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Netanyahu has taken a wrecking ball to Israel’s favorability ratings among Democrats

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The latest Pew survey on American attitudes about Israel and Palestine documents the growing partisan divide over Israel in the U.S. Four out of five Republicans sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians, but solidarity with Palestinians is surging in the Democratic base.

Currently, nearly twice as many liberal Democrats say they sympathize more with the Palestinians than with Israel (35% vs. 19%)

The Israel sympathy number has cratered in just two years:

The share of liberal Democrats who sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians has declined from 33% to 19% since 2016.

And Israel’s favorability among conservative Dems is also falling fast:

However, the share of conservative and moderate Democrats who sympathize more with Israel has declined 18 percentage points since 2016 (from 53% to 35%).

The poll clearly points to Benjamin Netanyahu’s role in driving these attitudes:

Netanyahu remains a deeply polarizing figure in the U.S… Nearly three times as many Republicans (52%) as Democrats (18%) have favorable impressions of Israel’s leader.

Pew reports that overall, American sympathies are the same as they were 40 years ago:

46% of Americans say they sympathize more with the Israelis, 16% say they sympathize more with the Palestinians

Back in 1978, it was 45 to 14! But when you sort people by party, you see the differences. Republicans are overwhelmingly on Israel’s side, Dems are divided.

Nearly eight-in-ten Republicans (79%) sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians, while just 6% sympathize more with the Palestinians

27% of Democrats say they sympathize more with Israel, while 25% say they sympathize more with the Palestinians.

The Dems have shifted in the last two years:

As recently as two years ago, in April 2016, Democrats were more likely to sympathize more with Israel (43%) than with the Palestinians (29%), with 16% saying they sympathized with both or neither.


Pew poll showing sharp partisan divide in sympathy for Israel.

Among liberal Democrats, there’s not a lot of argument. Palestinian solidarity!

The share of liberal Democrats who sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians has declined from 33% to 19% since 2016. Currently, nearly twice as many liberal Democrats say they sympathize more with the Palestinians than with Israel (35% vs. 19%)

I think we must attribute the change to Israel’s ugly international image under Netanyahu–

among liberal Democrats, more than three times as many have an unfavorable view of Netanyahu (49%) than a favorable opinion (15%).

Also to the percentage of Dems who see Trump as too favorable to Israel, per the survey. And the greater sympathy that young people have for Palestinians:

About a third of those under 30 (32%) say they sympathize more with Israel, compared with 23% who sympathize more with the Palestinians.

For all Americans above age 50, it’s 56 percent favoring Israel to 12 or 13 percent for Palestine.

And though all mainline religious groups have a more favorable view of Israel than Palestinians, when Pew polls the “unaffiliated,” the numbers flip: 29 percent to 26 percent more sympathetic to Palestinians. The unaffiliated are the young.

The young believe that a two-state solution is possible, by 60 to 28 percent, but older Americans are far more equivocal. Overall, half of Americans say the two-state solution is possible (49 percent), while 39 percent say it isn’t. Interestingly, Democrats are more likely to say so than Republicans.

The poll is based on 1500 adults interviewed between January 10-15.


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33 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    January 23, 2018, 1:11 pm

    I think the lousy (as I see it) preference for Israel over Palestinians among DEMs is due to the failures of MSM. Pnce upon a time (1980?) Americans were much more sympathetic to Palestinians as I recall. Is there a way to dredge up old numbers?

  2. Keith
    January 23, 2018, 1:24 pm

    PHIL- “…but solidarity with Palestinians is surging in the Democratic base.”

    Big deal. That and $2 will get you a tall drip coffee at Starbucks. The Democratic Party fat-cats are not influenced by the Democratic Party base. And the party base is loyal to a fault, ignoring strong Democratic support for Israel. How could it be otherwise in view of funding of the Party and its candidates by Jewish Zionists? Besides, Democratic unrest is centered primarily on Netanyahu and Likud, not Israel per se.

    • LHunter
      January 23, 2018, 6:55 pm

      Keith – sobering assessment of which I agree with.

      Having said that the tide is clearly changing in favour of the Palestinians. BDS, Linda Sarsour and the womens movement, Black Lives Matter, religious organizations like the Quakers and Presbyterians, the Green Party, Young Turks/Jimmy Dore/Mondo/JVP/Dem Now and many other people and groups are getting behind the cause. There’s much work to be done but thankfully more and more people are stepping up. Soon the 50+ generation will parish and with it thier steadfast support for Israel. The generations behind them are more discerning and will see Zionism for what it really is.

      Other than cutting cheques to US politicians, is there anything else that can be done in the US to further the Palestinian cause that isn’t being done ?

  3. amigo
    January 23, 2018, 2:09 pm

    This significant fall in support for the Apartheid Regime makes it much easier for Dick and Jane to openly condemn Israel without fear of accusationns of Antisemitism.

    No more will those who support equality and the right of self determination for Palestinians be cowed into silence by zioniist control of the media and the political whores .

    No siree , and boy will they be p—-d off when they realise they have been hoodwinked for decades and have coughed up in excess of 200 billion dollars of their tax money to sustain this Apartheid entity.

    Would not want to be a zionist in that environment.

    One other thing, I would not want to be Jewish either , given that the Apartheid Regime has spent decades telling folks that Zioniist = Jewish and Jewish =Zionist.

    Of course , I would hope that those real Jews who have opposed the Apartheid Regimes actions for decades would not fall victim to any vengeful acts.

    We will witness , Israel,s staunchest allies and propagandists (MW is littered with same) turn tail and claim they never supported the Apartheid Regime.

    You just cannot trust a zionist.

  4. ckg
    January 23, 2018, 3:33 pm

    With Republican Americans even more united on this issue and Democrats even more divided, Republicans will certainly exploit it as a wedge issue in 2018 and 2020 by attempting to carve-off Israeli-supporting Democrats. I can see it now. The DNC will counter by adopting more pro-Israel rhetoric and suppressing Democratic supporters of Palestinian rights. Sentiment for Palestinians will be attacked as helping Trump and the GOP. At times the Democratic establishment will smear us with invective in order to keep our voice from being heard.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 23, 2018, 3:51 pm

      Republicans will certainly exploit it as a wedge issue in 2018 and 2020 by attempting to carve-off Israeli-supporting Democrats

      as far as i am concerned, the more (and louder) exploitation the better. bring it on and let the PEP’s depart. i could care less about them.

      The DNC will counter by adopting more pro-Israel rhetoric and suppressing Democratic supporters of Palestinian rights.

      they already do that, so they should do it more — and more openly. not in the dark. let the people decide what they want, not the party. it will continue to rip the party apart.

      Sentiment for Palestinians will be attacked as helping Trump and the GOP

      they already do that. everyone who is not down with their russiagate mongering is smeared as pro trump.

      At times the Democratic establishment will smear us with invective in order to keep our voice from being heard.

      let them! f the dem establishment.

      • ckg
        January 23, 2018, 8:24 pm

        Indeed, Annie.

      • Citizen
        January 23, 2018, 11:25 pm


    • Rusty Pipes
      January 23, 2018, 7:41 pm

      This has already been the DNC’s strategy for years: “The DNC will counter by adopting more pro-Israel rhetoric and suppressing Democratic supporters of Palestinian rights.” Rather than giving real voice and power to Progressive democrats (Arab-American, Muslim American, BLM, Young voters, Berners, etc.), the DNC continues to resist reform. Maybe the looming 2018 elections will shake their complacency. One of my Establishment Dem friends has finally paused from blaming Berners and Russian interference for Hillary’s loss and noticed the Republican suppression of minority voters in states like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in 2016.

  5. Maghlawatan
    January 23, 2018, 4:37 pm

    Both the GOP and Israel live in a parallel reality where torture is love and war is peace. Zionism and Fox are hateful ideologies. Dems don’t watch Fox. They have universal values. Jewish Israelis do not.

  6. Maghlawatan
    January 23, 2018, 5:13 pm

    Netanyahu is a ####. I am not surprised Dems find him such a turnoff.
    This is very bad news for AIPAC. If Israel becomes a partiSan issue AIPAC will have to go to Masada.

  7. RoHa
    January 23, 2018, 6:13 pm

    What does this matter? It won’t have any effect on US policy.

    • JosephA
      January 23, 2018, 10:52 pm

      One day, it will. There will be a small crack — there is a small crack. Then, the bullshit relationship between the USA and Israel will quickly crumble. It’s going to be nasty!

      • Misterioso
        January 24, 2018, 3:04 pm


        As history attests, sooner or later, all nations act in their own best interests and the U.S. will not be an exception. Israel is not a U.S. ally or a strategic asset. It is a millstone around our neck, a major geopolitical liability that costs us well over $10 million per day and its ugly/illegal/brutal occupations of Palestinian and other Arab lands and dispossession of the native inhabitants creates enemies of America whose anger at us is entirely justified.

        In short: As went France and Algeria, Britain and Rhodesia, Belgium and the Congo, so will the U.S. and Israel.

  8. yonah fredman
    January 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

    I think it will take more than 7 and less than 19 years before a sizable portion of congressional Democrats will reflect this change. Because bernie showed that presidential candidates can raise money from the masses, a presidential candidate with pro palestinian inclinations could find him or herself in the white house without congressional democratic support like Barack Obama. Thus the change in Congress would be the true key to changing the Democratic party.

    • Citizen
      January 23, 2018, 11:28 pm

      Your time projection seems about right. Some of us here will be dead by then.

    • Keith
      January 24, 2018, 12:40 am

      YONAH FREDMAN- “Thus the change in Congress would be the true key to changing the Democratic party.”

      Dream on. The Democratic Party is incapable of change so long as it is financially dependent upon Jewish Zionists. Bernie was a Sheep Dog whose function was to lure disgruntled Democrats back into the party. Initially, he had the support of the Democratic Party to do this until it became obvious that he was interfering with Hillary’s coronation. He continues as a Sheep Dog. A vote for Bernie is a vote for the New Democrats, deceitful vocabulary notwithstanding.

    • Maghlawatan
      January 24, 2018, 1:27 am

      Neoliberalism will collapse sooner than you think, Yonah. Zionism bet the house on plutocracy. Things fall apart.

  9. Kay24
    January 24, 2018, 5:00 am

    If the zionist media had the honesty to cover this conflict as they should, using words like “occupation” and “illegal settlements” more often, have investigative reporting on occupied territories, especially the areas bombed into smithereens during he last attack on Gaza, and showed Americans how the Palestinians live under occupation, the suffering, the check points, the olive trees destroyed by illegal settlers, and basically show the American people, what the occupier does with their tax money, the numbers will change drastically. Israel will be disliked.

    The media keeps doing the occupier’s bidding, and hides the truth from the American people.

    • biggerjake
      January 24, 2018, 9:20 am


      I wonder why.

      General Assembly resolutions condemning Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity routinely get approved by more than 185 countries with only the US and a few sycophantic island nations voting no.

      How is that possible?

      Are Americans stupid?

      Are we being manipulated by some dark entity?

      Instead of the truth, are Americans being fed lies and B.S. by our media?

      Who could be responsible for such a travesty?

      Wouldn’t it take some kind of a conspiracy to accomplish such widespread brainwashing?

      If we could discover the people who have been foisting off these lies on the American people, what punishment would they deserve? Fines? Imprisonment? Death?

      • Kay24
        January 24, 2018, 6:35 pm

        When it comes to Israel, the majority of Americans are stupid. How else could Israel become a parasite, and a huge burden, without some American dupes, and some corrupt politicians, who can be bought (campaign donations and freebee trips) and made to put that parasitic nation before theirs? Israel controls America and we know it. America is something that can be easily moved the zionist way. America is being used as a doormat by the zionist nation, willingly.

  10. Ismail
    January 24, 2018, 10:05 am

    The significance of this finding depends entirely on how much Dem disaffection with Israel is due to Netanyahu’s incomparably odious demeanor and how much to true political support for Palestine.

    Maybe more than most others, Americans make personality-driven choices in politics – the “I’d like to have a beer with him/her” phenomenon. Obama enjoyed the enthusiastic support of liberals despite his relentless war expansions, Wall St bailouts, unprecedented rate of deportations and whistle-blower prosecutions, etc. Why? Smart guy, personable and charming, soothing….no matter that his politics were Neoliberal 101.

    Israelis may continue to shoot themselves in the foot (better than shooting Palestinian kids in the face) by voting ever more rightward, but if they wise up and pull another velvet glove over that iron fist with an Obama/Macron type of candidate, I fear we’ll see that support for Palestine drop to its former levels.

    Maybe they can’t, though – the imperatives of Zionist expansionism and appropriation may now be beyond prettifying. I hope so. But no one’s ever gone broke underestimating the political naivete of the US public.

  11. Ossinev
    January 24, 2018, 10:57 am

    “Are Americans stupid?”

    Good question. Well for starters they elected as President a narcissistic fruitcake and as part of the package a seriously unhinged Evangelical Armagedonnist as their Vice President. So an outsider could be forgiven for thinking well yes.

    To get a flavour watch the video in the article = hilarious

    On second thoughts an outsider could be forgiven for thinking they are completly away with the fairies.

  12. hophmi
    January 24, 2018, 11:34 am

    Actually, the polling does not show much of an overall increase in sympathy for the Palestinians.

    • Maghlawatan
      January 24, 2018, 2:25 pm

      Yeah but for Dems Israel is seen as positively as dogshit. Huge problem for AIPAC

    • Mayhem
      January 24, 2018, 8:25 pm

      Actually with the Republican support going from 50% to 79% and Democrats support decreasing from 38% to 27% since 2001 simple math tells us that Palestinian support has been declining despite aĺl the hoohaa over Netanyahu and Likud.

  13. Maghlawatan
    January 24, 2018, 3:27 pm

    Zionism is abuse.

    Israel is Larry. Raisman is Gaza

  14. Maghlawatan
    January 24, 2018, 5:15 pm

    There is only one thing worse than not getting what you want. Getting what you want.
    This beautiful song is a moan about the exile after the fall of the second temple.

    The Bots should never have gone near Palestine. Zionism is a human catastrophe.
    At least the music is classy. Zionism is pathetic.
    And Israel will fall anyway.

  15. MHughes976
    January 27, 2018, 7:18 am

    The Pew figures might indeed suggest that the Palestinians’ best bet is to dissociate themselves from Trump and cultivate the support that appears to be coming their way from the Democrat side. But that best bet is still a very bad bet, as the news reported here from New Orleans about the latest triumph of Israeli propaganda in very Democrat territory. A great deal of that apparent support is only the mirage endlessly created by the liberal Zionists, who exist to be agonised. They are really part of the mighty Israeli system, not a weakness in it. Things have gone our way to some extent, there is no denying, but mainly in the semi-closed world of universities and nowhere yet or hardly anywhere in the mainstream Western political world. I’m not very convinced by those who see cracks in the Israeli position and are counting down to the day when justice will prevail.

  16. Mayhem
    March 15, 2018, 8:45 am

    Sorry guys but a Gallup poll released on Tuesday found a surge in American support for Israel that hasn’t been seen since the early 1990s.
    Seems like your Israel bashing is falling on deaf ears.

    • MHughes976
      March 15, 2018, 1:13 pm

      Thanks for that interesting reference, Mayhem. It does look as if the neutralists have been coming off the fence pretty steadily since their high point in 97, clearly about 2 coming down on your side for every 1 on ours. The Gallup commentary mentions the religious factor. Our lot are gaining mainly among students, it would seem. I have sometimes mentioned Thurber’s ‘the night is dark and getting darker, the road is long and getting longer’. But sometimes there are a few signs of dawn.

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