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Israelis Rally Around Bibi

David Pollock of Foreign Policy writes:

A reliable new poll of Israeli public opinion shows that attitudes on the Gaza blockade are heavily hawkish — in diametric opposition not only to most international reactions, but also much of the Israeli media’s own commentary. This finding is the first detailed measurement of Israeli views following the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) violent boarding of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara, which resulted in the deaths of nine people. The poll surveyed Israeli Jewish opinion and was conducted by telephone interviews on June 7 by Pechter Middle East Polls, a young, Princeton, N.J.-based survey research and analysis firm working with pollsters throughout the region.

In the aftermath of the recent ship-boarding incident, three-quarters of Jewish Israelis say Israel should not open the Gaza Strip to international aid shipments. Narrower, yet still solid, majorities also say Israel should not accept an international investigation, nor adjust its tactics to win favorable international consideration.

Yes, the media in Israeli is every bit as leftist and out of touch as the U.S. media. And yes, after their experience with the “international community,” Israelis have rightly come to view the UN and similar groups as hostile to their security and their country’s survival.

Pollack says that “more surprising” — was the above surprising? — Bibi’s approval rating has “climbed into positive territory: 53 percent of respondents were satisfied with his performance, while 40 percent were dissatisfied. By contrast, 71 percent voiced dissatisfaction with U.S. President Barack Obama, and a clear majority, 63 percent, are also dissatisfied with the overall U.S. reaction to the Gaza flotilla controversy so far.” And could it really be surprising that Israelis are “even more inclined to hawkish solutions when it comes to future attempts to breach the Gaza blockade”?

None of this should come as a shock. Only a neophyte — or a narcissist — would believe that by savaging the Jewish state, increasing the sense that America will not stand with the Jewish state, snubbing its prime minister, and threatening the nation that endured the Goldstone Report with another international kangaroo court  could he induce the Israeli people to side with an American president over their own government. It’s something political hacks and bullies — from Chicago, maybe — would come up with, not anyone who knows Israel, its internal politics, and the Middle East more generally.


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