.) and Ilham Omar (Minn.). Another half dozen Democrats, including Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), voted "present," while Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) voted against the measure.

Note that this is Oct 25th, quite a bit into the air strike campaign.

And while I am not going to expend the energy to confirm all of them, I recognize enough of those to think that most of the No voters are in very safe Democrat districts, where as a comment already noted, progressive voters are going to... what, vote for Trump (who would likely not be an improvement for Palestinians, on past record)???

And, again going by the list of Nays, this would totally be "Oh, Biden is in cahoots with THE RADICAL LEFT!!!" for Republican attack ads.

There are many reasons for America's support for Israel. But the Q's consideration of electoral calculations point precisely in the opposite direction of that cited in its premises:

Electorally, it pays to be for Israel, not against it.

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Question:

Does Biden's support for Israel align with popular opinion in the US?

Answer:

Strictly on popular support no, not before the October attack when those favoring support for Israel in the US was about 40%. And not more recently when a poll found those favoring support for Israel had dropped to 31%. But its minority support has never been the most influential thing determining U.S. support for Israel. Long term this is an issue which could effect U.S. support for Israel, or not. Short term it has not been relevant in any national election where support for Israel is still the rule in Congress, Senate, and Executive for both parties.

US support for Israel is declining amid ongoing war in Gaza: Survey

In the U.S. , it's not about popular support. In order to be politically influential you need a significant group of voters who support or oppose one position strongly enough that it alone is highly influential on their vote. That Israel has enjoyed for decades on the Right and Left in both parties, and Israeli critics have not had in either party since the 50's or 60's, certainly many decades.

I'm thinking here of President Eisenhower.

Israel has historically and currently enjoyed strong support from Democrats and Republicans for entirely different reasons. The United States and Israel have long been sophisticated players in each others politics. Republican support has been more inline with the current Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has been P.M off and on for the last 30 years. This has for a number of reasons begun to make Israeli governments under P.M. Netanyahu more supportive of Republican candidates politically and increasingly more dependent upon them for some of their more controversial policies. This is a trend playing out independent and long before the recent Gaza troubles. Long term this is an issue which could dramatically effect U.S. support for Israel, or not. Short term it has not been relevant in any election where support for Israel still the rule in Congress, Senate, and Executive for both parties.

Hamas fighters attacked Israel on Oct 7, 2023 given as reference.

The president’s blank-check support of Israel’s war on Gaza is alienating many of the Black and brown voters he needs to win reelection.

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