MOST ISRAELIS are happy to see the back of President Obama. His refusal to veto the antisettlement UN resolution 2334 and John Kerry’s speech criticising Israeli policy in the West Bank are viewed as symptomatic of the administration’s failure. Half-a-million people die in Syria, but Kerry focuses on a few extra houses in the West Bank. More generally, both Israel and America’s Arab allies thought Obama’s policies were naïve and dangerous.
With Obama gone, most Israelis assume that the relationship with the US can return to the camaraderie of yesteryear. In the short term, they might be right. However, in the longer term, Kerry and Obama’s parting shots are symptomatic of a much deeper challenge to the special relationship.
Since 1948, the American public has been overwhelmingly more sympathetic to Israel than to the Palestinians. This has been the case for every major religious, ethnic, ideological and political group. But in the last year things have changed. For the first time, liberal Democrats prefer the Palestinians to Israel, while Democrats as a whole are almost evenly divided in their sympathies.