Poll: Republicans Prioritize Israel's Interests Over America's

"Their Country, Right or Wrong!"


If you needed more proof that the old paradigm of unwavering bipartisan support for Israel is now in the rearview mirror, take a look at the results of this Bloomberg Politics poll on American attitudes regarding Middle East foreign policy.

We Got Your Back, Even If We Don't Got Ours
Flickr/Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

While it should come as no surprise that Republicans are less optimistic than Democrats about the tentative multilateral nuclear deal recently agreed to with Iran, the fact that 2/3 of Republican respondents said that they would "support Israel's interests even when they diverge from America's" shows just how partisan an issue Israel has become after a half-century of nearly universal bipartisan support for the Jewish state.

I recently wrote that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial address to Congress, perceived by many Democrats as a slap to President Obama, would likely signal a sea change in reflexive support for Israel by both parties in Congress. However, the shocking takeaway from the Bloomberg poll is that Republicans, by a substantial margin, would put a foreign country's interests ahead of their own. 

Calling it "further erosion of the old mantra that politics stops at the water's edge," Bloomberg reports:

Religion appears to play an important role in shaping the numbers. Born-again Christians are more likely than overall poll respondents, 58 percent to 35 percent, to back Israel regardless of U.S. interests. Americans with no religious affiliation were the least likely to feel this way, at 26 percent. Ideological identification also has a strong connection: 62 percent of self-identified conservatives say supporting Israel is key, while that drops to 35 percent among moderates.

Essentially, the hardest-core Christians and conservatives have such reverence for the Jews of the Holy Land and such absolute distrust in President Obama (according to Bloomberg, "Republicans say they feel more sympathetic to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than to their own president, 67 percent to 16 percent), they would actually support policies against their own national interest.

Too soon to tell if this means we'll be seeing 2016 bumper stickers for GOP candidates emblazoned with "Their Country, Right or Wrong!"

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  1. kinnath on caucus night: . . . . . and that’s why I support Ron Paul

    Christian Dude: But what about Israel? Why have to protect Jerusalem!

    1. I think I actually responded that Israel has nuclear weapons, and I wasn’t too afraid for them.

      1. The problem is space. They are one of the few countries in the world that really could be destroyed by nuclear weapons. They would no doubt take a lot of people with them but they would still die. And the whole thing would be the greatest man made environmental catastrophe in history.

  2. Has someone informed the SPLC?

  3. Oh boy, this one is going to bring in plenty or reasonable (drink!) and civil thoughts and conversation!

    *puts on HAZMAT suit*

  4. The next step in partisan politics: partisanship for…other countries!

  5. They’re just citizens of the world, man.

    1. Yeah, aren’t Democrats into that?

      1. The funny thing is that 30 yrs. ago a friend (also former radical libertarian) said that for Democrats in NYC, the US gov’t’s military establishment & state dept. existed entirely for the purposes of Israel.

  6. Look at the actual question that was asked. It was “Israel is an important ally, the only Democracy in the region, and we should support it even if our interests diverge”. That is not saying Israel is more important than the US. It is saying the US has a long term interest in supporting Democracies and its allies that can outweigh our short term interests.

    Either Mr. Fisher can’t read with a critical eye or he can’t be truthful about what he has read if it doesn’t fit his narrative.

    1. Pretty sure it was not the divergence of our long- and short-term interests that he was talking about, but rather the direct confrontation of our long-term interests vs theirs.

      1. I don’t care what he is talking about, that is not what the question says. Doesn’t say anything about long term versus short term interest. Moreover, it is not a straight forward question. It has all of that lead in about Israel being an ally and a Democracy. What is the point of that being there? If you want to know whose interests people consider more important, why not just ask that? Why put in the lead in?

        I would answered yes to that question too. Yet, I do not put Israel’s interests ahead of the US. I just think supporting its allies and other democracies is in the country’s interests. You could argue that it would be in the US interests to sell arms to Russia. We would make money from it and it would probably make them less likely to attack us. That however would not be so good for Eastern Europe. So if I think selling arms to Russia is a bad idea does that mean I put eastern Europe’s security over US interests? In some ways I suppose but not really.

        1. I agree that the lead-in was unnecessary, possibly begging the question, and what I really meant to say is that the question is simply asking our general interest vs. their general interest, be it long or short doesn’t matter.

          “Doesn’t say anything about long term versus short term interest.”

          You were the one that brought up long- vs short-term interests when you said “It is saying the US has a long term interest in supporting Democracies and its allies that can outweigh our short term interests.”

          That’s a misreading of the question itself, which asked nothing about the conflict between our own short-term interest and our own long-term interests, only about ours vs theirs.

          1. No. The lead in invites the reader to consider long term versus short term. Standing by our allies and other Democracies are long term interests. The question, as I would have read it, is asking you should the US be willing to put aside its immediate interests in order to support an ally or another Democracy. That is the only way the question makes any sense.

            1. “Doesn’t say anything about long term versus short term interest.”

              “The lead in invites the reader to consider long term versus short term.”

              There appears to be some cognitive dissonance going on here. I can agree with the first, but not the second, because it appears to my eyes that the purpose of the lead-in is propaganda to skew the answer towards “Yes” vs trying to introduce long- and short-term considerations, especially if they are all on one side, namely ours. Just doesn’t make sense in the context you described.

              1. Of course it was to skew the answer towards yes. That is my point. It puts those things in to get people who if asked the straight question “which country is more important” would say the US to answer Israel. It accomplishes this by inviting the thought process I just explained.

                It is a dishonest and useless poll.

                1. I can agree with that.

          2. The question isn’t asking about which interest is more important. It is asking if the respondent would support Israel if its interests diverged from those of the United States.

            You could answer “yes” to that question even if you didn’t give a rat’s ass about Israeli interests, e.g. if you think that liberal democracies should always be favored against theocracies and autocracies.

    2. Exactly. The responses to that question are meaningless because it’s really three questions in one, and you’re only allowed to give one answer. There’s no option to say yes, Israel is an important ally, yes, Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, but no, we shouldn’t support them when it is against US interests.

  7. Speaking of obsessive-compulsive partisanship

    The argument for Clinton in 2016 is that she is the candidate of the only major American political party not run by lunatics. There is only one choice for voters who want a president who accepts climate science and rejects voodoo economics, and whose domestic platform would not engineer the largest upward redistribution of resources in American history. Even if the relatively sober Jeb Bush wins the nomination, he will have to accommodate himself to his party’s barking-mad consensus. She is non-crazy America’s choice by default. And it is not necessarily an exciting choice, but it is an easy one, and a proposition behind which she will probably command a majority.
    This seems to be a recurring theme. Just the other day, Krugabe excreted something almost identical. It does not matter, apparently, who the candidate is; if you don’t vote Democratic Party, WE’LL ALL DIE.

    1. That’s not a good sign for Dems. You don’t win the swing voters by calls of party loyalty. Swing guys care about the candidate not the party, even if it is only as much about how good their hair is.

  8. Well what do you expect? Dem leadership has been hating on the religious for awhile now, and nothing brings people together faster than being under fire from the same person. It’s really not a surprise that the heavily religious have banded together.

    The funny thing is that by trying to protect Muslims from discrimination after 9/11 they’ve inadvertedtly cut them off from support from the other religious communities. The blatant hypocrisy displayed of screaming about the oppressions of all religions, while ignoring the exact same or worse actions in the Muslim religion, has set the Muslims in a different category. The favoritism displayed towards them disrupts their ability to have solidarity with all the other religions.

    1. You are being deliberately disingenuous or you are RIDICULOUSLY naive. I somehow do not picture the “mainstream” (read as “fundie wackjob”) Christian leadership embracing or “supporting” Islam when they cant even refrain from reminding fellow Christians of the wrong stripe that they are headed for hellfire. You seem to be saying American Christianity is some sort of bastion of tolerance and fellowship, if only those “godless” Dems in congress, (who are all Christian, actually, since anything else is political suicide here in Jesusland) wouldn’t foment all that hatred. Yeah, that’s it. The religious right is loving and tolerant (unless you are gay, catholic, pro-choice, female, etc.) and their opponents are the hateful ones ! Step away from the keyboard, take your meds, and come back when (if) your brain starts working.

  9. My mother, a hardcore Christian and lifelong Republican, is giddy right now with what’s happening with Iran and Israel. She’s convinced that the End Times and the Rapture are nigh. Seriously. All the Prophesies are coming true, and the Second Coming will happen any time now. I can only say to her “The future’s uncertain and the end is always near” and get myself beer.

    1. The Rapture has no prerequisite, as I understand it.

      1. I don’t understand it at all. I just get to listen to my mom tell me about it when I’m on the phone with her.

        1. There is some AM radio from near St. Louis that picks over news pieces looking for signs of TEH END IS NIGH.

          Hey, live right and it doesn’t matter when. I will face judgment sooner or later….and I am in no hurry.

    2. Wry laughter is what I got for rabidly pro-Israel Republicans. There’s nothing that warms an evangelical Republican’s heart, I guess, like a welfare state for the ultra-religious.

      Because I’m a fan of the establishment clause, myself, I have to say that while I the thought of a democracy in the Mideast is heartwarming, public funds should not go to Israel, a nation that claims its right to exist from the Bible. I don’t want to, nor do I think I should have to, pay for the armies and defenses of a country that claims their Magic Super-Sky Fairy told them they should live there and get to kick everybody else out.

      Pro-Israel Americans, of whom there seem to be plenty (paging Sheldon Adelson), should be privately funding this shit.

  10. I don’t get it. I’m from Poland and don’t give a rat-fuck about what happens there. What is it with Israel? And it’s not just Jews, it’s Christians.

    Why? It’s dirt. Dirt that 99% of you will never set foot on. WTF?

    1. Because the people who want to destroy it won’t stop there. It is also a large trading partner. There are also a ton of Americans who have family and connections there. You could say the same thing about Canada. What the fuck do I care about Canada? I don’t even want to go there.

    2. The Jews are God’s chosen people. The Prophesy say that they will repopulate Zion and then the Savior will return to save us all from Satan. So we must protect them in order to ensure the rest of the Prophesies come true. Or something.

      1. The Christians do realize that “God’s chosen people” don’t believe the most basic tenet of Christianity, right? And if the Jews are Gods chosen people, why wouldn’t Christians convert to Judaism?

        Furthermore…it’s all mythology.

        1. Christians don’t believe that. Sarcasmic is talking out of his ass. The whole point of Christianity is that the Jews are no longer the keepers of the covenant between man and God.

          1. No, John, I’m not talking out my ass. Real people truly believe that. The church my mother goes to preaches it, and I’m sure it’s not the only one.

            1. If they say it they don’t mean it like you take it to mean or they or morons. Christianity can’t exist if the Jews still have a covenant with God. If they actually think that, they need to go become Jews.

              1. Take it up with them. I’m only the messenger.

              2. You realize you are attempting to assign rationality to the religious mind, yes?

                1. John is quick to say those crazy rag-heads believe the Sixth Imam is coming and they’re willing to kill themselves to bring on the end times, but no Christian can be similarly fervent in their religion. Or something.

                  1. No Sarcasmic, there are lots of fervent Christians. They just think they are the people of God not the Jews. It is like me saying the Muslims think Hindus are Allah’s chosen people.

                    And ;when Christians start blowing themselves up in shopping malls, come talk to me about Christian extremism. In the mean time, grow a pare of balls and admit that maybe the groovy brown people might actually be human beings and not be so swell all of the time.

                    1. They just think they are the people of God not the Jews.

                      That’s not how I was raised. There’s lots of flavors of Christianity out there.

                      And I never said anything about Christian extremists blowing themselves up. Only that some are anxiously awaiting a war in the Middle East that will bring on the Rapture and so on and so forth. No bombing required.

                    2. If anyone needs to grow a pair it’s you. Grow some balls and admit that there are Christians out there who don’t believe exactly the same as you.

          2. Just because you fancy yourself a Christian and you don’t believe that doesn’t mean everyone who fancies themselves to be Christians doesn’t believe that.

            Your arrogance is showing again.

          3. Really? Apparently, there are a few Christians who believe there is a duty to defend Israel. I think if you Google “Christian Zionist fundamentalism” you’ll find a lot more.

        2. I can’t answer your questions because I don’t believe it. Nor will I pass them along to my mother because I frankly don’t care and don’t want to hear it. The last time I was on the phone with her she was imploring me to read the book of Revelation out loud. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s like Dr Seus or something and full of tongue twisters. The whole thing is stupid if you ask me.

        3. The Christians do realize that “God’s chosen people” don’t believe the most basic tenet of Christianity, right? And if the Jews are Gods chosen people, why wouldn’t Christians convert to Judaism?

          Because the Covenant of the Law has been superceded by the Covenant of Grace, due to the work of Jesus.

          Still, the Jews are considered to still benefit from God’s promises to Abraham (“I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you”), so some Christians believe that it is actually in the national interest to support Israel–it brings to us God’s favor for treating His people well.

          There is also, as sarcasmic points out, a faction that believe that the events in the Middle East are signs of the End Times.

                  1. stricken from the record….Bailiff! Escort this person from the courtroom!

                    1. *pulls arm away from bailiff, swaggers out of the courtroom”

                  2. JOIN MY EDIT BUTTON PROTEST!

                    Attica! Attica! Attica!

                    *bangs tray against cell door*

                    1. GATTACA! GATTACA!

  11. …they would actually support policies against their own national interest.

    As determined by who?

    1. Good question. The poll is worthless and doesn’t mean what it claims to mean. Reason has managed to hit a new low. For all of its faults, even I never thought Reason would stoop to calling its ideological opponents unpatriotic. They have proven me wrong.

  12. You know who else called their ideological opponents unpatriotic…

    1. Harry Reid?

    2. President Eden?

    3. Tories during the American colonies’ revolution?

  13. I cannot believe how much I don’t give a shit about any of this.


  14. What if I simply support Israel’s sovereignty and trust their assessment of the middle east more than I trust whatever our current politicians happen to be saying?

    They have an actual dog in the fight.

    “Our interests” are largely impossible to predict.

    1. There is that. There is also the possibility that they think that the US ought not to fuck over allies and other Democracies just to get ahead. That maybe the US ought to be better than that and act on principles beyond its immediate interests.

      This entire post is a new low for Reason. Imagine Reason ever putting up a poll about American Muslims’ views of the middle east and then questioned their patriotism? It would of course never happen. This post only occurs because it questions the patriotism of the hated SOCONS. And collectivizing and slandering them is always in fashion. Nothing is easier and more popular than doing that. Talking about Muslims raping children in Rotherham with the help of the police is just a story Reason doesn’t know what to make of. But questioning the patriotism of the SOCONs based on a single poll is something Reason knows how to do. Fucking cowards and posers.

    2. Legitimate question: what does Israel do for the U.S.? What do they offer the U.S. in return for the billions in public funds that we invest in their Magic Sky Fairy mandate to occupy that land?

      Are/were there Israeli soldiers fighting in Afghanistan or with the coalition forces in Iraq, for example?

      For the record, I ask the same questions about our largesse to Pakistan, Yemen, and other Muslim countries. I think we’re getting a fat lot of nothing out of our support of those corrupt Allah-bothering bastards, too.

      I think you’re as welcome as anyone to support “Israel’s sovereignty.” I just wish you’d write your own checks to do it, instead of reaching into my pocket to support a religious group’s belief that they should own some land.

      1. I imagine it’s something about being a stabilizing force in the region. Israel acts as a focus on the surrounding nations’ rage, which keeps them from fighting each other, which keeps disruptions to the flow of oil to a minimum.

      2. Design chips for Intel.

  15. I cannot believe how much I don’t give a shit about any of this.

    You will, when the retards who do nominate that rotund authoritarian sleazebag Christie as Republican candidate for President, instead of Rand Paul.

    1. That fat fuck will know my wrath!

      Almanian for President – 2016
      I Probably Won’t Make It Any Worse

      And I may be fat and old, but I ain’t Joisey Cow Christie fat and old….bring it on, Doughboy!

      1. Bill Clinton has a better chance of winning the GOP nomination than Fatso. I guess believing Christie has any shot at winning makes people feel better or something, but I don’t get it. It is not like there are not candidates who might actually win, like Rubio or Jeb Bush, who are worthy of bitching about.

        1. My gut feeling is that Christie has no chance of winning, but I’d have said the same thing about John McCain. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Republican who liked that silly son of a bitch, but yet he got the nomination in ’08. Go figure.

          1. Also, who’d’ve thunk a few yrs. earlier that Geo. Jr. would get the nod ahead of Jeb?

  16. And our attorney general prioritizes “his people” over the rest of America, and the Dems prioritize illegals over Appalachians. Pot. Kettle.

  17. I don’t agree with the Republicans on this particular issue, but I can certainly identify with supporting other countries and/or their politicians more than I do the USA and American politicians.

    I view the US government as more like an occupying force than a representative government.

  18. Americans are so STUPID they deserve to be our, the Jewish peoples’ lapdog. 90% of Americans don’t even realize that we, the Jewish people, introduced modern day terrorism to the world by bombing the King David Hotel.

    Hell, Americans are so STUPID 90% of them don’t even realize the state of Israel bombed one of their navy ships in 1967, the USS Liberty, killing their stupid, fellow Americans.

    So Americans, shut up and give us, the Jewish people, our billions of dollars in support every year and remain as STUPID as you are now! Understand? Now go sit in the corner and don’t dare yap about anything. I’ll feed you if and when I want to!

  19. Heavily biased article filled with some seriously flawed assumptions. Take these three:

    “Republicans…would put a foreign country’s interests ahead of their own.”

    “…they would actually support policies against their own national interest.”

    “Their Country, Right or Wrong!”

    1. The article is about support for Israel. Not any foreign country.
    2. Citation needed, please, for policies that are not supported by Conservatives in favor of Israel that is against our national interest.
    3. Again, citations for policies…right or wrong.

    I get that the author is a liberal that hates Israel and Republicans. I am trying to avoid much of the screed that is prevalent on other blog sites. I have noticed a certain level of intelligence among it’s reporting that alludes to actual journalism. This article, however, is challenging that perception.

  20. The misnamed “Reason Magazine” is going back to its holocaust denial past and pushing for Iran to kill another six million Jews. The pro islamic terrorist rag is even saying that this is in U.S. interests. It is in U.S. interests to support countries that seized our embassy (an act of war if there ever was one) and chant “death to America” ? Absolutely moronic.

    Antisemitism is not a side issue for Libertarians, but central for “Reason Magazine.” You slip eliminationist antisemitism into your magazine just as those Commie writers in Hollywood slipped Commie messages in supposedly straight movies such as “The Best Years of Our Lives.” Mary McCarthy once said antisemitism is the intellectualism of stupid people. Maybe with the Libertarians brains destroyed by drugs, they can accepts antisemitic ideas such as Israel is against U.S. interests and the slaughter of millions of Jews will be good for America and the world. Your precious drugs should not be legalized if they foment such evil and moronic thinking.

    The Trayvon Martin Lied

    “There’s no need to fear — Underzog is here”!

    1. Reason…is going back to its … past and pushing for Iran to kill… six million Jews.

      hyperbole much?

      Why can some people not disentangle antizionism from antisemitism. Well, to zionists they are the same since only “self hating” Jews would fail to countenance genocide justified by areligion by closet atheists justifying hate

      Who the f… is Mary McCarthy? I ignore argument by assertion. But while we are at it, I say, “Zionism is National Socialism’s ironic revenge on since zionism is the purest extant expression of fascist ideals”

      Racial superiority, check
      Which justifies manifest destiny, check
      Victimhood leading to blaming leading to hatred of the “other”, check
      Erasure of other cultures as subhuman, DOOUUBLE CHECKAROONI
      genocide as self defense, check
      that is far from all, but you get the idea.

      Then at the end, you throw out an ad hominem and non sequitir about “drugs”, and try to make antizionism equal millions of murdered jews. How pissed do you think those Jew killers would ever have been if Israel hadnt done its level best to destroy them and take everything. Of course, the killers themselves, not zionism are responsible for terrorist attacks, but without Israeli antagonism, there would have BEEN no terrorists. So I will be as unfair and illogical as you and say the state of israel is responsible for all jewish deaths. NO, that is stupid, just like you, but STILL FAR more defensible than your position.

      You REALLY have NO cogent argument at all, huh?

  21. The poll didn’t say Republicans would support Israeli interests over America’s. It said Republicans would support Israel even when particular interests diverged. That’s a general statement of support, not a slavish one. That’s what friends do. I doubt Republicans would put Israeli interests ahead of our own. They didn’t with Syria, and the Israeli administration had been propagandizing to the hilt and straining at the leash to take out Assad.

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