The Political Component of the Special Relationship
Politics is an instrumental factor in the special relationship, not its basis. The U.S. political process is the means through which the underlying factors -- the ideological-emotional components and strategic connections -- of the special relationship are converted into policy and actions. From its outset, the special relationship has had a political component.
In democratic systems, domestic politics -- political participation, voting behavior, and public opinion -- influence foreign policy. In the United States, a strong domestic constituency composed of various groups including, but not limited to, the American Jewish community has created and sustained a policy interest in Israel and has advocated its case. Although the pro-Israel forces are sometimes mislabeled "the Jewish lobby," it is useful to recall that some small Jewish groups (such as Neturei Karta and American Jewish Alternatives to Zionism) and some individual Jews do not support Israel, while various Christian groups (such as the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel and the International Christian Embassy) are advocates for the Jewish state. At the same time a strong and vocal group centered on, but not limited to, the Arab-American community, contests U.S. policies and opposes Israel's special position. Wooing the Jewish vote and courting Jewish political activists and financial support are elements of U.S. politics. Presidential candidates often make efforts to secure the Jewish vote as a means of winning electoral support in crucial states where there are large blocks of Jewish voters, just as they woo the support of other