Wednesday, March 18, 2015


I agree with Scott Lemieux: I don't really believe what Jonathan Chait says here.
In the long run, a deep American alliance with the kind of garrison state Netanyahu envisions will become untenable. The only remaining diplomatic strategy will be to deepen Israel’s ties with right-wing America, whose support for Israel is not contingent upon it fulfilling its liberal, democratic ideals.
First of all, I think Netanyahu believes that "right-wing America" will be indistinguishable from the U.S. government in a couple of years. In the interim, I assume Republicans are going to work on turning support for a two-state solution into a radical, beyond-the-pale, outside-the-Overton-window idea in America, never mind the fact that it was an idea endorsed by the last Republican president. I think the default position for Republican presidential candidates and Republicans in Congress will be opposition to the idea of Palestinian statehood. That will put pressure on Hillary Clinton to fall in line.

Chait thinks that, "in the long run," Netanyahuism "will become untenable." Why? Because of foreign pressure on Israel? When has America ever responded to that? Because U.S. public opinion will evolve with regard to Israel? Sure, in decades -- maybe. A Pew poll conducted last summer did show an age split on attitudes about blame in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. But the split was between very young people and everyone else:
While all age groups north of 30 years old clearly blame Hamas more than Israel for the current violence, young adults buck the trend in a big way. Among 18 to 29-year olds, 29 percent blame Israel more for the current wave of violence, while 21 percent blame Hamas.
In the Pew poll, people 65 and older blamed Hamas rather than Israel by a decisive 53%-15% margin; for 50-to-64-year-olds, the pro-Israel margin was 47%-14%; for 30-to-49-year-olds, it was 37%-20%. There were similar results in a Gallup poll taken at the same time.

But in a Gallup poll on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict taken last month, there wasn't even a significant age gap in respondent preferences. The one significant finding was that older people are becoming even more pro-Israel:

The use of the phrase "apartheid state" to refer to Israel encourages some people to think the endgame will inevitably be like South Africa's -- ever-increasing isolation followed by change. But the Holocaust and anti-Semitic forces in the contemporary world mean that many Americans will never reject Israel's policies the way America eventually rejected South Africa's. So Netanyahu's vision is tenable, alas.


bgn said...

Also--I'm not sure that American public opinion in general decides anything in politics these days. The public opinion that guides politics these days is that of the regular news-and-politics consumers, especially on Fox, which skew notoriously old (and wealthy).

Yastreblyansky said...

It wasn't US opinion that made apartheid in South Africa untenable. What international sanctions did was to make the end of white rule earlier and far less violent than it might have been, a good thing. But white rule couldn't last forever because the majority couldn't live with it.

Apartheid in Israel is doomed for the same reason. There will very soon be an Arab majority west of the Jordan and they will not be able to live in an apartheid state forever. The question is whether it will end nicely and relatively soon or horribly and further down the line. Today's election result makes the latter more likely.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Bibi's is the only way ahead for Israel if that country wants to survive as a Jewish state in Palestine.

Chronic hate and irridentism among the Palestinian Arabs make creation of an independent Palestinian state encompassing the West Bank and Gaza a security absurdity.

Better to have next door neighbors who are at peace with you (Jordan, Egypt, and Syria if ISIS fails) while you constantly endure terrorism and guerrilla attacks than to have a state right on your border dominated by those same guerrillas and terrorists.

As elsewhere in the region and unless Israel is overrun, peace will come to Palestine when the Muslims knock it off.

Don't hold your breath.

Philo Vaihinger said...

As to that Arab majority west of the Jordan, what's a little more ethnic cleaning to a country built on ethnic cleansing that cannot survive without it?

Victor said...

Bibi and Likud scared enough of the electorate, to continue to hold onto power.

Out Reich-Wingers have 1 1/2 years to drum-up some bullshit fears to scare the crap out of our electorate here.

Cotton and Cruz have already started.

And, while Cruz is screaming that "The World is On Fire" - he's sort of right.
But for the wrong reason.

The world is actually steaming.

mlbxxxxxx said...

Personally, never liked the two state solution. Ds should push for one state with pluralistic democracy. Don't think we should give any but humanitarian aid to countries w/o pluralistic democracy.

Ken_L said...

Netanyahu should read up on the history of Taiwan, and reflect on it a little. Maybe commune with the spirit of Chiang Kai-Shek. Americans won't remain ready to go to war indefinitely, for the sake of a tinpot little country which at the end of the day does nothing for the USA except whine that it's not getting as much attention as such a special child ought to be getting.