Israel has a powerful network of support from states like the US to Christian Evangelical groups across the globe.

Since the very beginning of Israel’s establishment, it has been persistently backed by the US, which has long allowed the Zionist state to act with impunity against Palestinians - actions that could amount to war crimes

"Israel has the right to defend itself,” said US President Joe Biden, a Democrat, on Wednesday, justifying the country’s air strikes on civilian targets in Gaza. Biden also called Israel’s hardliner Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to convey "his unwavering support for Israel's security.” 

But it’s no surprise to Palestinians, who have never been told by any US presidents - whether Democrats or Republicans - that they have the right to defend themselves against Israeli aggression. 

In January, Biden reactivated US aid to the Palestinian Authority, giving an impression that he seeks more of a fair deal for Palestinians. Some analysts also thought that Biden would “completely drop the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan”, the ‘deal of the century’, which was heavily weighted towards Israel against Palestinians.

But when tensions erupted in the Holy Land after Israeli expulsions of Palestinian families from the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, Biden chose to sing the same old song of America’s unwavering support.    

Lobbying

In 2007, two prominent American professors, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, wrote an explosive book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, in which they argued that Washington’s support of Israel could be explained by “the unmatched power of the Israel Lobby.” 

“Were it not for the Lobby’s ability to manipulate the American political system, the relationship between Israel and the United States would be far less intimate than it is today,” the professors said in the book, which was immediately accused by pro-Israel groups of anti-Semitism.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is seen on large video screens as he addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, March 20, 2016.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is seen on large video screens as he addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, March 20, 2016. (Cliff Owen / AP Archive)

American professors described the lobby as a "loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to steer U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction", having no real “boundaries” for the task at hand. “The core of the Lobby is made up of American Jews who make a significant effort in their daily lives to bend U.S. foreign policy so that it advances Israel’s interests,” the book noted. 

“Maintaining U.S. support for Israel’s policies against the Palestinians is a core goal of the Lobby, but its ambitions do not stop there. It also wants America to help Israel remain the dominant regional power,” the professors wrote. 

Christian Evangelicals

Israel has also been backed by Christian Evangelicals, one of the largest American voting blocs, whose history goes back to the colonial history of North America. The first arrivals to the eastern coast under the British rule back in the 17th century were Puritan pilgrims who believed that the new continent could be their promised land, the New Jerusalem. 

As a result, from the old Puritans to the modern Evangelical groups, many American Christian groups have seen strong connections between the emergence of the US and the founding of Israel. Current Evangelical groups overwhelmingly support Israel. 

Seeing the ideological connections, the Jewish Lobby has also assembled Evangelical support for Israel. “The Lobby also includes prominent Christian evangelicals like Gary Bauer, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed, and Pat Robertson, as well as Dick Armey and Tom DeLay, former majority leaders in the House of Representatives,” Walt and Mearsheimer wrote in their book. 

In this photo taken Sept. 29, 2015, an Evangelical Christian holds Israeli flags during a gathering in Jerusalem.
In this photo taken Sept. 29, 2015, an Evangelical Christian holds Israeli flags during a gathering in Jerusalem. (Dan Balilty / AP Archive)

“They believe Israel’s rebirth is part of Biblical prophecy, support its expansionist agenda, and think pressuring Israel is contrary to God’s will,” the professors added. 

American Evangelical support to Israel is not limited to the US. Evangelical groups in Australia, Brazil, Guatemala and other countries also strongly support Israel. 

International silence

While the EU has been critical of Israeli policies regarding illegal settlements and recent expulsion attempts on Palestinian homeowners in Jerusalem, most Western capitals have remained on good terms.

The UN and other international bodies have been mostly critical of Israel’s illegal actions against Palestinians but their acts are limited to occasional condemnations, paying lip service to Palestinian grievances. Further international action against Israel has been constantly blocked by Washington and its allies. 

While Israel enjoys powerful political backing, the Palestinians do not have many powerful allies. Turkey and Iran (as of the 1979 revolution), two powerful Middle Eastern states, have been strong supporters of Palestinian rights and aspirations. But both countries have no direct borders with either Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories. 

Under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s support to Palestinians has considerably increased as the Turkish leader has not wavered in condemning Israeli actions across any platforms whether it be national or international, sending humanitarian aid and other support to occupied territories. 

Since 1979, Tehran has also backed Palestinian groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, supplying the resistance groups with rockets and other military equipment. 

But a wavering and divided Arab world has usually been little good for the Palestinian cause. They are united in condemning Israel - at least before the Abraham Accords - but they have offered little more. Even a united Arab front has failed in the battlefields against Israel since the 1967 War, contributing to Palestinian losses across the Holy Land. 

Source: TRT World