Israel: A significant shift in U.S. public opinion…? And what if the answer is “Yes”?

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A recent public opinion poll asked Americans which of two options they would favour if a two-state solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict was no longer on the table. (It is in the rhetoric of leaders and diplomats but not in reality). The two options were:

“The continuation of Israel’s Jewish majority (presumably this assumes permanent Israeli occupation of the West Bank and continuing ethnic cleansing of it by stealth) even if it means that Palestinians will not have citizenship and full rights.”

“One democratic state for all in which Jews and Arabs would be equal.”

Only 24 percent supported the continuation of things as they are.

According to the poll, 65 percent of those asked for their opinion preferred the one state option.

What explains this?

Is it that an apparent majority of Americans are at last understanding and supporting the need and rights of the Palestinians for justice, or is it something else – an indication that while they are not much concerned about the rights of the Palestinians, an apparent majority of Americans are fed up with an Israel they rightly perceive to be the obstacle to peace?

While I was thinking about my own answer to this question I read a magnificent piece by Gideon Levy in Ha’aretz with the headline AIPAC the Kremlin of U.S. Jewry. In this article Gideon, who along with Amira Hass is the conscience of Israeli journalism, explained, very convincingly, why AIPAC is in reality “anti-Israel”.

Here, slightly shortened and with my emphasis added, is what he wrote.


It’s the biggest convention of Israel-haters, attended yearly by some 15,000 representatives, and the damage, historically speaking, that it has done to Israel is perhaps graver than any done by Iran. The convention is held once a year, and time seems to stop. It’s always the same wheeler-dealers, the same kitsch (trash), the same hollow applause, and the same standing ovation for every Israeli prime minister, no matter his policy. The world turns round and round, but this never changes. Even Israel changes, but not in their eyes. Here Israel is worthy only of applause, blind and automatic applause, now and forever.

Like at similar conventions held in Romania by Nicolae Ceausescu, all they do is praise the great leader. Welcome to Bucharest in Washington, to the Kremlin of American Jewry, behold the yearly AIPAC conference. Only here can Netanyahu use his old tricks and gimmicks and be met with a full auditorium on its feet.

Behind Netanyahu sat a young American woman who rose to cheer him when everyone else did. I said to myself, Why exactly did she get up and cheer? For the ongoing occupation? For the undermining of Israeli democracy? For the ever prevalent racism in Israel?

“I’m pro-Israel, I’m AIPAC,” says the organization’s slogan. Pro-Israel? The organization’s critics claim that it sometimes acts against U.S. interests; that it also acts against Israeli interests.

Bravo, AIPAC. Seek out the conservative right among American Jewry. But long ago, Israel should have said, “No, thanks.” Not every show of loud and pushy, even crazed support is a display of friendship. Sometimes caring and friendship mean criticism. But that is not in AIPAC’s playbook.

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