American views on both Israelis, Palestinians have improved - Pew

A plurality of Americans (42%) view both Israelis and Palestinians favorably while 25% view just Israelis favorably.

AMERICAN AND ISRAELI flags fly during a demonstration in support of Israel at the US Capitol in 2002. (photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)
AMERICAN AND ISRAELI flags fly during a demonstration in support of Israel at the US Capitol in 2002.
(photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)

Americans tend to view Israel more positively than the Palestinians in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though views toward both sides have modestly become more positive in recent years, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

A favorable opinion toward Israelis among the US public went from 64% to 67% between 2019 and 2022. A favorable view toward Palestinians jumped from 46% to 52% in the same period.

Unfavorable views have declined from 28% to 25% toward Israelis, and 45% to 40% for Palestinians. Overall, 42% view both Israelis and Palestinians favorably while 25% view just Israelis favorably, 10% view just Palestinians favorably, and 15% view both unfavorably.

Currently, 48% of Americans view the current Israeli government favorably and 44% view it unfavorably. In 2019, 41% of Americans viewed the Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu favorably, and 51% viewed it negatively.

Favorable opinions of Palestinian government have jumped from 19% in 2019 to 28% in 2022. However, the majority of Americans (63%) still hold unfavorable views toward the Palestinian government despite an improvement from a negative 71% in 2019.

THE KNESSET building in Jerusalem holds one of the world’s smallest legislatures. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)THE KNESSET building in Jerusalem holds one of the world’s smallest legislatures. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Overall, just 18% view both governments favorably, compared with 29% who view just the Israeli government favorably, 10% just the Palestinian government, and 33% who view both unfavorably.

Demographic divide

The numbers change when accounting for age and political affiliation. Older Americans and those who lean toward the Republican Party tend to view Israelis more positively than younger Americans and those inclined towards the Democrats.

Among the under 30s, 56% view Israelis favorably compared with 78% who are 65 and older.While 46% aged 50+ view Palestinians favorably, 61% under 30 do.

Republicans seem to hold Israelis in much higher regard, both as people (78%) and as government (66%) than Palestinian people (37%) and government (18%).

Democrats, however, tend to incline slightly toward the Palestinians.

Around 60% view Israelis positively and 64% view Palestinians positively.

 On the Israeli and Palestinian governments, the numbers are 34% and 37%, respectively.

Close to half of all Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents view both Israelis and Palestinians positively.

Solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

While American views toward Israel and the Palestinians have warmed since 2019, the best possible outcome to the conflict itself remains a stumbling block.

While 35% support a two-state solution backed by US diplomacy, 27% back a one-state solution, though 16% seem to prefer a government that consists of both Israelis and Palestinians, 10% prefer one headed by an Israeli government, and 2% say they want a Palestinian-headed government.

Still, 37% say they are unsure what they want, and 1% have nothing to say.

Here, too, older Americans tend to back a two-state solution, while younger adults are more likely to say they aren’t sure.

Evangelical angle

Overall, white evangelical Protestants at 28% are more likely than other Christians to back a one-state solution headed by an Israeli government, while only 6% of Catholics, non-Evangelical white Protestants and Black Protestants support that solution.

White Evangelicals bring religious motives to their views.

Fully 70% of white Evangelicals believe that God gave the Land of Israel to the Jews, compared with 32% of US Jews who answered a similar question in a 2020 survey.

In addition, 86% of white Evangelicals have favorable views of Israelis while 37% view Palestinians favorably.Among atheists, agnostics or other irreligious Americans, Israelis and Palestinians tend to be viewed identically positive at 58% and 59% respectively.

BDS

Despite the media-savvy nature of the BDS movement, relatively few Americans even know about it, and fewer support it.

According to Pew, 84% have heard “not much” or “nothing at all” about BDS. Just 5% have heard something about it and support it, with 2% strongly supporting it.

Interestingly, more Republicans and Republican-leaning independents have heard of BDS than Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents who are more likely to support it.