U.S. Public Opinion is Changing Dramatically on Apartheid Israel, but Elected Officials Haven’t Received the Memo
The Israel lobby in the U.S. must be panicking. A few days ago, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal accurately described Israel as a “racist state,” and the lobby impulsively pushed Congress to pass an unusual statement, with the usual automatic majority, saying Israel “is not a racist or apartheid state.”
After 75 years of its regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid against Indigenous Palestinians, Israel today needs a declaration from U.S. electeds to certify that it is not racist? This denial actually reinforces the fact.
But why have Israel’s anti-Palestinian pressure groups felt the urge to pass such a self-defeating proclamation? There must be more than just one brave Congresswoman saying the truth about Israel.
A recent poll by the University of Maryland and IPSOS revealed that if the “two-state solution” proves impossible to reach, 73% of the U.S. public would support “a single democratic state” with equal rights for Jews and Palestinians.
In other words, three out of every four in the U.S. support democracy and equality for all, “even if that meant Israel would no longer be a politically Jewish state.” The U.S. public is realizing that Israel is an apartheid state, a “Jewish supremacy.”
Yet, with the exception of a handful of progressive Democrats, U.S. politicians remain dogmatically loyal to Israel’s regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid, funding and arming its military violence against Palestinians to the tune of $3.8B a year and shielding it from accountability worldwide.
Millions worldwide view the U.S. electoral system as institutionalized, legalized corruption. In no other issue is this more valid than in the unquestioning, criminal support for Israel’s regime of oppression no matter what it does to Indigenous Palestinians.
Whose interests are those elected officials really serving? Are they accountable to their constituencies so much less than they’re beholden to political lobby groups (military, fossil fuels, apartheid Israel, big pharma, etc.) bankrolling their campaigns? Is lobbying a sanitized name for acceptable and normalized bribery and corruption?
Among the most ardent anti-Palestinian Zionist apologists for Israeli apartheid in the U.S. mainstream media, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times once admitted the “growing tendency by many American lawmakers to do whatever the Israel lobby asks them to do.” When in 2011 Congress looked like a yo-yo, giving countless standing ovations to Israeli PM Netanyahu despite his open hostility to U.S. President Obama, Friedman described those ovations as “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”
But the dramatic change in U.S. public opinion over the last decade promises to change all that, if strategically channeled. According to an April 2023 poll by the Brookings Institute, 44% of Democrats (excluding the “I don’t know” answers) described Israel as a “state with segregation similar to apartheid.” A 2021 survey showed that 25% of all Jewish Americans believe Israel is “an apartheid state.”
The 2023 poll also shows that 41% of Democrats (excluding the “I don’t know” answers) support #BDS! Making elected officials support ending military funding to apartheid Israel is therefore not “dreamy.” It is attainable if we build enough people power.