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Israel’s Overwhelming Favorability Among Americans

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Israel’s Favorability Among Americans

By:Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”, May 13, 2021,

According to the annual February 2021 Gallup’s country favorability rating, Israel is the 7th most favorable country among Americans, enjoying a 75% very/mostly favorability rating.

Israel’s favorability of 75% – compared to 66% in 2013, 69% in 2019 and 74% in 2020 – is above its 65% average since 2001, and just shy of its exceptional 79% favorability recorded during the 1991 Gulf War, when the US public was exposed to Iraqi missiles hitting Israel.

According to Gallup, “In the latest poll, 85% of Republicans view it favorably, compared with 77% of independents and 64% of Democrats.”

Iran (13%) and the Palestinian Authority (30%) trail Cuba (45%), and are among the least favorable countries, along with North Korea (11%), China (20%), Iraq (21%), Afghanistan (21%) and Russia (22%).

Israel trails Canada (92% favorability), Great Britain (91%), France (87%), Japan (84%), Germany (84%) and India (77%).

However, unlike these countries, Israel’s 75% favorability is in defiance of systematic criticism (of Israel) by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other key members of the US media establishment, as well as by State Department spokespersons and the United Nations.

Israel’s high favorability rating occurs despite the spike in anti-Israel activities on US campuses, as well as the recent erosion of Israel’s stature on Capitol Hill (especially on the House side), which has been Israel’s consistent ally since 1948.

For example, the incoming chairwomen of the two most critical House Appropriations Subcommittees on Defense (funding US-Israel defense cooperation projects) and Foreign Operations (funding foreign aid and multinational cooperation projects) are two of the most anti-Israel legislators, Congresswoman Betty McCullum (D-MN) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) respectively. Both have repeatedly ignored Palestinian hate-education, the 70-year-old Palestinian inter-Arab terrorism (e.g., the murder of Jordan’s King Abdullah in 1951) and the 100-year-old anti-Jewish terrorism (e.g., the 1920 and 1929 pogroms), and the systematic association of the Palestinians with rivals and enemies of the US (e.g., Nazi Germany, the USSR, North Korea and Iran’s Ayatollahs). They have urged the Administration to precondition foreign aid to Israel upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians.

Moreover, the incoming chairman of the Senate Full Appropriations Committee is the very powerful Senator (“Cardinal”) Pat Leahy (D-VT), an habitual, moderate critic of Israel.

Furthermore, the Democratic Congressional Progressive Caucus is chaired by the radical anti-Israel Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and its whip is the vehemently anti-Israel Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN). The Caucus consists of 90 House Members – among them Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the chairwoman of the Full Appropriations Committee and Adam Smith (D-WA), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee – compared to 68 in 2012 and 96 Members in 2018.

Still, consistent with the worldview of most Americans, 331 House Members signed an April 22, 2021 letter to the chairwoman and lead Republican of the Full Appropriations Committee, urging a fully-funded foreign aid package to Israel.  The letter was sponsored by Congressman Ted Deutsch (D-FL), the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Middle East Subcommittee, and Congressman Mike McCaul (R-FL), the lead Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The letter reads: “We urge you to support foreign assistance funding, including full funding for Israel’s security needs…. Our aid to Israel is vital and cost-effective expenditure, which advances important US national security interests in a highly challenging region. For decades, presidents of both parties have understood the strategic importance of providing Israel with security assistance.  As America’s closest Mideast ally, Israel regularly provides the US with unique intelligence information and advanced defensive weapons systems.  Israel is also actively engaged in supporting security partners like Jordan and Egypt, and its recent normalization agreements with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco will help promote regional stability and deal with common challenges from Iran and its terrorist proxies…. Just as foreign assistance is an investment in advancing our values and furthering our global interests, security aid to Israel is a specific investment in the peace and prosperity of the entire Middle East.”

On February 4, 2021, the Senate reaffirmed the intrinsic identification, by most Americans, with Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital, when voting 97:3 in favor of an amendment to the COVID-19 budget resolution, which underscored the intention to keep the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

The amendment was introduced by Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and was opposed by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tom Carper (D-Del). In 1995 and 2017, the Senate voted 93:5 and 90:0 to place the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

Intel’s CEO, Pat Gelsinger, reflects the overall appreciation of Israel, by most constituents and legislators, as a uniquely effective, reliable, democratic and innovative force-multiplier, benefitting the US, militarily and commercially: “I have been visiting Israel for 40 years and every time it excites me anew to see how Intel Israel has grown from 4 employees in 1974 to more than 14,000 today. I see in Intel Israel a microcosm of Intel worldwide, leading in innovation, research, development and production on an extensive scale, and we are investing accordingly. Our continued investment in expanding our existing research and development centers and enlarging production capacity in Israel, as well as the acquisitions we have conducted with (Israel’s) Mobileye, which leads the world in solutions to assist autonomous driving, (Israel’s) Moovit and (Israel’s) Habana Labs, which leads the world in Artificial Intelligence, promise an exciting future for Intel and Israel for decades to come.”

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