I’d never seen a poll on conditioning military aid until Sanders began speaking about it. But this spring, the University of Maryland discovered that 57% of Democrats support “economic sanctions” or “something harsher” in response to settlement growth. A Center for American Progress poll released this month shows that 71% of Democrats — and 56% of Americans overall — believe Washington “should not provide unrestricted financial and military assistance” to Israel.
By exposing the popularity of restrictions on American aid, Sanders has pressured his rivals to move in his direction. He’s allowed Warren and Buttigieg — who have been vaguer and more cautious in their embrace of aid restrictions — to look like relative moderates while taking positions that are still radical compared to Obama’s or Clinton’s. And he’s begun a discussion, still in its infancy, that will lead more mainstream journalists to investigate how American military aid to Israel actually works.
What they find will likely shift opinion even further. When Americans learn that Israel — uniquely among recipients of U.S. aid — can spend roughly 25% of the money it gets on Israeli weapons rather those those made in America, thus subsidizing an arms industry that competes with our own, even some Trump supporters will cry foul.