Survey Finds Changing U.S. Attitudes Toward Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -
The flags of the U.S., Israel and the Israeli air Force are positioned near a missile launcher in Ashkelon, Israel, in this Aug. 1, 2012 photo, as then- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta participated in a joint news conference during their visit to the Iron Dome defense system launch site. (AP Photo/Mark Wilson, Pool)
The flags of the U.S., Israel and the Israeli air Force are positioned near a missile launcher in Ashkelon, Israel, in this Aug. 1, 2012 photo, as then- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta participated in a joint news conference during their visit to the Iron Dome defense system launch site. (AP Photo/Mark Wilson, Pool)

A survey by the Pew Research Center& published on Thursday showed a shift in millennial Americans’ public opinion toward support for the Palestinians, and a growing divide between Republicans’ and Democrats’ views on Israel.

Sympathy for the Palestinians has tripled among young Americans over the last ten years. Some 27 percent of millennials say they are more sympathetic to the Palestinians than Israel; in 2006, the figure was only 9 percent. The share of those favoring Israel has held steady at about 43 percent.

The Republican-Democratic split over Israel has widened. Whereas Democrats favor Israel over the Palestinians by 43 to 29 percent, among Republicans the ratio was 75 to 7.

Americans generally remain more sympathetic to Israel than to the Palestinians: 54 percent for Israel to 19 for the Palestinians and 13 favoring neither, 3 with both. Those numbers reflected no change for Israel, but a gain from 14 percent for Palestinians according to a 2014 survey.

Liberal Democrats were found to be the least sympathetic to Israel among respondents, with 40 percent expressing more sympathy for the Palestinians compared to 33 percent for Israel.

Self-identified conservative Democrats and moderate Democrats favor Israel by a margin of 53 percent for Israel to 19 percent for the Palestinians.

Supporters of Hillary Clinton are more likely to favor Israel over the Palestinians (47 percent to 27 percent), while backers of Sen. Bernie Sanders are more likely to favor the Palestinians (39 percent to 33 percent for Israel).

On the Republican side, conservative Republicans favor Israel somewhat more than moderate and liberal Republicans do (79 percent vs. 65 percent).

The new data was gathered in a telephone survey of more than 4,000 American adults between April 4 and 24.