Are you really certain that the West, particularly the U.S., will not come to Israel’s defense during the War of Gog and Magog? Given the historically strong and strategic relationship between our two countries, that just doesn’t seem possible.
Unfortunately, Ezekiel’s account is clear—no one comes to Israel’s defense. By definition, that includes the United States. I agree that is difficult to imagine, especially when one considers how consistent American public opinion has been in favor of the Jewish state over the past four decades. During the Six Days’ War in June 1967, for example, 56 percent of Americans told the Gallup poll that their sympathies lay with Israel, while only 3 percent sided with the Arab states. In February 2006, 59 percent of Americans told Gallup they sided with Israel, compared with 15 percent who said they sympathized more with Palestinian Arabs.1
What’s more, the number of Americans who view Israel as a reliable ally has climbed from only 33 percent in 1982 (when Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor and invaded Lebanon to stop terrorism and a massive buildup of Soviet armaments) to 41 percent in 2005, though it has fluctuated along the way.2
American support for Israel stands in marked contrast to Europe, however, where anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments are rising rapidly. Synagogues and Jewish schools and cemeteries throughout Europe are being burned, vandalized, or otherwise desecrated in ever-increasing numbers. Jews are being verbally and physically assaulted throughout Europe. Rockwell Schnabel, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, said at a dinner of the American Jewish Committee in Brussels in 2004 that anti-Semitism in Europe “is as bad as it was in the 1930s.”3 European polls increasingly show antagonism toward Israel and Israeli policies. In November 2003, a majority of Europeans actually named Israel as the greatest threat to world peace, ahead of Iran and North Korea.4
It seems like a safe bet, therefore, that Europe would not raise a hand to help protect Israel against attack. But would the U.S.? Even given historical trends and current indications of American support for Israel, we should expect that the closer we get to the War of Gog and Magog, the fewer Americans we will see strongly supporting the Jewish state. I’m already beginning to pick this up anecdotally on radio interviews in which a surprising number of callers say things like, “Why should we spend a dime to save Israel?” and “Let the Jews fight their own battles” and “The only reason we as Americans are getting attacked by Muslims is because we support Israel—the sooner we stop, the sooner there will be peace.”
The real test, of course, will come when Russia and Iran and their allies begin to move forces toward Israel. How many Americans would be willing to risk nuclear war with Russia and Iran to protect even a loyal ally like Israel—especially if Moscow and Tehran argue that they have no desire for a confrontation with the U.S. if we will just stay out of the way? Sadly, I suspect the number today is much lower than most supporters of Israel are willing to admit.
Those who already want American forces out of Iraq and Afghanistan are not likely to support a new war. Nor will undecided voters or those who believe we should finish the job in Iraq but then be done with the Middle East. Under such circumstances, it will be extremely difficult for any American president to commit forces to defend Israel.