Americans self-identifying as Republicans place Israel’s interests ahead of America’s and feel more sympathetic to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than to President Barack Obama, a new poll finds.
Republicans by a ratio of more than 2-to-1 say the US should support Israel even when its policies are in contrast with US interests, according to the Bloomberg poll.
Self-identified Democrats, by about the same ratio, say the opposite is true and that the US must pursue its own interests over Israel’s, further illustrating how sharply partisan the debate has become.
On the question of whether to support Israel’s interests even when they differ from America’s, Republicans say yes by 67 percent to 30 percent, while 64 percent of Democrats say the US must pursue its own interests over Israel’s.
Republicans also say they feel more sympathetic to Netanyahu than to their own president, 67 percent to 16 percent, while Democrats are more sympathetic to Obama than to Netanyahu, 76 percent to 9 percent.
On the issue of Iran’s nuclear energy program, the poll found that Democrats, by a nearly 3-to-1 ratio, said they were more optimistic than pessimistic that a nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries will be reached.
After decades of general bipartisan consensus over Israel, the Zionist regime has now become a deeply partisan issue for ordinary Americans as well as for politicians in Washington, a major shift that may represent a turning point in foreign policy and carry implications for domestic politics.
On March 3, Netanyahu addressed a joint session of the Republican-dominated Congress, where he ranted for nearly 40 minutes against the talks between Iran and P5+1, warning Washington that it was negotiating a “bad deal” with the Islamic Republic.
The invitation to Netanyahu was extended by Republicans without consultation with the White House, drawing angry reaction from the Obama administration, which called it a breach of protocol.