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Many Muslims say that U.S. policies in relation to Israel are one of the most powerful factors impacting their views of the United States. A 2006 Sadat Chair poll asked respondents in six Arab nations to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being “extremely important”) how important U.S. policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict is in developing their attitudes toward the United States. Large percentages responded with the highest rating of 5, ranging from 43 percent in Egypt to 76 percent in Jordan. Mean responses ranged from 3.79 in the United Arab Emirates to 4.56 in Jordan. A 2010 Sadat poll also asked respondents which of the policies of the Obama administration they were most disappointed with, and by far the most common response was the Israeli-Palestinian issue—on average 61 percent cited this. American support for Israel plays into both of the dominant narratives of American relations with the Islamic world. The emergence of Israel as a non-Muslim state in the Muslim world, closely allied with and supported by America, contributes to the narrative of America as seeking to dominate the Muslim world and undermine Islam. The expansion of Israeli-held territory through successive wars, the annexation of sections of Jerusalem, and the development of settlements in Palestinian Territories are seen as a continuation of this agenda. In this context the United 89 U.S. Support for Israel 5 05-0559-8 CH 5:0305-1 3/3/11 1:58 PM Page 89 States and Israel are largely seen as a unitary actor, though there are debates about which one is more dominant. At the same time, there is an image of the United States as being under the control of Israel and the pro-Israel lobby, failing to live up to the international norms that it has furthered—especially the expectation that as the hegemon the United States will play an impartial and evenhanded role. In this context the United States is regularly implored to waken from its torpor and assert its true self. The United States as a Partner in Israeli Expansionism The very existence of Israel is a major point of contention among Muslims. Large majorities reject the legitimacy of the Israeli state, which the United States played a major role in bringing into existence. In an Arab Barometer poll in 2006, majorities took the position that “the Arab world should not accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state in the Middle East.” These majorities were found in Jordan (76 percent), the Palestinian Territories (75 percent), Algeria (74 percent), Morocco (60 percent), and Kuwait (54 percent). The existence of Israel is seen as posing an important existential threat to countries in the Arab world. Asked in a 2009 Sadat Chair poll of six 90 U.S. Support for Israel F I G U R E 5 - 1 . U.S. Policy on Arab-Israeli Conflict In developing your attitudes toward the United States, how important is American policy toward the Arab-Israeli dispute on a scale from 1 (not important) to 5 (extremely important)? Mean 4.56 4.52 4.22 4.15 3.93 3.79 Jordan Morocco Saudi Arabia Lebanon Egypt UAE Source: Sadat Chair, 2006. 05-0559-8 CH 5:0305-1 3/3/11 1:58 PM Page 90 Arab nations to name two countries that pose the biggest threat to them, respondents in all six countries named Israel most often—ranging from 76 percent in the United Arab Emirates to 91 percent in Egypt. The United States was also named frequently, with numbers ranging from 49 percent in the United Arab Emirates to 82 percent in Saudi Arabia citing it as a threat. No other nation was named by significant numbers of people. A widespread view is that the United States is complicit in the expansion of Israel’s borders. In (WPO) polling of nine Muslim nations from 2006 to 2009, majorities in seven out of nine cases said it is a U.S. goal to “expand the geographic borders of Israel.” This view was held by nine in ten Palestinians (90 percent) and Egyptians (89 percent) as well as by most Jordanians (84 percent), Bangladeshis (78 percent), Turks (69 percent), and Moroccans (64 percent), and Pakistanis (52 percent). Indonesians and Azerbaijanis had mixed views. (See figure 5-2.) Israel is seen as having illegal territorial ambitions even beyond the acquisition of Palestinian Territories. As a Jordanian woman...


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