Americans' support of Israel over Palestinians hits decade low

Friday, March 8, 2019
Michael F. Haverluck (

Israeli flag superimposed on U.S. flagThe latest nationwide poll shows that American support for Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians is lower than it has been in a decade – while backing for Israel’s militant Arab neighbors stands at an 18-year high.

Results released from the Gallup poll on Wednesday indicate that even though roughly three times as many Americans favor Israel than the Palestinians, support for the Jewish State in the United States is on the decline.

“The majority of Americans remain partial toward Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with 59 percent saying they sympathize more with the Israelis, whereas 21 percent sympathize more with the Palestinians,” the Gallup poll report revealed. “While still widespread, sympathy toward Israel is down from 64 percent in 2018 and marks the lowest percentage favoring Israel since 2009.”

Anti-Semitic movement in U.S. working?

In addition to American support for Israel being on the decline, Palestinian support is higher than its been in nearly two decades – an indication that the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement sweeping university campuses across the U.S. might be working.

“Meanwhile, the 21 percent sympathizing more with the Palestinians – statistically unchanged from a year ago – is the highest by one point in Gallup's trend since 2001,” Gallup divulged regarding Israel’s longstanding skirmish with its militant occupying Arab neighbors in the Middle East.

Anti-Semitism amongst Democrats appears to be high of late – especially with Muslim Democrats such as Somali refugee Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) clearly siding with the Palestinians over the Jewish State while making remarks directed against supporters of Israel.

“The 2019 poll was conducted Feb. 1–10, prior to Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar's recent remarks questioning U.S. support for Israel and suggesting that some supporters of Israel are pushing for ‘allegiance to a foreign country," the Gallup report pointed out. “Omar's statements have sparked a firestorm, with some in Congress calling for her to be censured or removed from her position on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, while others, such as New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have come to her defense.”

Even though Israel support from Republicans hit a high last year, the number of those with an allegiance to the GOP who sympathize with the Jewish State has declined over the past year.

“The percentage of Republicans saying they sympathize more with Israel in the conflict fell from an all-time high of 87 percent in 2018 to 76 percent today,” Gallup reported. “Last year's reading was taken as the Donald Trump administration was preparing to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem – a change that highlighted Trump's strong support of Israel.”

The drop in support for Israel was less significant among those from the other major party – and virtually the same with independents.

“The percentage of Democrats siding more with Israel fell less sharply, from 49 percent to 43 percent,” Gallup’s Lydia Saad informed. “The views of political independents are unchanged.”

Despite the modest decline in Israeli support from Democrats, the party’s sentiment for the Middle East’s sole democracy is lower than it has been in nearly a decade and a half.

“However, Democrats' sympathy for the Jewish State approaches the lowest level since 2005,” CBN News reported from the poll results. “Support for Israel within both major parties is also influenced by how conservative or liberal party members are.”

Less Dems supporting Israel

While there has been a slight decline in Republican support for Israel of late, Democrats’ shift away from Israel over the past several years has become more prominent, as more and more from the blue party are siding with the Palestinians.

“In terms of recent changes, however, most of the decline in net sympathy for Israel has occurred among liberal Democrats – from +17 in 2013–2016 to +3 in 2017–2019,” Saad added. “What this means is that nearly as many liberal Democrats now sympathize more with the Palestinians (38 percent) as with the Israelis (41 percent), with the rest favoring neither side – or unsure.”

Regardless of the fluctuations, it was found that the closer Americans are to the political right, the more disposed they are toward the Israelis.

“[I]t's clear that conservative Republicans have long been the most partial to Israel in the conflict – given their consistently high net-sympathy ratings,” Saad explained. “Moderate/liberal Republicans have the second-highest net-sympathy for Israel, followed by moderate/conservative Democrats, while liberal Democrats have the lowest net sympathy for Israel. Apart from the rank order, the gaps in net sympathy for Israel between the groups have been widening, with sympathy for Israel increasing among both Republican groups and decreasing among both Democratic groups.”

When Americans’ overall views toward Israel and the Palestinian Authority were surveyed on a four-part scale from “very favorable” to “very unfavorable,” results have been reported as relatively unchanged over the past several years.

“Sixty-nine percent of U.S. adults view Israel very or mostly favorably – down from 74 percent last year, but within the 66 percent to 72 percent range seen between 2010 and 2017,” Gallup disclosed from its annual polls. “Twenty-one percent view the Palestinian Authority favorably – identical to last year and similar to the finding most years since 2010.”

Global view of Israel plummeting

According to a BBC poll administered last year to 22 nations, Israel is among the most disliked countries in the world.

“Israel is extremely unpopular worldwide,” reported last May. “In one BBC poll of 22 countries, Israel was the fourth-most-disliked nation – behind only Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea.”

Even though most nations support Israel’s right to exist, a majority of countries surveyed side with the Palestinians in the ongoing struggle.

“Non-Muslim countries recognize Israel’s legitimacy and maintain diplomatic relations with it, but most are critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and ongoing occupation of the West Bank,”’s Zack Beauchamp explained. “Global public opinion at present is generally more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, creating real concern among Israelis that an international boycott movement, called BDS, could pick up some support.”

More than eight out of 10 nations consider Israel to be a legitimate country.

“Eighty-three percent of the world’s countries – and almost every country that isn’t Arab or Muslim majority – recognizes Israel,” Beauchamp noted.

The dispute over Israel’s West Bank settlements is a major reason many Palestinian advocates give for their anti-Israel stance.

“It’s clear that West Bank settlements are a key cause of Israel’s poor global standing,” Beauchamp continued. “Most of the world believes that Israel’s continued control of the West Bank is an unlawful military occupation, and that settlements violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. Though this view is supported by most legal scholars, Israel and pro-Israel conservatives dispute it. They argue that the West Bank isn’t occupied, and even if it were, the Fourth Geneva convention only prohibits ‘forcible’ population transfers – not voluntary settlement.”

For nearly 15 years, BDS activists have been selling the Palestinian victimization narrative to generate hatred for Israel.

“The BDS movement – which coalesced in 2005 – aims to capitalize on international anger with Israel,” Beauchamp stressed. “The movement’s strategy is to create costs to Israel’s Palestinian policy through boycotts of Israeli goods and institutions, divestment from Israeli companies, and sanctions on the nation itself – hence the name BDS.”

There are four major goals of the BDS movement – with the ultimate objective being the elimination of Israel from the face of the Earth.

“BDS plans to continue boycotting Israel until 1) all of the settlements are dismantled, 2) they believe Palestinians have been given equal rights inside Israel’s borders, and 3) Palestinians refugees are granted the ‘right of return,’ which means to return to the land and homes they used to inhabit in what is now Israel,” Beauchamp outlined. “That last goal has led BDS’s critics to label it a stealth movement to [4] destroy Israel’s existence as a Jewish State.”




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