The bitter truth about the US-Israel relationship

Remarks by President Obama in Arrival Ceremony, 19 March 2013:

I want to begin right now, by answering a question that is sometimes asked about our relationship — why? Why does the United States stand so strongly, so firmly with the State of Israel? And the answer is simple. We stand together because we share a common story — patriots determined “to be a free people in our land,” pioneers who forged a nation, heroes who sacrificed to preserve our freedom, and immigrants from every corner of the world who renew constantly our diverse societies.

John Quincy Adams, Oration at Plymouth, 22 December 1802:

There are, indeed, moralists who have questioned the right of the Europeans to intrude upon the possessions of the aboriginals in any case, and under any limitations whatsoever. But have they maturely considered the whole subject? The Indian right of possession itself stands, with regard to the greater part of the country, upon a questionable foundation. […] Shall he forbid the wilderness to blossom like a rose? Shall he forbid the oaks of the forest to fall before the axe of industry, and to rise again, transformed into the habitations of ease and elegance? Shall he doom an immense region of the globe to perpetual desolation, and to hear the howlings of the tiger and the wolf silence forever the voice of human gladness?

Shimon Peres, 1970:

The country [Palestine] was mostly an empty desert, with only a few islands of Arab settlements; and Israel’s cultivable land today was indeed redeemed from swamp and wilderness.

Gallup, 15 March 2013:

As President Barack Obama prepares to visit Israel, the Palestinian West Bank, and Jordan next week — his first trip to the region as president — Americans’ sympathies lean heavily toward the Israelis over the Palestinians, 64% vs. 12%. Americans’ partiality for Israel has consistently exceeded 60% since 2010; however, today’s 64% ties the highest Gallup has recorded in a quarter century, last seen in 1991 during the Gulf War.

Too often the US’ close relationship is attributed to the ambiguously defined “Israel Lobby.” While there is something to be said about the strong-arm tactics of groups such as AIPAC in getting massive amounts of US tax payer money sent to Israel, the fact of the matter is that the American population overwhelmingly sympathizes with the settler state of Israel while heaping endless disdain and loathing upon the indigenous Palestinian population. The reason for this is simple: Americans relate to the Israelis more than they ever could with the Palestinians. Israel and the US were both founded as settler states which displaced their respective native populations. Therefore, Israelis are represented as honorary members of the civilized world while Palestinians are proclaimed to be savages.

In this context it becomes clear that AIPAC would not succeed in getting much financial, military and diplomatic backing for Israel without the widespread support it enjoys among the American people. Members of Congress may be greatly concerned with obtaining campaign contributions and gifts from lobbyists, but they are not as insulated from the demands of their constituents as many on the left have asserted.