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Democrats’ sympathy for Israel has crashed nearly 25 percent in last nine months — Pew

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A new Pew Research Center poll from January 4-9 of American views on foreign policy shows that Democratic Party sympathies for Israel are crashing, down ten points in the last 9 months, from 43 percent to 33 percent. That’s a 23 percent crash. If this was the stock market, Israel would be considered a tanking stock.

Liberal Democrats now sympathize with Palestinians over Israelis by three-to-two, while Democrats overall are now virtually tied in sympathies for Israel or Palestine, 33 to 31 respectively.

While Republicans are overwhelmingly on Israel’s side. The gap of 41 points between parties in sympathies, for either Israel or the Palestinians, is at widest since 1978. Again, notice the numbers crashing for Israel among Dems:

Nearly three-quarters of Republicans (74%) say they sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians…

Democrats are divided – 33% sympathize more with Israel, 31% more with the Palestinians, while 35% sympathize with neither, both or don’t express an opinion. While Republicans’ views of the Mideast conflict have changed little over the last few years, the share of Democrats sympathizing more with Israel has fallen 10 points since April 2016, when 43% said they sympathized more with Israel.

Israel’s loss of sympathy among Democrats, while Republicans still adore it, per latest Pew poll

Benjamin Netanyahu is driving the trend: Half of Republicans like him, but Democrats and Democratic leaners don’t care for him:

 21% view [of Dems] Netanyahu favorably, while 45% have an unfavorable opinion and 34% do not express a view.

Pew polled 1500 people, and it says Israel/Palestine is considered the eighth most threatening issue for the U.S. (after ISIS, cyberattacks, North Korea, Russian power and influence, climate change, Chinese power and influence, Iraqi and Syrian refugees).

Democratic politicians who are bashing the U.N. Security Council vote on settlements? The public isn’t with them:

The survey finds that the United Nations – which along with Israel has been a focal point of political debate since the election – is viewed positively by the public.  Currently, 62% view the United Nations favorably, while only half as many (31%) have an unfavorable opinion.

Let’s drill down inside the Democratic numbers. Liberal Dems are down for Palestine, and even conservative Dems are falling out of love with Israel.

Among liberal Democrats, a greater share now say they sympathize more with the Palestinians (38%) than with Israel (26%). Liberal Democrats are the only demographic or political group for which a larger share sympathizes more with the Palestinians than with Israel. By contrast, a greater share of conservative and moderate Democrats say they sympathize more with Israel (42%) than the Palestinians (25%). However, the share of conservative and moderate Democrats who say they sympathize more with Israel is down 11 points since April 2016.

So the issue is dividing the Democratic Party, between liberals and moderates; and that means it is bound to be politicized, at last. During the Keith Ellison party chair campaign, and on into congressional races. Note to the base: House Democrats just voted overwhelmingly to condemn the president’s decision to abstain on the Security Council resolution that called all settlements, including of East Jerusalem, a flagrant violation of international law.


Not sure I care about this Pew number, but:

Overall, 53% say they think a way can be found for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to coexist peacefully with each other, while somewhat fewer (39%) do not think this is possible.

Across age groups, young adults are much more optimistic on this question than older adults: 65% of those ages 18-29 think a way can be found for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to peacefully coexist; about half of older adults say the same….

Most Democrats (60%) think there’s a way for Israel and an independent Palestinians state to peacefully coexist (32% do not think so).

The poll has interesting numbers on the spiking distrust of Russia, even among Democrats. They’re blaming Russia for the election debacle, not themselves, says Adam Horowitz (h/t).

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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16 Responses

  1. Citizen on January 12, 2017, 6:52 pm

    Adam H is right re blaming Russia. Might as well blame Wikileaks and Snowden too. I doubt GOP types know much in any detail about Netanyahu’s Israel or the Palestinian history.

    • jsinton on January 18, 2017, 6:57 pm

      Indeed, total logical disconnect in the left-wing cybersphere: Snowden, Manning, Assange… heros, give them medals. Alleged Russian hackers and Assange? Nuke em, make them pay. YAHHH! And yes, of course Republicans are a “challenged” group.

      • oldgeezer on January 19, 2017, 10:25 am

        I think you will find rhe disconnecrlt exists on both sides and that your characterization of the left is far too broad.

        As a left I remain a fan of Julian and wiki. As a left I reject the bs aboit Russia hacking. I concede they may have. What country doesn’t. The big cry is merely intended to distract from the contents of the emails.

        As for the republicans, yes far too many of them are.

  2. wondering jew on January 12, 2017, 10:53 pm

    Since the election, even before the un resolution abstention, bibi was cozying up to trump at the precise moment when liberal democrats were recoiling at the reality wrought by the electoral college and the voters of Wisconsin Michigan and pennsylvania. Of course the extreme anti obama rhetoric after the abstention is still ringing in our ears.

    If the issue is #8 on the foreign policy concerns list of the constituents, but #1 concern of donors, what’s a congressman to do?

    What percentage of democrats know who Keith Ellison is?

    • Mooser on January 13, 2017, 11:08 am

      “If the issue is #8 on the foreign policy concerns list of the constituents, but #1 concern of donors, what’s a congressman to do?”

      “Yonah” is right. The Constitution requires Congressmen and Representatives to legislate strictly according to the financial position of donors.

    • annie on January 13, 2017, 2:56 pm

      Of course the extreme anti obama rhetoric after the abstention is still ringing in our ears.

      but all that rhetoric doesn’t seem to have worked. most americans, 62%, view the UN favorably and most dems support obama’s abstention.

  3. Eva Smagacz on January 13, 2017, 8:44 am

    Since Russians snookered Neo-cons with its engagement in Syria, it’s handling of Ukraine, its support for detente between West and Iran, and it’s ability to befriend reactionary governments in Europe, not to mention Trump, the sources of threats that would be a “nice little earner” for military industry dried up.

    This, for me, is a reason why Russia is being resurrected as an “Enemy no.1” in media, after being written off by Obama Administration as a much smaller threat than China dragon flexing it’s muscles in Asia (Stephen Walt of Israel Lobby fame has a very good take on China-USA relations now and in the future).

    Obama’s sanctions being put on Russia are, in my opinion, a bone thrown to neo-cons.

    Trump, of course, offered not a bone but a feast to military industry, by saying that USA’s nuclear arms must be modernised, if not upgraded.

  4. Maghlawatan on January 13, 2017, 10:50 am

    Very bad news for AIPAC. Israel is supposed to be a cross party issue. Democrats are more likely to pay attention and Israel assured them that there would be 2 states. Now there is only only one and all the Israeli leadership are thugs. GOP voters are in large part evangelical rapturers which explains their loyalty.

    • Citizen on January 13, 2017, 2:42 pm

      About one in four Americans are evangelicals who believe Jews are the chosen people, and they must support them, as that is God’s command, and to go to heaven, and, for many, this means even if the USA and Israel have obvious conflicting interests. They would support using all of America’s blood and treasure to do as Israel wishes as they conflate Israel with all Jews. I know a few of these evangelicals, and the ones I know make very good neighbors as they are honest, caring, and helpful in a pinch, but I could never get them to reassess their view. No matter what facts I brought up about Israel’s conduct, and our government’s enablement of same, they always stuck with, “there’s always a few rotten apples in every barrel.” I never once heard one even mention the term “Zionism.” They were also very ignorant about the factual history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and about the influence of the Israel Lobby. They also wouldn’t know a Jewish person from a “redneck”–had no personal experience at all with the Jewish community. Anybody else here ever have personal contact with Evangelicals?

      • Mooser on January 13, 2017, 6:00 pm

        “About one in four Americans are evangelicals”

        That would be about 75 million people.

  5. xanadou on January 13, 2017, 3:54 pm

    “Pew polled 1500 people, and it says Israel/Palestine is considered the eighth most threatening issue for the U.S. (after ISIS, cyberattacks, North Korea, Russian power and influence, climate change…”

    Among a population of 319M, the number of the polled is more like a single piece of Highland chocolate toffee instead of a hearty dinner to a hungry stomach. Inasmuch as I hope that the numbers are a reflection of the changing POV, a substantially larger polling base would lend more credibilty. But I’m so starved for good news, I’ll take and enjoy that toffee, thanks.

  6. jonjames on January 13, 2017, 4:14 pm

    This interview is interesting – it points out the large support for Israel:

  7. Maghlawatan on January 14, 2017, 6:56 pm

    Israel struck gold with the Boomer generation who grew up reading Exodus. But they are beginning to die off. And Israel thought they would live forever.
    Millennials use social media where Israel is Voldemort and there is no Friedman or Blitzer to mediate the message favourably.

  8. John D on January 14, 2017, 9:13 pm

    The Pew poll results are interesting but the Republicans now all but control the White House, the Senate and the House.
    Even if some Democrats are finally waking up to the vile nature of the zionist regime in Tel Aviv, the fact that the next US President’s daughter has converted to Judaism and is married to an ultra-orthodox zionist who will be President Trump’s closest foreign policy adviser and who acts as gatekeeper for all foreign policy information must mean that the Palestinians can expect little if any sympathy from a Trump presidency over the next four years.
    The US has rendered itself irrelevant where finding solutions in Syria are concerned.
    It seems their irrelevance will also continue where Palestine is concerned.

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