New Pew Poll: Americans Support Israel Over Palestinians By 5 To 1 Ratio
December 28, 2012

A new national survey has shown that the American public supports Israel over the Palestinians by a five-to-one ratio. According to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press national survey, conducted during December 5–9, 2012, Americans sympathize more with Israel (50%) than with the Palestinians (10%). Support for Israel is consistent, though varying in degree, across the political spectrum. Thus, conservative Republicans back Israel over the Palestinians by 75% to 2%; moderate/liberal Republicans by 60% to 4%; Independents by 47% to 13%; conservative/moderate Democrats by 46% to 8%; and liberal Democrats by 33% to 22%. American Protestants support Israel over the Palestinians by 56% to 7%, American Catholics by 44% to 11% and even the often very liberal under 30 cohort supports Israel by nearly 2.5 to one (38% to 15%) (‘Public Says U.S. Does Not Have Responsibility to Act in Syria: Israel Support Unchanged in Wake of Gaza Conflict,’ Pew Research Center for the People & the Press national survey, December 14, 2012).


The results shown in this latest Pew Research Center national survey are consistent with the results of several recent surveys (as well as others during the period 2009–2010, the findings of which can be found here):


  • November 2012: A CNN/ORC International poll showed that, in response to the question – “In the Middle East situation, are your sympathies more with the Israelis or more with the Palestinians?” 59% of Americans answered that their sympathies were with the Israelis, as opposed to only 13% who said their sympathies were with the Palestinians. These results were consistent with those produced by the same question in January 2009 (60% – 17%) and May 2011 (67% – 16%) (CNN/ORC International poll, November 19, 2012).


  • September 2012: A Foreign Policy Initiative poll found that 70% of Americans view Israel favorably as opposed to 24% who view it unfavorably. When asked in an open-ended question to name the country that is ‘America’s best ally in the world today,’ Israel (16%) came second only to the United Kingdom (54%) (September 2012 Foreign Policy Initiative poll, Independent Media Review Analysis, October 1, 2012).


  • May 2011: A CNN poll found that 67% of Americans express sympathy for Israel rather than Palestinians, whereas only 16% expressed sympathy for Palestinians over Israelis. (This represents a rise of sympathy for Israel among the American public from 60%, and a drop of sympathy for Palestinians from 17% recorded in 2009). The poll also found that an overwhelming 82% of Americans regard Israel as either a U.S. friend or ally (44% regard Israel as an ally, 38% regard it as a friend), as opposed to a mere 17% of Americans who regard it as unfriendly or an enemy (12% regard it as unfriendly, a mere 5% as an enemy). Also, more than two-thirds of Americans – 67% – view Israel favorably (23% very favorably, 42% somewhat favorably) as against 33% of Americans who do not (24% somewhat unfavorably, 9% very unfavorably). 35% of Americans say the U.S. should take Israel’s side in its conflict with the Palestinian Arabs, while just a mere 1% favors backing the Palestinians (‘CNN Opinion Research Poll,’ May 31, 2011).


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “This latest survey again shows that Americans continue to display strong support for Israel as a U.S. ally and clarity of understanding as to the nature of the Arab war on Israel.


“As shown above, these findings are also consistent with numerous surveys taken by a range of pollsters over several years indicating strong and clear American public support for Israel over the Palestinians. This is the main reason why the U.S. Congress supports Israel – not merely because of the support for Israel of American Jews, but because of the overwhelming support for Israel from Protestants, Catholics and the American public in general.


“At the same time, we cannot help but note with concern that left-wing Democrats are noticeably less pro-Israel than all other cohorts listed, including the conservative/moderate wing of the Democratic party.


“The influence of anti-Israel forces within this wing of the Democratic party was clearly on display earlier this year when it approved the 2012 Democratic Platform that, in contrast to the party’s 2008 platform, deleted language from the 2008 platform that called for the isolation of the terrorist organization Hamas, no Israeli return to the perilous 1949 armistice lines, and the resettlement of Palestinian refugees of the 1948-49 war and their millions of descendants in a future Palestinian state. And it is no accident that the reinsertion of language from the 2008 Democratic platform on G-d and on Jerusalem being the capital of Israel was bitterly opposed by at least one-half of the delegates.


“It is clear enough from history that the Democratic Party has had its Israel critics, as have the Republicans. But today’s penetration of the Democratic Party by anti-Israel forces means that the American Jewish leadership must confront this threat and potential breaker of the American national consensus in support of Israel.”


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