A recent, informal poll taken by an Al Jazeera talk show host, with tens of thousands of followers, which showed that a stunning 56% said they backed Israel in the recent recent Israeli-Iranian clash in Syria. These results are even more surprising when one recalls that the poll was conducted by the host of a show on the frequently anti-Semitic, anti-Israel Al Jazeera.
The ZOA believes that, given the endemic hatred towards Israel in much of the Arab, the poll result showing majority support for Israel over Iran in the context of the factional war in Syria is an extraordinary result, one which demonstrates the fear which the prospect of a nuclear Iran inspires in Iran’s Arab neighbors.
As one Syrian wrote, “no Syrian in his right mind” would support Israel in most situations, “but you will find millions of Syrians queuing up with the blue devils [i.e., a term of abuse for Israelis] against the fascist sectarian regime that has surpassed all the monsters on earth in killing Syrians” (Evelyn Gordon, Do Arabs Back Israel in a Clash with Iran?, February 21, 2018).
ZOA National President Morton Klein said, “While it has been no secret for some time that many Arabs are revising their view of Israel and prefer it to the radical Shia Iranian regime, and that several Arab regimes have been covertly cooperating with Israel with regard to the threat posed by Tehran, it comes as welcome news that members of the Arab public take a similar view.
“Governments generally have to make pragmatic decisions, but these decisions are not always appreciated by publics that don’t have to take responsibility, as governments must do, for national security. Accordingly, it is extremely revealing and welcome that Arab publics might be also re-evaluating their formerly unconditional hostility to and hatred of Israel.
“We have had other signs of this sort of re-evaluation, such as comments in Arab social media applauding Israeli attacks upon Hezbollah and Iran installations in Syria.
“These developments also put paid to the long-running fantasy that the chief problem of the Middle East and the chief cause for its turbulence is the unresolved Israeli/Palestinian Arab issue, an argument we have been rebutting for years. The fact of the matter is that the threats from radical jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization in much of the Arab world that Israel is not the cause of the region’s problems. This is leading them to focus increasingly on the real threats and to work with Israel, however clandestinely or reluctantly, in opposing them.”