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Lots of political commentators speculate that Israel will eventually lose foreign support for the war in Gaza or that such support has already been lost. But are there any objective metrics beyond pundit comments that would confirm whether this is actually true or not?

So far Israel is still getting plenty of weapons from the US and no Western nation has sanctioned them due to the war, so I’m confused as to whether the loss of support is real or just sheer speculation at this point.

Update: I'm interested in a Realpolitik answer focused on military aid supplies, enacted economic sanctions and other form of practical changes to Israeli support that go beyond empty talk on TV.

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    How do you propose to quantify this? This is loading a camel. It's fine until the last straw breaks its back. if that never happens, no problem. if it does, big problem. if the US eventually gets to a point where it doesn't veto something, bad. If one of the Arab countries with diplomatic ties breaks them, also bad. But we won't know until/if it happens, so this is purely speculative. Jan 6 at 19:37
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica I somewhat suspect that the “loss of support” is just empty talk and the camel is just fine. But I don’t know how to measure it. Jan 6 at 19:41
  • What is wrong with the way that the article measures support for Israel in America, by Opinion Poll?
    – James K
    Jan 6 at 20:41
  • You could count the material support if you would know it. But quantifying political support or goodwill is only possible on a rough scale. Say how many important people have spoken in support for example. Jan 6 at 21:51
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    Voting not to close - As my answer highlights, it can be objectively measured.
    – sfxedit
    Jan 7 at 9:08

2 Answers 2

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Yes, it can be objectively measured. Here's 2 ways to do so that came to my mind:

  1. Diplomatic relations

    Ten countries have already suspended / broken off diplomatic relations with Israel. These include Belize, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Bolvia, South Africa, Chad, Turkey, Jordan and Bahrain (Ref. 1). Breaking off diplomatic relations with a country is not something that is lightly done.

    (It may be easy to dismiss these countries as being minor or "irrelevant" in the global order, but it is also important to remember that Israel at one time was glad for support from such small countries that were willing to recognize it in the UN. And who would have thought that an impoverished country like North Korea would today be helping Russia by supplying some arms when it needs it?).

    In the UN too, we have seen the UN General Secratary invoking a rarely used power in favour of the Palestinians, against Israel's protest:

    U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres used a rarely exercised power to warn the Security Council on Wednesday of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza and urged its members to demand an immediate humanitarian cease-fire. (Ref. 2)

    The resolution received overwhelming support from most countries around the world:

    Tuesday’s resolution passed with 153 countries voting in favour, 23 abstaining and 10 countries voting against, including Israel and the United States. While the resolution is non-binding, it serves as an indicator of global opinion. (Ref. 3)

    This has even embarassed ally USA, and Biden was forced to publicly reprimand Israel:

    In remarks on Tuesday, however, Biden sharpened his criticism of the US ally, saying that Israel was losing international support due to “indiscriminate bombing” in Gaza. (Ref. 3)

  2. Public protests against Israel

    Pro-palestine protests have been witnessed around the world. These protests are also an indication of the loss of support for Israel's stand. This can have an indirect affect on diplomatic relations as democratic government cannot ignore such protests. We can already see the affect of this with Israel's closest ally, the United States, with the Biden administration attempt to restraint (or pretending to) Israel's military. Part of this is because the US is experiencing a never before seen huge increase in pro-Palestine protests:

    The CCC’s data can also help in comparing this wave of protests to historic ones. “We’re fairly confident at this point that this year’s pro-Palestine wave is the largest and broadest pro-Palestine mobilization in U.S. history,” Ulfelder said ... The wave in 2021, “which seemed unusually large at the time, involved only several hundred events in total and faded fairly quickly,” Ulfelder said. “In 2023, we’ve already seen over 2,100 events, and we’re at eight weeks and counting.” (Ref. 4)

In the short-term, thanks to the support of the US, Israel hasn't been substantially hurt in losing the goodwill of the international community. However, as UN resolutions after UN resolutions against Israel have shown, in the long-term ignoring such loss of goodwill has always backfired on it.

References:

  1. Which countries have withdrawn diplomats over Israel's actions in Gaza

  2. UN chief uses rare power to warn Security Council of impending ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ in Gaza

  3. UN General Assembly votes overwhelmingly in favour of Gaza ceasefire

  4. Harvard Kennedy School researchers on how to report pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian protests accurately

  5. Update on Israel/Palestine Protests

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One objective measure of support would be the number of social media posts in support of Israel or Palestine.

I saw one article that claimed that on this measure, the support of Palestine far outweighed that of Israel. So one can say that public opinion is behind Palestine. But we already saw this with the huge outpouring of support with the massive marches throughout the world.

It's only elite opinion that is still supporting Israel. And that only in US, Germany, France & UK.

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    Cool but did the support on social media go down since the beginning? If it started at 60/40 in favor of Palestine and it's still 60/40 today, then it doesn't matter for Israel. Jan 8 at 3:45
  • @JonathanReez: I don't know what you are talking about. It seems hermetic. Can you explain more clearly? The support for Palestine is a magnitude higher. Jan 8 at 4:35
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    Please add a reference to the article you mention.
    – JJJ
    Jan 8 at 4:57

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