Monday, November 06, 2023

By Daled Amos

Never take anything for granted.

That also goes for opinion polls on the attitude of Americans when it comes to Israel. For a very long time, the vast majority of Americans favored Israel over the Palestinian Arabs. 

And that support for Israel was bipartisan, shared by both Republicans and Democrats.

In January, the Pew Research Center reported that was changing: Republicans and Democrats Grow Even Further Apart in Views of Israel, Palestinians:

Currently, 79% of Republicans say they sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians, compared with just 27% of Democrats.
While 27% of Democrats sided with Israel, 25% sided with the Palestinian Arabs.

It was easy to ignore the warning signs when the overall general attitude toward the conflict remained in favor of Israel, with 46% of Americans sympathizing more with Israelis and 16% saying they sympathize more with Palestinian Arabs.

But just two months later, Gallup reported Democrats' Sympathies in Middle East Shift to Palestinians:
After a decade in which Democrats have shown increasing affinity toward the Palestinians, their sympathies in the Middle East now lie more with the Palestinians than the Israelis, 49% versus 38%.

So much for bipartisan support for Israel in the US Congress.

That question of support for Israel became even more important following the Hamas massacre of over 1,400 Israeli men, women, and children on October 7th. In order to properly deal with the Hamas threat, Israel needed US support, both military and moral. But how much could Israel depend on US support, especially with a Democratic president in office and just over a year till the presidential elections?

Thus far, Biden has been supportive overall, even taking in account criticisms of US pressure on Israel as it seeks to rid itself of the Hamas threat once and for all. 

But at the same time, members of the "Squad," especially Tlaib, have been pushing to deny aid to Israel and to implement a ceasefire, which would allow Hamas terrorists to live to attack another day.

A month after the 10/7 massacre, social media has been bombarding users with news, at times inaccurate if not outright fake. Arguments have been made and videos and images have been posted. Hamas and its allies are known for their propaganda prowess. Israel is known for its weakness in advocating its position. The preponderance of anti-Israel protests in the US, as well as around the world, make Jews even more wary.

What do the most recent polls say now?

Yesterday, Laura Adkins of The Forward, posted the following survey on Twitter, from the NPR/PBS Newshour Marist poll from October 11.

Here is an enlarged view:

The polling data behind the poll is available online.

This is not bad, especially after being bombarded with online images of massive protests against Israel. But that was just 4 days after the massacre happened.

What are attitudes now?

On November 2nd, Shibley Telhamy posted the results of this other poll: Is the Israel-Gaza war changing US public attitudes?
To probe the issue, the University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll with Ipsos asked several questions focused on the role of the United States and the perception of the Biden administration. The poll did not directly ask about attitudes toward the war itself but probed any shifts in public attitudes on the Israeli-Palestinian issue broadly. It was fielded October 20-22 among 1,021 respondents using Ipsos’ probability-based KnowledgePanel with a margin of error of 3.3%. [Methodology of the survey is available here.]
Shibley points out that the poll itself was taken only 2 weeks after the massacre, with criticism of Israel increasing, especially now that Israel is taking the war directly to Hamas in Gaza. We know that opinion of Israel is not static under such circumstances and more polls are forthcoming.

Among the points he makes:

Public opinion on U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian issue remains divided along partisan lines. The opinion of younger Americans is always concerning. Currently, 14% vs 16.2% of young Democrats are leaning toward Israel. Overall, 54.5% of young Americans want the US not to lean toward either side.

Most of those who responded to the survey say that Biden is “too pro-Israeli” as opposed to “too pro-Palestinian.” Forty percent of respondents say they are not sure.

Even those who want Biden to take Israel's side, not all are happy with the approach he is taking:
[T]hose who say that the president favors one side or the other sometimes include those who want the United States to take that side — but that they think the president is doing it more so than they prefer. For example, among Democrats who say Biden is too pro-Israeli, 14.8% also say they want the United States to lean toward Israel. [emphasis added]
An important conclusion of the poll addresses whether efforts by Tlaib and others to apply political pressure on Biden to stop supporting Israel are having the desired effect:
Third, more respondents say that Biden’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian issue makes them “less likely” (30.9%) than “more likely” (14.2%) to vote for Biden if the presidential elections were held today.
But here is the odd part. These are the results overall of all respondents. Even Shipley understands that Republicans are unlikely to vote for Biden just because he supports Israel, so the key is how Democrats responded.

Now take a look at the breakdown:

According to these numbers, Democrats at this point are more likely to vote for Biden based on his position on Israel: 28.4% vs 10.8%. That is surprising and noteworthy. Independents are a different story.

Obviously, as the reports of casualties in Gaza continue to come out, we will see changes in these polling numbers.

Nevertheless, overall the numbers seem to indicate that negativity and threats generated by the anti-Israel and antisemitic protests we are seeing are not having the massive effect that many fear.

All the more reason for the Jewish community to get its act together.

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!




EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


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