A recent survey shows a majority of African Americans agree that Israel's statehood should be recognized, while half acknowledge that Palestinian terrorists continually attack Israel, and less than half believe Israel is responsible for Palestinians' humanitarian crisis.
The poll conducted by LifeWay Research last month indicates that in many ways, the black community is divided in its stance on Israel.
For example, when presented with the statement, "I am a supporter of Israel's statehood," 52 percent agreed, 18 percent disagreed and 30 percent were not sure, according to the LifeWay poll. However, less than half (43%) agreed with the statement, "Israel denies basic human rights to Palestinians," only 18 percent disagreed, with 38 percent having no opinion. But half of African Americans (50%) agreed with the statement, "Israel is regularly attacked with bombs and terrorist acts by Palestinians," with 18 percent disagreeing and 32 percent being unsure.
While most blacks currently support Israel, the bond between the two goes back to the civil rights movement in the mid-1960s, when rabbis marched with Rev. Martin Luther King to Selma.
Yet with the mainstream media often portraying Palestinians as being oppressed in their ongoing conflict with Israel – along with being influenced by the politics of progressive groups such as Black Lives Matter and Antifa – many in the black community are now divided on Israel.
"Needed social reforms in the U.S. may have distracted African Americans' attention from following challenges in Israel," LifeWay Research executive director Scott McConnell explains. "That hasn't turned many African Americans against Israel, but leaves many with honestly no opinion on matters of support, conflicts and even history."
But 42 percent view Israel positively, with only 27 percent having a negative image of the country and 32 percent having no opinion.
It was also discovered in the poll sponsored by the Philos Project that 61 percent of blacks say a political candidates' pro-Israel foreign policy would have no bearing on their vote.
There is also division in the black community when it comes to the way Israel is treated by the U.S. and other nations.
"African Americans are divided on the amount of help the U.S. offers to Israel, while 3 in 10 say the U.S. is doing the right amount, 23% say it's too much, 12% say it's not enough, and 35% aren't sure," LifeWay Research reports. "Two in 5 African Americans (39%) say the international community denies basic recognition as a nation to Israel, while a quarter disagree and 36% aren't sure."
And according to the survey, Israel's historical roots in the Bible have much to do with many African Americans' allegiance to the Jews.
"Among those who support Israel's statehood, 71% say a reason they do so is because every nation has a right to exist, and 30% say it's because Israel is the historic Jewish homeland," notes the LifeWay report. "Some African Americans point to religious reasons for their support: 28% say it's because Jesus was a Jew, 25% say they support Israel's statehood because it is important for fulfilling biblical prophecy, and 24% say the Bible says Christians should support Israel."
The historical plight of Jews as slaves to Pharaoh in the Bible also forges a connection between the two groups.
"Around a quarter say their opinion of Israel has been positively influenced due to the historic parallels between the enslavement of Jews in ancient Egypt and blacks in America (27%) and due to the similarities between the two groups overcoming oppression: Jewish people in pursuing the promised land and African Americans pursing civil rights (26%)," the survey results show.
Other reasons for blacks backing Israel have to do with it being the only democracy in the volatile region.
"Another 24% say their support is influenced by Israel being the United States' closest ally in an unstable region," LifeWay adds. "Still, other African Americans speak of Israel being a needed refuge for Jews after the Holocaust (15%) or the safest place for religious minorities in the Middle East (11%)."
Blacks standing with Israel & Trump
An ongoing Internet poll by I Side With… conducted on nearly 84,000 Americans since 2011 shows that those identifying as black participating in the survey support Israel more than 2 to 1 when asked, "Should the U.S. continue to support Israel?" – 51 percent answered "yes" and only 20 percent said "no."
In addition, a growing number of blacks in America are supporting President Donald Trump – an adamant supporter of Israel – with 34 percent now approving the president in recent polls taken by Rasmussen and Emerson, effectively quadrupling the president's support from that demographic in the 2016 election year (8%).