A dispassionate examination of Israeli policy and its negative impact on the US at the Wilson Center by 5 former ambassadors is summarized at the Holy Land Peace Project blog. Josh argues that there is a significant change in what can be said publicly with regard to criticism of Israeli government actions. Some major points made by the ambassadors:
‘# Continued Israeli settlement building (not just expansion but building) is a major obstacle to the peace process and undermines the U.S. role as a mediator in the region.
# Petraeus was absolutely right: American security interests are threatened by the lack of progress on Israeli-Palestinian peace.
# The Obama administration has rightfully placed great focus on peacemaking, appointing George Mitchell on his first full day in office and reaching out to the Arab world with his Cairo speech. However, after 15 months the administration has not really laid out a clear U.S. policy on Israeli-Palestinian peace and this is hampering his efforts.’
But the supposed ban on saying these things was always a project of a small number of far-rightwing but very wealthy Jewish-American organizations such as the Zionist Organization of America and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.
More American Jews want a Palestinian state than do not want one according to a just-released survey of American Jewish opinion by the American Jewish Congress (48% to 45%). Admittedly, 67% of the general American public supports a Palestinian state, but that nearly half of American Jews do, as well, shows that this issue is controversial only because a few far rightwing fringe elements are supported by a small number of extremely wealthy Christian Zionists and Wall Street types. By the numbers, I am solidly in the mainstream of both general American and US Jewish attitudes on this issue. It is the Daniel Pipes, Martin Kramers, Marty Peretzes, and John Hagees who are the extremists.
Some 64% of American Jews are also in favor of dismantling ‘some’ settlements on the West Bank to get peace, and nearly one in ten want all settlements disbanded. Among Americans in general, only 49% say Israel should be required to stop building settlements as part of a peace deal. It isn’t exactly the same question, but it may be that Jewish Americans are more flexible on this issue than are American gentiles, and they are certainly more flexible than are Republican Christians.
One big danger signal for supporters of Israel: The percentage of Americans who were sure that Israel is an ally of the US has fallen in Rasmussen’s polling from 70% last August to 58% in March. Since the far rightwing Likud government in Israel is clearly not interested in cooperating with the current US Middle East policy, and this attitude is obvious in their churlish behavior toward Joe Biden and US congressmen, it is no wonder that doubts are creeping in.