Sunday, July 27, 2014

It Seems Only America Holds Support for Israel While the Whole World Frowns

Two brothers on Wednesday grieving their father, killed in shelling in Gaza. Polls find Israel is losing backing in many countries, though Americans are supportive. Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times        
As Israel’s incursion into Gaza enters its third week and Palestinian civilian deaths mount, reaction in the United States has been muted, with polls through last weekend showing most Americans still supportive — in part, analysts say, because of the failures of the Arab Spring to spread democracy in the Middle East. But in a situation long familiar, Israel is losing the public relations war outside the United States.

On Wednesday, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to authorize a commission of inquiry into alleged war crimes in Gaza. (The United States was the sole “no” vote.) The United Nations’ top human rights official raised what she called the “strong possibility” that Israel and Hamas have committed war crimes with indiscriminate attacks on civilians, and the drumbeat from world leaders and demonstrators pointed to the lopsided number of Palestinian casualties — more than 650, most of them civilians — versus 35 on the Israeli side, 32 of them soldiers.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey donned Palestinian garb and denounced Israel as “cruel” for its attacks on Gaza. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations are continuing in Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Amsterdam and other European cities, some of them assuming an anti-Semitic tinge. An anonymous cartoon of President Obama shielding Israel from world criticism as it stomped on Gaza was making the rounds on social media networks.
The uproar abroad is in sharp contrast to the far more subdued reaction in the United States. A CNN/ORC International poll found that a majority of Americans — 57 percent — believe that Israel’s military actions in Gaza are justified, with only four in 10 saying that Israel has used too much force. The poll, conducted Friday through Sunday, echoed a similar one conducted earlier during the latest conflict — July 8 to 14 — in which the Pew Research Center found that 51 percent of Americans sympathized with Israel, compared with 14 percent who sympathized with the Palestinians.
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