Most hated country in the world

Published May 8, 2024
The writer is an attorney teaching constitutional law and political philosophy.
The writer is an attorney teaching constitutional law and political philosophy.

WHATEVER the Americans may have said on record, the past few weeks of the war in Gaza have proved to be quite trying for them. Central among their concerns is the hit that President Joe Biden’s re-election chances have taken as the war drags on.

In the opinion polls, American voters do not actually list the war in Gaza as one of their central concerns, with the economy and abortion taking the lead. However, those that tend to complain about the economy in the US feel that the seemingly endless amount of aid flowing to Israel and Ukraine ismoney that should have been spent on improving their own situation at home. Even though the US economy is currently in the lead globally, rents and food prices at home continue to be high, causing many Americans to criticise the Biden administration’s policies.

As many know, the campus protests and the fact that scores of graduation ceremonies in the US have been cancelled because protesters have vowed to disrupt them have added to the pressure, which the Biden administration has been feeling, to bring the war to an end. Even though the Democrats have stuck to their usual line of promising unconditional support to Israel and even joined the Republican-controlled House in approving $26 billion in military assistance to Israel, there has been discomfort within.

Most of this comes from the internal polling done by the Biden campaign, which reveals a generational shift in the US on the issue of Israel. Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats need young voters to turn out in huge numbers if they are to win like they did in 2020. In states like Pennsylvania — a battleground state — it is precisely this group of voters that took Joe Biden to victory last time. Many of these voters were from cities like Philadelphia, which is home to many universities, and where there is an increasing feeling of reluctance to vote for Biden again, given his position on the war in Gaza. While these young people would not be lost to Trump, most would likely just stay home; and if they do, then it would be the end of Biden’s possibilities in Pennsylvania.

Israel is America’s spoilt child. It is used to throwing a tantrum on the floor of the toy store if it does not get what it wants.

Not too far away from Pennsylvania is Michigan, another battleground state where the Democratic Party needs large numbers of urban voters in places like Dearborn. The large Arab-Muslim population in the state is unlikely to show up for Biden if the war continues to drag on into November, and the number of Palestinian casualties continues to mount. Attempts by the Democratic Party to engage this population have not produced many positive results, with local groups showing disinterest in visits by high-ranking Democrats given their position on Israel.

At the commencement ceremony for the University of Michigan, held last weekend, a huge student walkout, complete with Palestinian flags and keffiyehs, disrupted the proceedings and provided a clear statement of the shape of things to come if matters did not change soon. On one political talk show, Queen Rania of Jordan pointed out that the world simply does not understand how the US can say Israel should not bomb civilians but then continue to provide it with weapons to bomb civilians, or complain about the lack of humanitarian aid and build a pier to provide it but vote down ceasefire resolutions at the UN. It is what everyone outside the US already knows, but reiterating it to a US population reflects some level of awareness that the US will lose even more of its already flailing international reputation if the war continues.

None of this promises a good or durable deal. The Israelis have been coddled by access to seemingly bottomless American coffers, and to an obstinate moral immunity for a terribly long time. Listening to the Zionist perspective often reveals their inability to understand how suddenly and decisively American public opinion has changed.

Many continue to draw parallels with how Jewish students on various American campuses may ‘feel’, as well as the Holocaust. They are simply not able to see how utterly delusional their perspectives sound when considered against the more than 34,000 dead Palestinians and the horribly suffering and maimed women and children that Americans have been watching for over six months. Jewish intellectuals like the author Marsha Gessen, who compared Gaza to the ghettoes in Poland during the Holocaust, have faced derision from Zionists, but their silencing has been viewed with alarm by everyone else.

Israel is America’s spoilt child. It is used to throwing a tantrum on the floor of the toy store if it does not get whatever impractical plaything or ridiculous demand it makes. It is likely to continue with its behaviour beyond an invasion of Rafah just to have the last word and pretend at some imaginary ‘victory’. There are plenty of hardliners in Israel who even imagine themselves and their country as being able to conduct wars without the assistance of the US.

It is just one of the many delusions that have led Israel to where it has ended up after inflicting six months of merciless death and destruction on Palestinian civilians. Its international reputation is in the gutter, people all around the world are up in arms at its genocidal bloodlust, and now even the Americans seem uninterested in standing by their rabid child as it continues to demand a perpetual supply of Palestinian blood to satisfy its desires. Israel may be able to stall a ceasefire, and try to take the joy of peace away by insistently inflicting pain on what is left of the Gazans in Rafah. But in its pursuit of this, it will achieve nothing other than becoming the most hated country in the world.

The writer is an attorney teaching constitutional law and political philosophy.

rafia.zakaria@gmail.com

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Budget and politics
14 Jun, 2024

Budget and politics

FINANCE MINISTER Muhammad Aurangzeb on Thursday expressed his ‘resolve’ to increase Pakistan’s tax-to-GDP ...
New talks?
14 Jun, 2024

New talks?

WILL this prove another false start, or may we expect a more sincere effort this time? Reference is made to the...
A non-starter
14 Jun, 2024

A non-starter

WHILE the UN Security Council had earlier this week adopted a US-backed resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza...
Budget for stabilisation
Updated 13 Jun, 2024

Budget for stabilisation

The proposed steps lack any “disruptive policy changes", especially to "right-size" the govt, and doubts remain on authorities' ability to enforce new measures.
State of the economy
13 Jun, 2024

State of the economy

THE current fiscal year is but another year lost. Going by the new Pakistan Economic Survey, which maps the state of...
Unyielding onslaught
Updated 13 Jun, 2024

Unyielding onslaught

SEVEN soldiers paid the ultimate price in Lakki Marwat on Sunday when their vehicle was blown up in an IED attack,...