By William Reed
President Trump will bring indispensable leadership to the Middle East, and the world will be better for it. – Armstrong Williams
Whose side are you on in the Arab–Israeli conflict? The issue illustrates the power of one American group another – blacks and Jews. As the conflict between Hamas and Israel rages most Americans say that “Israel has a right to defend itself” and that the bond between America and Israel is “unbreakable”. Fifty-seven percent of Americans believe that Israel is justified in “taking military action against Hamas and the Palestinians in the area known as Gaza”, while only 25 percent feel it is unjustified.
Americans still support Israel, but views vary by age and race. Minorities and millennials are skeptical about Israeli politics and policies. It’s no secret that Americans tend to support Israel in its decades-long conflict with Hamas. Forty percent of Americans see the Palestinian militant group as the prime instigator of the current violence versus 19 percent who blame the Israelis. Because of the election of Donald Trump as president, perhaps more today than at any time in recent history, the United States administration is poised to be fully committed to a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.
The U.S supports Israel because it’s perceived to be in our best interest. In Israel, where the conservative Likud has been solidly in power for the past four decades, the peace process is no longer a major political issue. It may be Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, two men who profess to be Israel’s strongest defenders, who definitively shatter the “unbreakable alliance”. Trump has spoken with pride about his Jewish grandchildren. His daughter Ivanka is a convert to Judaism, and his Orthodox Jewish son-in-law is Jared Kushner.
The Black Lives Matter movement accuses Israel of “genocide” and “apartheid.” Palestinians in the occupied territories struggle to alleviate poverty, unemployment and other economic woes Ethiopian Jews in particular living in Israel, have faced overt discrimination. While President Trump pays little attention blacks, Jews and Israel have his ear. Trump rejects long-established US framework for Middle East peacemaking, and at a White House visit with Netanyahu said, “I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.” Thought smaller in numbers, Jews have more economic and political clout than blacks. The United States is home to the second largest (after Israel) Jewish community in the world. The American Jewish population is estimated at 8 million. This is 2.6 percent of the total U.S. population. Jews have 23 Members of Congress.
Because of political power, since 1992, the U.S. has offered Israel $2 billion annually in loan guarantees. Technologically advanced by global standards, the State of Israel has a population of 8.5 million, 74.8 percent are Jews (about 6.5 million), and 20.8 percent Arab (about 1.7 million). The Arab–Israeli conflict refers to the political tension, military conflicts and disputes between a number of Arab countries and Israel. The roots of the modern conflict are bound in the rise of Zionism and Arab nationalism. Territory regarded by the Jewish people as their historical homeland is also regarded by the Pan-Arab movement as historically belonging to Palestinians.
Palestine is a de jure sovereign state. The Palestine Territories has a population of 5 million. Palestinian people have lived in Palestine over the centuries. Since establishment of limited Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza, the U.S. government has committed more than $5 billion in bilateral economic and non-lethal security assistance to the Palestinians.
The J street organization deserves attention. J Street is a strong voice for saner, more progressive foreign policy. J Streeters are pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who want Israel to be secure, democratic and the national home of the Jewish people. J Street advocates policies that advance US and Israeli shared interests and democratic values, leading to a two-state solution.
One often-cited key to peace between Israel and the Palestinians is economic development. To that end, there seems to be broad agreement about the importance of extending development aid to help the Palestinians build the physical and social infrastructure
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com