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Support for AIPAC Declining among Young American Jews

AIPAC policy conference 2014

While AIPAC is still an influential lobby, American Jews feel increasingly conflicted over support for Israel, especially the young. While the organization was successful in getting funding from Congress  for Iron Dome, which was crucial in minimizing Israeli casualties, the relationship between the White House and Israeli Prime Minister has been strained, even during crucial times in the war.

There is a huge divide between political parties over support for Israel, with 73% of Republicans saying they support Israel compared to just 43% of Democrats. While AIPAC says it is a bipartisan organization, the split over support of Israel between the two parties might create increasing political divisiveness within the organization.

AIPAC has squarely supported Israel’s military defense against Hamas, but young American Jews don’t necessarily agree. Only 25% of American Jews under 30 felt that Israel’s military actions were justified. This may reflect as much a general indifference about Israel among the younger generation as it does actual opposition to Israeli defense against Hamas.  Rabbi Jill Jacobs, leader of T’ruah: Rabbinical Call To Human Rights, said, “Many people I know in their twenties and thirties say, ‘I have a perfectly good Jewish life here. Why do I need to worry about this country in the Middle East when they are not representing who I am as a Jew? I’m not proud of what is happening there. I am certainly not going to send money.”

Shimon Peres commented, “My impression is that AIPAC is weaker among younger people. It has a solid majority among people at a certain age, but it’s not the same among young people.”

One issue affecting support for AIPAC is the large number of American Jews who vote for the Democratic Party and consider themselves politically left, but perceive that right wing religious and political “extremists” have too much influence in Israel, whether they are settlers or ultra-Orthodox Jews.  AIPAC sees the increasing detachment from Israel among young American Jews as  troubling.

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