As the world anxiously awaits the next step the Israeli government will take in response to the jarring attacks Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas launched against the Jewish state on October 7, 2023, significant shifts among American lawmakers’ geopolitical priorities are beginning to take place.
At first, the bone-chilling nature of these attacks have largely united the American political class in their support for Israel.
Former Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard expressed her support for Israel in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, on October 9. She posted:
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who previously ran as a candidate for the Democratic Party and is now running under an independent banner, also manifested his support the Jewish state. In an X post that he published October 7, RFK Jr. stated the following:
The irony here is that Gabbard and RFK Jr. have largely manifested restrained foreign policy views on previous occasions. However, a sensitive issue such as Israel has an uncanny way of uniting the DC ruling class during a time of heightened polarization.
Predictably, Republicans across all factions of the party have come to Israel’s side. Neoconservative figures — from presidential hopeful Nikki Haley to conservative media star Ben Shapiro — unsurprisingly supported the Israelis and have called for the Israel government to take a heavy-handed response against Hamas. Their support was to be expected.
What was particularly curious was the populist Right’s support for Israel. Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, a new faction emerged within the Republican Party that challenged the neocon status quo of never-ending wars. However, it seems that the populist Right still has a soft spot for Israel.
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, the posterboy for the party’s surging populist wing, took advantage of Hamas’ attack to call for increased military aid to the Jewish state. He posted on X:
Right-wing nationalist pundit Scott Greer made an interesting observation about Hawley’s pro-Israel remarks:
White House national security spokesperson John Kirby recently declared that the US government’s funding to Ukraine is “coming near to the end of the rope” and is “not going to be indefinite.” Thus far, the US has supplied over $75 billion in military aid to Ukraine.
Indeed, this is a sign of the political establishment realizing that not only the project of bleeding out Russia in Ukraine has been an abject failure, but that US geopolitical machinations in Ukraine will also take a backseat to geopolitical exigencies in the Middle East.
For neocons, Israel holds major sentimental value. The Holocaust moral paradigm that has captured the minds of Western leaders since the end of World War II has made Israel a sacred cow in foreign policy circles.
However, that monolithic support for Israel may not be long for this world as far as US politics goes. Per a CNN poll, half of Americans believe that the Israeli government’s military response to the Hamas attacks was entirely justified. When broken down by age groups, Americans ages 65 or older (81%) are far more supportive of Israel’s actions than the 35-49 (44%) and 18-34 (27%) age cohorts.
This does not augur well for the future of Israel, a country that has largely relied on Western military, diplomatic, and economic support to stay afloat. Once Millennials and Zoomers come of age politically, Israel may not be able to consistently rely on the US for aid. Moreover, the emerging multipolar geopolitical climate where China and Russia — along with regional powers such as Iran and Turkey — will begin to assert themselves on the world stage, will make it more difficult for Israel to pursue expansionist foreign policy projects.
Add in domestic tensions within the country, largely brought about by the growing religious forces in Israeli politics, Israel could be looking at a 21st century filled with nothing but instability. The Jewish state can currently count on unconditional support. However, the game could drastically change in a future where the US’s influence is diminished abroad, and Israel is mired with domestic upheavals.
All good things eventually come to an end. Israel’s special relationship with the US could face a similar fate if there’s no recalibration of policy in both countries.