Who says Americans have a love affair with Israel?
A new study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs offers some insights:
“Contrary to the long-standing, official U.S. position, fewer than half of Americans show a readiness to defend Israel even against an unprovoked attack by a neighbor. Asked whether they would favor using U.S. troops in the event that Israel were attacked by a neighbor, only 47 percent say they would favor doing so, while 50 percent say they would oppose it …This question was also asked with a slightly different wording in surveys from 1990 to 2004 (if Arab forces invaded Israel). In none of these surveys was there majority support for an implicitly unilateral use of U.S. troops.”
Americans “also appear to be very wary of being dragged into a conflict prompted by an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. In this survey, conducted in June 2010, a clear majority of Americans (56%) say that if Israel were to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, Iran were to retaliate against Israel, and the two were to go to war, the United States should not bring its military forces into the war on the side of Israel and against Iran”
“While Americans have strongly negative feelings toward the Palestinian Authority … a strong majority of Americans (66%) prefer to ‘not take either side’ in the conflict.”
“There is some tangible worry regarding the direction of relations with Israel. Although 44 per-cent say that relations with Israel are “staying about the same,” a very high 38 percent think relations are ‘worsening,’ and only 12 percent think they are ‘improving’.”
“Americans are not in favor of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, a major sticking point in the conflict, with 62 percent saying Israel ‘should not build’ these settlements.”
As John Mearsheimer writes: “The bottom line is that the lobby is largely responsible for America’s special relationship with Israel, which is harmful to both countries.”