This is about a new article in The Washington Post, ‘Widening Democratic Party divisions on the Israeli-Palestinian issue’ by Shibley Telhami and Katayoun Kishi, interpreting survey data that reveal softening support for Israel in the American public.
Republicans lean toward Israel more strongly than Democrats, largely because of its evangelical component. Even Jews tend to favor Israel less than evangelicals. Among Democrats, African Americans and women more strongly prefer neutrality. Young people and Hispanics are less supportive of Israel than most other groups; a narrow majority of those young people who favor one side or the other, actually favor the Palestinians (12-10%).
These findings tend to support what Peter Beinart and other liberal observers have been warning about how hardline Israeli policies are undermining support for Israel among American Jews, liberals, young people and minority groups. This is a sample of a fairly long article:
There are significant differences on concrete policy issues such as supporting or opposing a proposed Palestinian resolution at the United Nations to recognize a state of Palestine. Among Democratic and independent respondents, 82 percent and 81 percent, respectively, think that the United States should either abstain from voting on the issue or vote in favor of endorsing the establishment of a Palestinian state, compared with 52 percent of Republicans who would favor these approaches. While 15 percent of Democrats and 16 percent of independents think the United States should vote against endorsing a Palestinian state (or even use its veto to prevent such an endorsement), nearly half of Republicans would favor this approach.Part of this division is explained by the attitudes of the evangelical right respondents within the Republican Party, who not only overwhelmingly want the United States to lean toward Israel, but also tend to rank the Arab-Israeli issue higher in their priorities in comparison with the rest of the population. Nearly two-thirds of evangelicals want the United States to lean toward Israel, compared with about one-fifth of non-evangelicals. When it comes to how the Israeli-Palestinian issue ranks among U.S. interests, significantly more evangelicals than non-evangelicals (36 percent vs. 18 percent, respectively) rank it as the single-most issue or among the top three issues. On more concrete issues, the attitudes of this group tend to be even stronger than those of Jewish Americans. Nearly half of evangelicals favor the “Jewishness” of Israel more than its democracy, compared to only about one-third of Jewish American respondents.Less than half of evangelical respondents would support the United States voting in favor of the establishment of Palestinian statehood in the United Nations or abstaining from a vote, whereas 60 percent of Jewish Americans would support these measures. Furthermore, on the issue of how the United States should react to continued Israeli settlement building, the number of evangelicals who want the United States to do nothing is about 10 percentage points higher than their Jewish American counterparts. Interestingly, evangelicals seem to feel an even closer religious or ethnic tie to the issue than Jewish Americans. When asked why they would want the United States to lean toward Israel, 38 percent of evangelicals said they felt it was their “religious or ethnic duty to support Israel,” while only 24 percent of Jewish Americans responded this way. Still this is only part of the story.Another part of the story is not entirely new: the attitudes of women and African Americans. These segments, which provide essential support for the Democratic Party, also have been far more inclined to want the United States to lean toward neither side of the conflict and have tended to show this when it comes to concrete issues. This remains the case in this newest poll. For example, female respondents who want the United States to lean toward neither side in the conflict outnumber their male counterparts by 10 percentage points. This relationship tends to hold across party lines, with the percentage of those supporting neutrality consistently higher among women than men. African American respondents also overwhelmingly favor neutrality, with 80 percent saying the United States should lean toward neither side. This number is slightly less among Republican African Americans, but over half still favor neutrality. Among various ethnicities, African Americans had the highest proportion (78 percent) of those who favor Israel’s democracy rather than its Jewishness.
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[Regarding] a U.N. vote and possible action against Israel’s settlement construction, … about 42 percent of young people overall and 50 percent of young Democrats [favor] economic sanctions or more serious action as a response to Israeli settlement building and 78 percent favoring either abstaining from or supporting a vote in the United Nations for Palestinian statehood. . . .
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