Sunday, January 4, 2009

Survey shows public and pols differ on Israel/Gaza conflict

While US politicians from George Bush to the Dems leader in the Senate Harry Reid have been lining up to offer their support for Israel and their condemnation of Hamas (all except for the eerily silent Barack Obama...), Salon's Glenn Greenwald reports on a new poll that shows the American public is much more divided on the issue.

According to a new Rasmussen Reports poll, Americans are nearly evenly split 44%-41% on whether Israel was justified in launching their military action against Gaza. And in what could be a troubling sign for Obama, when you ask that question only of Democratic voters, you find overwhelming opposition to Israel's actions 55%-31%, Democrats apparently want a diplomatic solution to the problem instead. Depending on what Obama's position on the conflict eventually turns out to be, he could face a real protest from among some of his staunchest supporters.

Digging a little further into the Rasmussen numbers you find that while three-quarters of Republicans view Israel as an ally of the United States, only 55% of Dems agree. And half of the adults surveyed think Israel's action in Gaza will result in terrorist attacks here in America, while two-thirds think it will spark a region-wide Arab-Israeli war.

And speaking of US politicians... New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made an emergency trip to the Mid East today to stand "in solidarity" with the Israelis. His trip included a visit to the town of Sderot, where during his brief stay, he was whisked off to a bomb shelter during what had to be the best-timed terrorist rocket attack in history (hey if you think I'm being cynical, check out the Daily News' comment page).

I have to say that I really like Mayor Mike, but over the past few months New York City has fallen into a severe major economic crisis - Wall Street is shedding jobs by the tens of thousands, the city's budget is billions of dollars in the red, and the city is cutting social services and boosting mass transit fares just to keep up. It's nice that Bloomberg wants to offer his support to the citizens of Israel, but his first duty should be to the people who elected him, the citizens of NYC.

Next time Mike, send a card.
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