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Continued bipartisan support in the US for Israel could be at risk in the coming years, US Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew warned this week.

While giving a speech at Reichman University in Israel, Lew said that fringe elements of both the Democratic and Republican parties could corrode American support for the Jewish state. 

“There are risks — in both the right and the left — of erosion on the margins that only makes it more important for there to be bipartisan support,” Lew said at Reichman University on Tuesday.

Polling indicates Americans on the far left and far right are generally much more critical of the Jewish state, as are younger voters, than their older counterparts, mirroring trends seen in Europe. 

“The question is, when you have generational change, will that be true 10 years, 20 years, 30 years from now,” Lew stated. 

In an era of intensifying polarization, maintaining bipartisan support for any individual issue is difficult, Lew claimed. The ambassador urged leaders in the United States not to allow Israel to become a divisive and heavily-partisan issue. 

“In the context of an America which is increasingly polarized, it’s harder to have bipartisan support,” Lew said. “It’s critical that [Israel] not become a partisan issue in the United States.”

The ambassador argued that Israel can maintain its support by winning over moderates from both sides of the political aisle. Though the more extreme members of the Democratic and Republican parties might be susceptible to anti-Zionism, centrist lawmakers are more likely to see the value in standing alongside an American ally with shared values, Lew stated.

“You don’t need either party to be 100 percent if you’ve got most of both. And that’s where the support for Israel is. It’s probably still close to 70 percent,” Lew said. 

Lew urged Israeli leaders to minimize conflict with American lawmakers by understanding both parties share similar interests. 

“My view is you try to keep the daylight to a minimum, not look for things that exaggerate how much space there is,” Lew said. 

Lew warned that support for the Jewish state is especially eroding among young liberals. He argued that Israel has more “work to do” in bolstering support among future generations of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum. 

He also lamented that the “enemies of Israel” are successfully demonizing the Jewish state to young Americans

“The images in America are brutal. There are enemies of Israel that are actively telling the story in a very negative way,” Lew said. 

American intelligence agencies revealed this week that Iran has encouraged and funded high-pressure disinformation campaigns among US citizens to tarnish Israel’s reputation. 

In his remarks, the ambassador batted down allegations that Israel has not taken steps to alleviate a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, pointing out that the Jewish state has delivered much-needed aid into the war-torn enclave.

“We work day and night to make sure things like humanitarian assistance are provided. And Israel needs to tell the story that it is making sure that people are getting what they need for there not to be a famine,” Lew added. 

Polls have surfaced in recent months suggesting that support for Israel may deteriorate with future generations of Americans. A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center showed that 47 percent of Democrats between the ages of 18-29 sympathize more with Palestinians than Israelis. Only 7 percent of Democrats within the same age group said they sympathized with Israelis more than Palestinians. Among Republicans aged 18-29, 28 percent said they sympathized more with Israelis than Palestinians, and 12 percent reported having more sympathy for the Palestinians.

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