Opposition MKs blame Netanyahu for division with US Democrats

Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid blamed a series of controversial decisions regarding the Western Wall - made with Netanyahu's support - as being the main driver of decreased Democratic support.

January 29, 2018 23:41
1 minute read.
American Jews marching in New York with Israeli flags. How can we bridge the divide between Israel a

American Jews marching in New York with Israeli flags. How can we bridge the divide between Israel and the Diaspora?. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid and Hatnua head Tzipi Livni blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday for last week’s Pew Research Center study that found a significant decrease in support for Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict among US Democrats.

“The deterioration in support for Israel among Democrats is dramatic, and it has been happening especially since 2016,” Lapid told The Jerusalem Post at Yesh Atid’s faction meeting.

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“It’s a direct result of the Western Wall and conversion decisions in which the prime minister of Israel insulted the overwhelming majority of US Jews for his own narrow political reasons. We need their support. The prime minister of Israel is responsible for losing them.”

Livni told the Zionist Union faction she had just met with a delegation American Conservative Jewish leaders who told her their congregants feel increasingly distanced from Israel.

“This rift with the Jewish Diaspora is not only an ethical problem but also a security problem,” Livni said. “We never had a problem with bipartisanship before. Netanyahu made it that Republicans are with Israel and Democrats feel disconnected, and it threatens our national security.”

The survey found that there has never been a greater divide between Democrats and Republicans on the subject of Israel in 40 years of polling.

The poll’s findings show Republicans more sympathetic than ever toward Israel, with Democrats increasingly divided and equally likely to support the Palestinian cause.

Overall, 79% of Republicans sympathize with Israel, compared with 27% of Democrats.

The Trump administration “favors Israel too much,” 30% of Americans believe, according to the report.

Americans who are more favorably inclined to support Israel are less likely to believe a two-state solution is possible than those inclined to support the Palestinians. Belief in the possibility of peace is correlated with age: The younger you are, the more hopeful you are likely to be for an agreement, according to the report.

Michael Wilner contributed to this report.

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