Originally Posted by stephanie
I think this ignores changes, both because it's one part of the issue, because the reason for the US feeling bound in the region have changed, and because -- as you note -- Israeli politics have changed themselves. I also think there's a lot more open support or acceptance of the settlements in the US (especially on the right) today than ever before. When Israel appeals to its supports in the US, there seems to be a much greater recognition that there's potential acceptance in some quarters of the more extreme arguments. Official US policy hasn't changed, but I think the current support on the right is to the right of George W and way to the right of George HW, and Obama, despite being basically the same as everyone else, is getting a much different kind of criticism.
If I may offer a suggestion (in support of your comment I think). Since 9/11 I suspect that more Americans have been more interested in this topic and have been reading and listening to more opinions. Americans have noticed a few things that seemed below the radar for most of us pre 9/11.
One is that when Muslims are attacking Americans by flying jetliners into buildings full of civilians - or attacking Jews by bombing civilian buses in Israel - they all seem to yell out "Allah hu Akbar" in the seconds before the detonation.
I'm sure there are many possible reasons that can be devised for why Americans support Israel 4:1 against the Palestinians but such strong cultural beliefs are always based on (usually a pattern of) emotionally potent events - as perceived by those under threat. It's really much simpler than the "Jewish Lobby" canard which for most Americans is just so much political BS by anti-Israel academic elites. Don't forget that when people develop a deep dislike for certain types - they are not likely to put any energy at all into parsing their logical arguments on such things. I'd say that even many Democrats find the progressive left's love for anti-western terrorists disgusting. All the convoluted logic in the world is completely impotent against the stark and honest and terrifying emotional reality expressed in the bolded paragraph above.
I think average Americans are much closer to saying the hell with the Palestinians. Closer to saying "Let Israel do whatever it needs to do to end the conflict with those fanatics once and for all" - than they are likely to listen to convoluted reality-challenged accusations by far-left ideologues who never met an anti-Jew terrorist they didn't apologize for, if not approve of.
I guess my message is this. If someone wants to convince anybody that Israel is in the wrong on this whole topic - they need to get very basic and start appealing to core beliefs - the beliefs that define their target's identity. And they need to use emotionally powerful messages. Forget the tortured Walt/Mearsheimer discussions about political lobbies and bought politicians. Most Americans don't give a damn about that stuff. Americans understand intuitively that if it was possible to buy politicians' votes (votes that would get them un-elected in the next election) - the far-left would have bought those votes long ago. Most Americans see that the far-left is just whining because they don't have the support of the large majority of Americans and they just can't accept that it's simply because Americans see them as being full of crap on the merits - in terms of what's best for Americans' self-interest.