How Americans Got “Warm” to the Palestinians

James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, interviewed on Jordanian state television, about 1990.

WATCH: The reason why Americans have been “warming” to the Palestinians

Gallup released a stunning poll on March 19, entitled “Americans Still Favor Israel While Warming to Palestinians.” While a majority of Americans “sympathize with Israel,” it says, a “record-high 25% side with Palestinians.”

General support for Israel remains quite high at 75%, the poll shows, but “support for emphasizing pressure on Israel is also at a new high of 34%, with a majority of Democrats taking this position for the first time.”

It is a great thing to see American support for Israel so high — in fact, a record high — but how has a quarter of the country come to support a political entity, the Palestinians, which objectively shares none of their cultural and moral values, against another, Israel, which shares them all?

The answer to this question partially lies in an obscure television interview with James Zogby, the head of the Arab American Institute. This rare footage, shot around 1990, shows Zogby in conversation with Dr. Walid Muhammad al-Sadi of Jordanian state television’s English-language division.

In the video, Zogby proudly details his strategies for turning American public opinion against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians. He goes forth to talk about the work he did in the 1980s of creating coalitions between American Arabs, blacks, Latinos, white progressives, and — crucially — leftist Jews. Through this strategy, non-Arab Americans could be persuaded that the “oppression” of the Palestinians is “theirs,” and too.

Decades of this kind of “intersectional” political organizing, as well as Qatari- and Saudi-funded anti-Semitic propaganda in the high schools and universities, has succeeded in turning multiple of generations of Americans against Israel and in favor of its enemies.

A side note: in the 1990s, when news of blacks being enslaved by Arabs in North Africa was breaking, Jesse Jackson was approached about helping rally American blacks to their aid. Again and again, he refused to help. Finally, his office revealed the truth: he wouldn’t touch the issue of modern-day African slavery because it would have made him look “anti-Arab.” Even when he was confronted about this in public, he dodged and rambled. Why was he so determined not to be a hero to the slaves? Because James Zogby was a consultant to both of Jackson’s failed 1984 and ’88 presidential campaigns, and Jackson was desperate to hang on to his and Arab Americans’ approval.

Watch Zogby’s seminal interview here, or read a transcript.

James Zogby Interview with Jordanian Television (c. 1990)
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