What do John Dingell and Ron Paul have in common? They are not in the same political party, they are not both running for president, they are not from the same state, nor are they from the same region. Then, what could possibly be the thing that brings Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan who represents Ann Arbor and some suburbs of Detroit, and Ron Paul, the libertarian presidential candidate from Texas together? These two men were the only two representatives to vote "nay" on the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012.
The bill states that it is United States policy to keep Israel's security as a Jewish state, provide Israel with the "military capabilities to defend itself and help preserve its qualitative military edge," assist in negotiating the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as many more factors. These seemingly controversial suggestions seem as if they would garner more "nay's" than two, considering America's sentiment towards Israel. While Americans on the whole have a favorable sentiment towards Israel, with 71% issuing favorable to mostly favorable views of the country according to a semi-recent Gallup poll, that is significantly higher than the 95% of congressmen that voted for this bill.
While those in opposition of Obama have taken this as an opportunity to show just how pro-Israel America is, and how the passage of this bill would allow us to follow Israel into a fight with Iran for instance, they are missing a central piece of this legislation: the author. The author is Republican Eric Cantor from Virginia, who holds the distinction of being the only Jewish Republican. Despite being the only Jewish Republican presently elected, 80% of Republicans view Israel favorably, compared to only 65% of Democrats.
The passage of this bill through the House does not mean anything in itself, although it does prove to be a strong vote of confidence towards Israel, a very contentious topic, both on the national and international scale. According to a BBC poll, the United States and Nigeria are the only two countries with 50 or more percent positive views of Israel, while 11 of the 22 nations in this poll have 50 or more percent mainly negative views of Israel. As America leaves behind two of the more unnecessary and unpopular wars in this region, the introduction and incredible popularity of these measures is flabbergasting. It is now up to the Senate and ultimately President Obama to determine whether this seemingly unlimited support of Israel is enacted into law; however, its lack of press and extreme nature makes this an interesting, under-the-radar look into US-Israeli relations for the foreseeable future.