What Russia and Israel have in common


The coffin of Israeli Army Staff Sgt. Mosh Melako is carried into Mt. Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem on Monday. Melako was killed by Palestinian militants in battle during Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip. (EPA/OMER MESSINGER)

Americans now see Russia as the United States' top foreign foe, as its image across the Pacific Ocean hits lows not seen in decades.

But on that second count, Russia is actually in some good company -- with no less than America's top ally in the region: Israel.

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll shows 38 percent of Americans now have an unfavorable view of Israel, which in recent days has launched a ground operation in Gaza that has resulted in more casualties than its allies would prefer (witness John Kerry's reaction). The death toll in the current conflict includes more than 500 Palestinians.

If you combine CNN and Gallup polling, that's the most Americans who view Israel in a negative light since 1992.

Israel
Polling from CNN/Opinion Research and Gallup

Israel is hardly a pariah on the scale of Russia, and 60 percent of Americans still have a positive view of Israel. In addition, the polls suggest, on the whole, it has gotten steadily more popular in recent decades.

But the momentary increase in negative views reinforces an emerging trend in the American electorate: It wants nothing to do with overseas conflict, and would prefer that such conflict didn't exist.

It's also worth noting that the same CNN poll showed Americans say Israel was justified in launching the operation, by a 57-34 margin. But again, opposition to what Israel is doing is on the rise. Fewer people -- 25 percent in 2012 and 31 percent in 2009 -- said previous incursions into Gaza were not justified.

When asked whether Israel has used too much military force in Gaza, about four in 10 Americans (39 percent) agreed, while slightly more (43 percent) say it has used about the right amount.

But we would wager the increased resistance to Israel has more to do with war-weariness than anything about the current operation in Gaza. Reservations about using too much force were similar during the 2009 incursion, but views of Israel back then were significantly better than today (69 percent favorable, versus 30 percent unfavorable). There's apparently something different today, and it's probably the myriad other examples of unrest in the region -- including those involving Russia.

Americans in recent months have been confronted with one potentially volatile situation overseas after another, and the fact that this one involves the United States' top ally doesn't appear to allay concerns that the United States could be drawn into something its people would rather not be a part of.

Which means Israel's top ally is taking a dimmer view of it -- at least for now.

Update: This post initially described Israel as America's top ally. Polling shows there is some disagreement on this, with others including Canada and Great Britain ranked highly. The post has been updated to describe Israel as the U.S.'s top regional ally.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
SECTION: {section=politics, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, childrenitemsperpage=3, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, includesorts=true, includeheader=true, defaulttab=all, includeverifiedcommenters=true, includerecommend=true, maxitemstop=2, includereport=true, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, childrenitemsperpage=3, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, includesorts=true, includeheader=true, defaulttab=all, includeverifiedcommenters=true, includerecommend=true, maxitemstop=2, includereport=true, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Comments
SECTION: {section=politics, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, childrenitemsperpage=3, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, includesorts=true, includeheader=true, defaulttab=all, includeverifiedcommenters=true, includerecommend=true, maxitemstop=2, includereport=true, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, childrenitemsperpage=3, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, includesorts=true, includeheader=true, defaulttab=all, includeverifiedcommenters=true, includerecommend=true, maxitemstop=2, includereport=true, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Show Comments
Next Story
Philip Bump · July 21