A majority of Americans say they’re more sympathetic to the Israelis than the Palestinians in the Middle East conflict, although Democrats are closely divided, according to a new Gallup poll.
The survey found that 58 percent of U.S. adults say they sympathize with the Israelis, 25 percent with the Palestinians and 17 percent neither/both/unsure.
Sympathy for Israelis has ebbed and flowed over the years, with 52 percent in 2005 choosing Israelis and 64 percent in 2013 backing the Jewish nation.
Support for the Palestinians, though, is at an all-time high in the Gallup survey. In 2017, 19 percent of Americans backed the Palestinians in the conflict. In 2005, it was 18 percent. Today, exactly one out of every four U.S. adults say they support the Palestinians.
Democrats are driving the shift in attitudes about the Palestinians, according to Gallup. The poll found that 39 percent of Democrats sympathize with the Palestinians while 42 percent back the Israelis.
Gallup’s Lydia Saad called the shift among Democrats “striking.”
“From 2002 through 2014, Democrats were significantly more likely to side with the Israelis than the Palestinians,” Saad wrote in an analysis. “Since 2014, that preference has gradually faded, and now Democrats are about equally as likely to sympathize with the Palestinians as with the Israelis.”
Among Democrats who call themselves “liberal,” 48 percent sympathize with the Palestinians and 33 percent with the Israelis.
Among Republicans, 79 percent sympathize with the Israelis.
Meanwhile, 50 percent of Democrats say the United States should put more pressure on the Israelis to make “the necessary compromises,” while 30 percent say the U.S. should put more pressure on the Palestinians. Among Republicans, 63 percent say the U.S. should pressure the Palestinians.
Overall, 34 percent of Americans say the U.S. should pressure the Israelis, while 44 percent say it should pressure the Palestinians.
The poll of 1,021 adults was released on May 28 and was conducted prior to the latest conflict.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Liorpt
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.