The bottom line: The public is strongly pro-Israel. But the public basically consists of two groups. The GOP/conservative/Fox News-viewing part of the public is overwhelmingly pro-Israel. The Democratic/liberal/New York Times-reading part of America is . . . comme ci, comme ça.
Over 50 years ago, it should be noted, conservatives and Republicans were not so pro-Israel. Indeed, the newly founded conservative magazine National Review was hostile to Israel. This prompted the political philosopher Leo Strauss to write an unusual letter to the editor, published in the January 5, 1957, issue. There Strauss remarked on his agreement with many articles appearing in National Review, but expressed his incomprehension at the magazine’s hostility to Israel. He noted that if you were attached to the Bible, you should be attached to Israel; if you wanted to stand against “the tide of ‘progressive’ leveling,” you should stand with Israel; and that if you cared about the West, you should care about Israel.
Much to its credit, National Review, and American conservatism more broadly, took these admonitions to heart. American conservatism is now unequivocally pro-Israel. In large part thanks to this fact, the American public as a whole is solidly pro-Israel. It is American liberals who are divided and uncertain. Can they find within liberalism the resources to resist the anti-Israel temptation? Or is it time for pro-Israel liberals to rethink their attachment to liberalism?The latter, I think.