There has been a lot of talk in the last few weeks about AIPAC and American Jews’ reaction to President Obama’s Arab Spring and AIPAC speeches. But the largest numbers of pro-Israel voters are not Jewish, and the largest pro-Israel group is made up of Christians. We saw a bit of that this week.
Christians United for Israel, the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States, sent an “action alert” to its enormous membership list. The group put out a press release announcing that within two hours of the alert, 14,000 e-mails went to the president “asking that he ‘immediately isolate the terrorist organization Hamas by 1) cutting off all US aid to the Palestinian Authority that is now allied with Hamas, and 2) desisting from all efforts to pressure Israel to negotiate with this government.’”
You see, it is not just the loss of liberal Jewish votes that should concern Democrats, but the invigoration of a huge evangelical community. Many of these voters were less than enchanted with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008. A large turnout and enthusiastic campaign participation by this voting bloc (as we saw in 2004 for George W. Bush) will be a help to the GOP nominee, provided he or she is seen as more sympathetic to Israel (a near certainty, unless you think Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) will get the nod).
It is also important to keep in mind, quite apart from electoral politics, that the country as a whole remains firmly pro-Israel, a reflection of faith and of the understanding that we share values and interests with the Jewish faith and Israel. The idea that we would be “neutral” or help promote the Palestinian cause by public pressure just doesn’t sit well with most Americans.