Knesset winter session 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
This week we will take a look at the table and at the answers our Israel Factor panel had produced to this simple request: “From 1 (bad for Israel) to 10 (good for Israel): Generally speaking, please rate the following people and institutions”. As
you can see, the Jewish organizations of the Republican and the
Democratic parties were ranked with very similar outcome (6.5, 6.62).
Three panelists gave the RJC somewhat better marks – two gave the NJDC
somewhat better marks – three gave the two organizations the exact same
marks. The widest gap for any of the panelists between RJC and NJDC was
of 2 points (7-5, 5-3).
last proof our panel is relatively centrist in nature: the low grades
and appreciation it has for the Tea Party movement. As you can see in
this table, the Tea Party is doing noticeably better with the panel
this month than it did last month (other changes seem insignificant):
even this month the panel considers the Tea Party movement as
net-negative when it comes to possible impact on Israel’s well being.
Rejecting J Street from the left and the Tea Party from the right is
the panel’s way of saying: From an Israeli standpoint, a centrist
America is the way to go. The panel wants Israel to remain a bipartisan
issue, and for American policies to be moderately crafted (yes, George
W. Bush was very popular in Israel, which to some people might be proof
that Israelis like the radically hawkish. I’d argue it is not a proof
of any such thing, but this needs more explaining – in some other time).
conclude: We’ve said the panel produces for relatively centrist
verdicts on policies and people. Hence, the much better grades Hillary
Clinton is getting the ones the panel gives Barak Obama. And, again,
one might argue: Clinton is merely implementing Obama’s policies, why
is she any better? But there’s simple answer to such claim: Perception
matters. And while Clinton is still perceived by Israelis as a policy
maker with a centrist liberal with moderately hawkish views on foreign
affairs – Obama, rightly or wrongly, is seen as the ultra liberal
policy maker. Simply put, the panel, like most Israelis, seems to
prefer the American policy maker more moderate. Does this mean that the
Israeli public really “hate Obama’s guts” – as one schmuck had said not long ago? That is a matter I’ll address in a couple of days.
As Rosner readers
should know by now, the answers we present represent the average that
this panel of experts produces (names and short bios of panel members here).
It is not a survey of Israelis, and the average we post here doesn’t
mean there are no people thinking differently than others (more about
The Israel Factor here). However, the panel’s record is quite good (see here)
and our monthly survey deserves the attention it is getting. It is good
because of many reasons, one of them being its inclusiveness of experts
with different views. It is not a panel with “right wing” or “left
wing” tendencies – no more than the tendencies of the “average”
Israelis. Thus, when the panel is ranking the candidates or the
policies of the US political arena and the US government, it doesn’t
distort the “Israeli view” because of political biases. You want proof?
Here’s one. The table I’ve mentioned at the top of this post. Take a
What do we see here?
see a panel expressing Israeli relative uneasiness with the two groups
that make Israel a “political issue” (J Street and ECI) – but is happy
to get the unbiased support of a bipartisan group (AIPAC – I know some
critics think AIPAC is partial. Obviously, the panel doesn’t buy it).
What’s more: When I look at specific numbers each panelist attached to
the groups mentioned above, the trend becomes even more vivid. The
satisfaction with AIPAC is almost across the board, with all panelists
but one giving it more than 7. Dissatisfaction with the two other
groups is also quite obvious, as panelists’ votes are being divided by