Josef Federman reports, “The bitter divisions in the United States are being felt across the world in the Middle East, where Israel is emerging as an increasingly partisan issue in the Trump era. A new opinion poll released Tuesday showed U.S. Republicans to be far more supportive of Israel than their Democratic counterparts. It also found Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of President Donald Trump, to be a divisive figure. The findings by the Pew Research Center could be a cause for concern for Israel, which has traditionally relied on broad bipartisan support in America.”
This divide has occurred over the last decade when the Republican party decided to make Israel a partisan issue. In discussions I had with then Congressman Henry Waxman while he was still in office, he told me that had tried, without success, to persuade the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives to not use Israel for partisan purposes.
The difficulty was compounded when Prime Minister Netanyahu violated protocol and accepted an invitation to address Congress on the Nuclear Agreement without the courtesy of informing the President of the United States. President Trump has deepened the rift with his friendship with the extreme right wing of the Republican party and the evangelical movement in America.
This is a dangerous trend. Israel has always been supported by both Democrats and Republicans and it should continue to be so supported. This does not mean, however, that we need to agree on policy – only that we agree not to diminish the pro-Israel bona fides of the other party with which we may or may not agree.