Does America Support Israel?
March 24, 2019
an array of recent controversies have developed from members of Congress around
the US’ support of Israel, the fact is America is and was always pro-Israel.
This is built on the foundation of early American leaders who understood
the significance of Israel based on common Judeo-Christian values and solid
course, when the American founding fathers supported Israel, it was not based on
the existence of a modern state. They understood that Israel, ie: Jewish
people, and the Land of Israel, were inseparably linked. Long before there was
ever an Israel-Arab conflict, and when Moslem Ottomans controlled the Land of
Israel, the US’s founding fathers aspired to bless Israel and to restore
Jewish sovereignty there.
is legendary that minutes after Israel declared independence in 1948, US
President Harry Truman was the first to recognize the Jewish state. Since
then, America has been solidly pro-Israel. However, according to Ilka
Kreimendahl in "Peacemaker USA: The Role of the United States in the
Arab-Israeli Conflict in the 1990s," long before Truman, America’s
support of Israel was unambiguous. In fact, he notes, the "first
pro-Zionist declaration that was ever made by an American president" came
from President John Adams.
years ago this month, Adams wrote to a leader of the American Jewish community,
Mordecai Noah: “I could find it in my heart to wish that you had been at the
head of a hundred thousand Israelites indeed as well disciplined as a French
army –marching with them into Judea & making a conquest of that country
& restoring your nation to the dominion of it. For I really wish the Jews
again in Judea an independent nation.”
was born in 1735, in a Puritan home. The Puritans saw parallels between
themselves breaking away from England and the Jews' exodus from Egypt, wandering
into the vast and unknown wilderness and reaching the promised land. The
Bible was their guide, and their playbook. They adopted biblical customs and
even gave their children Hebrew names.
a fledgling democracy, Adams and other early American leaders saw parallels
between the civil values they held and which they set as the standard for the
United States, and values codified in the Bible.
admiration of the Jews and what they gave to the world was deep-seated. In 1808
he wrote. "They are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this
Earth. The Romans and their Empire were but a Bauble in comparison of the Jews.
They have given religion to three quarters of the Globe and have influenced the
affairs of Mankind more, and more happily, than any other Nation ancient or
American support for Israel was not limited to Adams. Abraham Lincoln who
personally dreamt of visiting Israel wrote that he hoped the oppression of Jews
could be relieved by “restoring the [Jews] to their national home in
Palestine…a noble dream and one shared by many Americans.”
subsequent generations before Israel’s establishment as a state, similar
bipartisan support was echoed by presidents as diverse as Teddy Roosevelt,
Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover.
the end of the 19th century, evangelist William Blackstone submitted a petition
to President Benjamin Harrison to establish a Jewish state. This was signed by
some of the most prominent Americans, including the chief justice of the Supreme
Court, future president William McKinley and John D. Rockefeller.
before the establishment of the modern State of Israel, Israel was firmly part
of US foreign policy. Despite recent anti-Semitic aberrations to this wide
support over two centuries, support for Israel remains strong both among
political and religious leaders as well as Americans overall. A recent
Gallup survey demonstrated this with 69% of Americans having a favorable opinion
remains constant over decades. By the time World War II ended, both houses of
Congress called for a Jewish state, and both the Democratic and Republican
parties had pro-Zionist platforms. Polls then showed Americans supporting a
Jewish state two-to-one.
support for Israel remains wide, largely bi-partisan, and dynamic. This
week, nearly 20,000 will gather in Washington as part of AIPAC’s annual policy
conference. AIPAC is one of the largest and most consistently pro-Israel
organizations in the US. It mistakenly and pejoratively is sometimes referred to
as the “Jewish lobby.” Yet American support for Israel is not limited
to Jewish Americans. Indeed, far outnumbering American Jews are millions of
American Christians and others for whom support of Israel is a biblical
obligation based on the imperative of Genesis 12:3 where God promises he will
“Bless those that bless you.”
this, at the same time as AIPAC is taking place in Washington, another no less
significant gathering will take place on the opposite coast with thousands of
pro-Israel Christians gathering for the National Religious Broadcasters
convention. This is not a pro-Israel group the same way that AIPAC is, by
definition. However, the NRB attendees are no less so.
decades after its miraculous rebirth and prospering against all odds, there are
many more reasons why America supports Israel. Despite all the challenges to its
existence, Israel remains the only thriving democracy in the Middle East,
ensconcing and protecting the rights of all its citizens uniquely.
protects the rights of all regardless of gender, religion, or ethnicity, and
guards and protects holy sites for all religions. Christians know that
Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christians can worship openly
and freely. This is especially significant considering widespread persecution
and even murder of Christians in Moslem countries.
US and Israel have a common interest militarily. As the outpost of western
democracy in the Middle East, this partnership has served well to keep
encroaching ideologies of Communism and Islamic extremism in check. Americans
also know that not only has the US not ever had to send troops to Israel’s
defense, but Israel’s military innovations have served US interests well.
Through joint military cooperation, the US has also benefitted from Israel’s
use of American military hardware in combat. This makes the US stronger as
the armies have close and collaborative relationships.
military interests underscore the fact that America and Israel have common
enemies. This is obvious today with Iran leading the world's Islamic extremists
that threaten both Israel and the US. Yet, it’s not uniquely recent. It was
the same for Mordecai Noah, to whom President Adams wrote in 1819, who served as
an American diplomat in northern Africa where he rescued Americans enslaved by
with a Christian friend about why Americans support Israel, he replied “My
reasons are quite simple. It comes down to one verse. I will bless those who
bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of
the earth shall be blessed. (Genesis 12:3) Simply, God loves His chosen people,
and so do we.”
history of American support for Israel makes Zionism, the movement to restore
the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, as American as baseball and apple pie.