WASHINGTON – Forty-four percent of Americans oppose the US decision to withdraw forces from northern Syria, while only 24% approve the move, a survey found. An additional 17% said they are indifferent, and 16% said they don’t know.The survey was conducted by Shibley Telhami from the University of Maryland and was presented at the Brookings Institute, where he serves as nonresident senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy.The majority of participants – 51% – said they never heard of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, while 29% said they heard “a little” about it, and just 20% said that they are well familiar with it.Some 48% of those who identified as Democrats said they support BDS, while 76% of those who have identified as Republicans said they oppose it.Accordingly, 62% of Democrats said they agree BDS “is a legitimate, peaceful way of opposing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.” A vast majority of Republicans, 76% said they agree that, “regardless of how BDS defines itself, it is an anti-Israel organization attempting to weaken Israel and to undermine its legitimacy. Some of its supporters are opponents of Israel’s very existence and may even be antisemitic.”While there is a strong disagreement between Republicans and Democrats around the support of the BDS movement, the majority of supporters of both parties agree that the US should oppose laws that penalize people who boycott Israel “because these laws infringe on the Constitutional right to free speech and peaceful protest.” Sixty-two percent of Republicans agreed with that statement, as well as 80% of Democrats.“The question of Israel-Palestine used to be somewhat immune to political polarization in the US,” Telhami told The Jerusalem Post. “[It] was never fully immune, but it was somewhat immune to the polarization.But over the past decade, through the Obama years and now through the Trump years, there has been an increasing polarization that has influenced American public attitudes toward Israel. So, there’s far more support for Israeli policies among Republicans and far more opposition to Israeli policies among Democrats. And this particular poll that shows that even more [polarization] is taking place on issues that typically escape this kind of polarization.”Following the September 14 attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil fields, the survey found that the majority of Democrats and Republicans alike oppose military action against Iran if sufficient evidence emerges that Iran is responsible for the attack. Fifty-three percent of Republicans and 77% of Democrats said they oppose military action.Participants asked which factors are in explaining the escalation in the Gulf region that has endangered the oil trade.Thirty-five percent of participants said that the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal is the most crucial factor, and 34% said that the most important factor is the US imposition of new sanctions on Iran, including on its oil exports. An additional 22% said it is the nature of the Iranian regime.