First, the reassuring news: Americans’ pro-Israel sentiments remain near an all-time high, according to Pew’s latest numbers, and CNN measures public support for Israel’s recent actions against Hamas at a robust (57/43). Gallup’s latest nationwide survey, however, shows a much closer split on the righteousness of Israel’s defensive military campaign — although only a fractional minority is willing to defend Hamas’ terror campaign:
According to Gallup’s internals, self-identifying Republicans are the primary reason Israel’s actions attract plurality support in this poll. GOP-leaners back Israel’s actions by a whopping 44-point margin; the numbers turn upside-down among independents (-10), and especially Democrats (-16). The cohorts least likely to label Israel’s attacks against Hamas as “justified” are young people (-26), non-whites (-24), women (-11), and people with a high school education or less (-11) — namely, the Democratic coalition. On a not-unrelated note, Americans who are under-informed about the issue tend to break heavily against Israel, whereas those who say they’re following developments at least “somewhat closely” back our democratic ally:
I’d ask what it would take for the “not justified” crowd to shift in Israel’s favor on this question, but the answers are depressingly obvious: Accurate information and/or more dead Israelis. Those are the primary antidotes to the biased and lazy mainstream media’s false equivalencies and context-free body count obsession. If Israel were less adept at protecting its innocents, and if Hamas actually tried to spare its civilians instead of intentionally putting them in harm’s way, low-information Americans might be spared the various monuments to “moral lunacy,” erected by people like Jon Stewart:
Mr. Stewart asserted that both sides–Israel and Hamas–are engaging in aerial bombardment. But because Israel is more effective at prosecuting the war, and because more Palestinians than Israelis are dying, Israel is the more guilty party. It’s framed as an example of moral equivalence, but with Israel more morally culpable because of the “asymmetric” nature of the conflict. This is moral lunacy. You would never know from watching Stewart that Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state (and says so in its charter); that Hamas started the war; that Hamas wants to escalate the war; that Hamas has refused repeated ceasefires; and that Hamas is using innocent Palestinians as human shields by, for example, using hospitals and schools for military purposes. You would never know, in other words, that Hamas has a vested interest in more dead Palestinians, precisely in the hopes that people like Jon Stewart will make Israel out to be the more malicious of the two combatants. And when Stewart ridicules Israel for warning Palestinians to evacuate before the IDF strikes military targets in Gaza–”Evacuate to where!?”–he is displaying (at best) an embarrassing ignorance. Israel actually drops leaflets with maps indicating where residents of Gaza can go–specific sites–where they’ll be unharmed. So Israel is instructing Gazans to leave dangerous combat zones. And what about Hamas? It’s urging Gazans to stay. Why? In order for them to be killed.
Exit question: Might the polling data described above induce some self-reflection among strongly pro-Israel Democrats? (Gosh, many of the people upon whom my party relies most heavily to win elections are either frighteningly ignorant, or have highly suspect moral compasses, on this critically important issue. Perhaps I am voting for, and donating to, the incorrect party!) Establishment Democrats — who dominate their party’s apparatus — are quite strong on Israel, thankfully. The party’s present and future base? Not so much.