Popularity Context

AIPAC’s director is making his introductory remarks. When he announced that Bibi Netanyahu will be speaking tomorrow night, wild applause ensued. When he announced that President Obama will be speaking this morning, there was strong, but not wild, applause. Conclusion: Bibi is more popular than Barak with this crowd.

Not terribly surprising:somewhere between 20 and 40% of the audience–my guesstimate–of this crowd leans Republican. Bibi’s popularity, meanwhile, is more “ceremonial”–a reflection of support of him as a representative of Israel, not of his particular policies. I tried to get a few of the delegates to tell me their views of Israeli politics. They each made clear that they are here to support “Israel” and the U.S.-Israel relationship, and not the particular Israeli government. Several, indeed, told me that the don’t follow Israeli politics and aren’t cognizant of the differences between the parties.

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