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Obama would have overwhelming support from US public to allow UN establishment of Palestinian state

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The other day we did a post on Jimmy Carter’s urging to President Obama, to recognize a Palestinian state before he changes addresses next January. All signs are that Obama will do nothing, and dither about it as he does. But Shibley Telhami’s latest polling for Brookings shows that criticism of Israel has burgeoned in the United States public during the last year, particularly among Democrats; and that if President Obama were to buck Israel at the United Nations, by sanctioning Israel for settlements, or allowing the U.N. to endorse the establishment of a Palestinian state, he would have broad popular support. Obama has political “cover,” Telhami said at Brookings in announcing his findings.

Some of those findings:

–Nearly 2/3 of Americans would not oppose the creation of a Palestinian state by the United Nations.

When asked what they think the U.S. should do as a member of the UN Security Council if the UN considers a plan to endorse the establishment of a Palestinian state, 32% say that the U.S. should abstain from voting, 31% say that the U.S. should vote against endorsing the establishment of a Palestinian state, and 34% believe the U.S. should vote in favor of endorsing the establishment of a Palestinian state.

–Similar numbers would not oppose a resolution opposing settlements.

Nearly 2/3 of Americans support or do not oppose the Obama administration sponsoring a United Nations resolution to end Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank before he leaves office. A plurality of Americans (40%) either strongly or somewhat support this. Twenty-three percent of Americans neither oppose nor support and 33% either strongly or somewhat oppose this resolution.

–Democrats overwhelmingly support such action.

Sixty-five percent of Democrats either strongly or somewhat support his backing a resolution against settlements. Seventy percent of Democrats support Obama backing a UN resolution outlining the “parameters for ending” the conflict.

–Democratic attitudes re sanctions and a Palestinian state are shifting rapidly.

Compared with last year (November 2015), the percentage of Democrats who support the establishment of a Palestinian state has increased from 39% to 51%.

In November 2016, a majority of Democrats (60%) supported imposing some economic sanctions or taking more serious action compared with 49% in November 2015. And overall the number supporting sanctions has gone from 38 percent to 46 percent in the last two years.

–The numbers are highest among the young: 51 percent of Americans under 34 years old support sanctions against Israel for settlements.

–Democrats say Israel has too much influence.

55 percent of Democrats say that Israel has “too much influence” over US policy, up from 49 percent a year ago. The overall US number is 39 percent believing Israel has too much influence. Only 9 percent of Dems say Israel has too little influence. 35 percent say it’s just right.

–Democrats are ambivalent about which side the U.S. should be on.

17 percent say the Trump administration should lean toward Israel, but 11 percent say toward Palestinians. In his public appearance at Brookings, Telhami said that these numbers are rapidly closing on one another, and are surprising.

–Most Democrats believe Israel is a burden to the U.S.

Less than a quarter of Republicans agree that Israel is a burden (24%) whereas more than half of Democrats do (55%).

And by the way, US Congressman Keith Ellison is actually more conservative than the Democratic base!

That’s a key point because the Democratic Party base is becoming very critical of Israel, even as the Republican voters get stronger for Israel. Haim Saban knows that. He’s smearing Keith Ellison at the Brookings Institution as an “anti-Semite” even as Ellison is in touch with the base.

Saban is a giant donor; no wonder Tamara Cofman Wittes of Brookings has had nothing to say about this news. Neera Tanden at Center for American Progress had the same straddle to make a year ago when she kissed up to Benjamin Netanyahu at the Democratic thinktank, in the wake of his trying to upend President Obama’s Iran Deal, all so she could attract a new rightwing Zionist donor. This morning at Brookings, Haim Saban kissed up to Benjamin Netanyahu, and said he had “trashed” critical questions from gathered journalists. Maybe the Democratic Party needs to get rid of the gazillionaires.

P.S. My summaries of Telhami’s findings included phrasings by me and Brookings, so I dispensed with quotation marks.

Thanks to Annie Robbins.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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21 Responses

  1. Mooser on December 4, 2016, 4:11 pm

    As Josh Marshall says:

    “I think this is profoundly unfortunate because truly the last thing the Democratic Party needs right now is a toxic internecine fight over Israel. And equally important, we are in an era when real anti-Semitism has been rearing its head in the United States in a way it has not done in 80s.”

    Odd, the way that works.

    • JWalters on December 4, 2016, 8:16 pm

      I think what Josh meant was that increasing numbers of Americans are upset at being kept in the dark, dragged around by the nose, and plundered by a criminal, pipsqueek state with a vast mountain of accumulated money at its disposal.

      • pabelmont on December 5, 2016, 9:16 am

        JWalters: When Bernie Sanders mentioned that the USA was being “dragged around by the nose” (JWalters) by big banks, he got a very enthusiastic response: You’re right, a lot of voters said in a “poll” (actually a lot of primary elections), and we want to stop it.

        The mechanism by which the BIGs (BIG-BANKS, BIG-ZION, BIG-DEFENSE, BIG-OIL, etc, etc., etc.) lead the Establishment Democratic Party (EDP) around by the nose is the same — big money. The resentment of many Americans at the BIGs (and it seems also at the EDP, H Clinton, former cheerleader in chief) is out in the open.

        But EDP has chosen its partner/jailer.paymaster and is sticking with it. “Oligarchy yesterday, today, and forever,” cries EDP, and Obama is with it, championing TPP, resisting action on Palestine.

        Perhaps Michelle Obama has thoughts about running for office (NY Senator? President?) and Obama doesn’t want to poison her chances to run on the EDP ticket by jumping to the position preferred by Americans on Palestine. That’s how it went with the Clintons.

        Politicians choose their sponsors and hug them tightly in a seemingly paralytic death-grip which they cannot relax. (H Clinton was shown the way by B Sanders, but couldn’t relax her embrace of the oligarchy and therefore couldn’t show concern or pretend to solutions of the problems of the many downwardly mobile, out of work, out of home, out of luck, and out of hope Americans upon whom D Trump preyed. At home in her bubble, she couldn’t see them and couldn’t see the folks who voted for Sanders either — perhaps some of the same.

  2. Maghlawatan on December 4, 2016, 4:22 pm

    Israel lost the war on social media.
    The kids know Israel is not housetrained

    Even Wolf Blitzer couldn’t spin Bennett back in 2014
    Judeonazi. Killing kids and he defends it.

    The old media model is dead. It’s killing Zio friendly outlets with Zio gatekeepers like the NYT and CNN and advertising is going increasingly over to social media , weakening the power of the gatekeepers, leaving Zio stalwarts like Tom Friedman isolated.

    I have zero sympathy for Israel. They got the guts of 70 years to do the right thing and they thought they were superior. Any people that thinks Netanyahu is a leader needs its head examined.

    Suck on the future, Israel

  3. yourstruly on December 4, 2016, 6:14 pm

    Since Congress will do nothing to alter the status quo re Palestine/Israel unless pushed hard by the public, the Brooking poll suggests that we’re approaching a critical mass of people sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. What this means is that, along with BDS, an all out & sustained mobilization aimed at pressuring members of Congress (& the President) to rethink their policies vis-a-vis the Middle East just might bear fruit. For maximum effectiveness the mobilization should begin asap so as to ensure that soon-to-be President Donald Trump can’t relegate Palestine/Israel to the back-burner.

    • Maghlawatan on December 4, 2016, 8:10 pm

      “No matter how well-written or delivered, a speech cannot divert whole societies from a well-established course of action. Policies in motion tend to remain in motion; to change the trajectory of a deeply-entrenched set of initiatives requires the application of political forces of equal momentum.”

      Israel will fight those forces with all its might. And Israel will lose.
      Because the Palestinian people are not vermin.
      And it doesn’t matter what Israel thinks, frankly.

      “In Dreams Begin Responsibility”, Delmore Shwartz.

      Israel is a nightmare

      • eljay on December 5, 2016, 8:33 am

        || Maghlawatan: … ||

        … [Obama] went to great lengths to convey his deep affection and regard for Israel and his commitment to Zionism. He told Israelis that the U.S.-Israel relationship was “eternal” …

        Obama also offered rhetorical support for Palestinian aspirations … He spoke openly of their “right to self-determination and justice” and invited his Israeli listeners “to look at the world through their eyes.” He also told them “neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer” and said “Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land.” He reiterated his call for direct negotiations — though he no longer suggests that Israel stop building more settlements — and he called upon his youthful audience to “create the change that you want to see.” …

        Barry “Nobel Peace Prize” O. tells the rapist that captivity is not the answer and that both he and the woman chained in his basement are entitled to live free and productive lives in a just and moral world. Then he winks at the rapist, gives him a friendly slap on the back, says Mum’s the word! and asks him for another beer.

  4. annie on December 4, 2016, 7:52 pm

    only 17% of dems think trump should lean towards israel. that’s not very many in relation to dems pandering democratic platform. the dnc is not in touch with the party , they NEED the left to win elections and the left is more in touch with party base than the neocons. that’s for sure.

    they gambled thinking trump was so bad everyone would run to go vote for hillary and all the baggage that comes with her — like regime change.

    ok, my son just called and told me they’re moving the pipeline and not going thru standing rock! excellent, gotta go check it out.

    • Maghlawatan on December 4, 2016, 8:13 pm

      75% of Trumpers are evangelical wingnuts

      T.H. Huxley said that there is nothing sadder than a beautiful hypothesis destroyed by an ugly fact.

      ‘The kind of person who always insists
      on his way of seeing things
      can never learn anything from anyone.’ [Tao Te Ching, #24]

  5. hophmi on December 4, 2016, 11:52 pm

    This is such complete progandistic BS. About 1/3 said they’d support a yes, 1/3 said they’d support a no, and 1/3 said they’d support an abstention. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that people who support an abstention also support allowing a Palestinian state. They weren’t asked that question, and they weren’t asked confirmatory question to determine whether they understood what abstention meant.

    These silly push polls are designed to be vague enough to achieve these kinds of ridiculous results. What sanctions? On what? What is a settlement to these folks? How is Israel actually a burden? Do they think the Palestinians are a burden too? How about the Syrians? Do they support sanctions on the Palestinians? (I’ll bet anything that they do.)

    • MHughes976 on December 5, 2016, 12:29 pm

      This poll should be set beside the Pew Survey of America/Israel/Palestine in May of this year. There is obviously still a major balance of pro-Israel sympathy, making me too think that the Brookings findings are being interpreted over-enthusiastically. There is probably a certain drift ‘our’ way, but it is still on a small scale and quite plainly hasn’t broken through the carapace of the political class, whose members do not significantly fear losing support by counter-boycotting BDS and officially defining anti-Z as anti-S.

  6. RoHa on December 5, 2016, 12:29 am

    Does this “Democratic Party” have any importance in US politics?

    • MHughes976 on December 5, 2016, 6:57 am

      Maybe they could become quite important if they found some candidates for office who had that extra bit of appeal. I see that the Austrian Sanders has beaten the Austrian Trump quite convincingly.

    • echinococcus on December 5, 2016, 9:41 am

      Its owners do. They’re the same owners as those of the US. The peons are non existent, as usual.

  7. Ossinev on December 5, 2016, 4:35 am

    Thanks for the YouTube link.Had not seen this before.First impressions what a seriously Nazi creep. No attempt whatsoever to wheel out the old Regurgitev “we don`t know the full facts and we are investigating ” crap and zero zero zero feeling for the children and their families.
    Prime war criminal material.

  8. Kay24 on December 5, 2016, 5:57 am

    Obama would not want his legacy to be one that as the zionist media will refer to as the” worst policy that was anti-semitic and doing extreme harm to poor defenseless Israel”. If he had any kind of courage to do the right thing for a people that have suffered for decades, and have lost too much already, and right a wrong, and do what we as a democratic nation should have done years ago – give a helpless people their basic freedom, rights, and a state to call their own in a land that has shrunk to almost nothing. It is time some American leader (s) stood up to Israel. The American people are waking up to this charade, and polls are showing that he will have stronger support. How about it President Barack Obama?

    • on December 5, 2016, 9:19 am

      Good question on Obama, but much too late for him to respond honestly with integrity and good policy in the interest of most Americans.

      The die was cast when Obama accepted the support of the Pritzgers and other wealthy, politically active Zionists and Israel Lobbyists, back in Chicago as a State Senate candidate and continued accepting their support throughout his career, letting them dictate policy and name appointees. As such, he became at best a Pontius Pilate and at worst a co-conspirator and active supporter of Israel’s agenda, now becoming increasingly apparent to the American public. Witness his asking young people to create the change they want, when he squandered the power of the Presidency and the bully pulpit to start such change, because he was a sycophant for his political supporters

      Who with a shred of self-respect, genuine concern for human rights and international law, genuine opposition against Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians, and an understanding of how negotiation and the use of political power works, would cave to $38 billion to Israel with no conditions, or quid pro quos, and then make weak lectures to Israel, with hat in hand, asking them not to expand settlements. No, such a person would say, before handing out $38 billion, something like: “Not a dime in aid or trade until you pull back the settlements and start giving justice to the Palestinian people.” A shameful performance by Obama.

      • MHughes976 on December 5, 2016, 9:49 am

        His career would have stopped in its tracks without the patronage he received. He must have accepted assurances that Israel would respond reasonably to an enlightened and trustworthy 2-stater like himself, otherwise he would not have embarked on the policy that led him to such an embarrassing setback. His memoirs will be painful reading.

      • Kay24 on December 5, 2016, 6:08 pm

        Our politicians have become a bunch of puppets, and the zionists yank their chains.

  9. rosross on December 5, 2016, 5:00 pm

    Most Americans have not the faintest idea of the reality of Zionist Israel, nor the situation of the Palestinians.

    A Palestinian State is impossible for the simple reason that Israel will not allow one to exist. A satrapy yes, a bantustan, certainly, but a fully independent State with exactly the same rights as any Israeli State, no!

    In addition, there are so many illegal settlements throughout Occupied Palestine, and that is the area beyond the UN mandate which remains the only possibly legal borders for an Israeli State, that removing the settlers or having them become Palestinians, are equally a farce.

    The only possible way two states could survive is for contiguous borders and exactly the same rights with East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. Israel refuses on all those counts and that is why the only solution is a one-state solution, like every other coloniser, where the indigenous people share the land with their colonisers.

    Discussions of two states is a waste of time and breath.

  10. Vera Gottlieb on December 6, 2016, 4:48 am

    This article is neither here nor there as Obama is leaving office very shortly.

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