Democrats and the young favor Palestinians over Israelis– new Pew poll

Philip Weiss

Mondoweiss  /  May 26, 2022

New Pew poll documents a political shift the Israel lobby and Democratic Party are registering with concern.

Pew today released a new survey that confirms other polls showing that Democrats and the young are turning against Israel.

More Democrats hold favorable views of Palestinians than of Israelis by 64 to 60 percent. The gap is similar among those under 30: 61 to 56 percent.

The numbers are starkly different on the right and among the old. Republicans have high favorability ratings of Israelis — 78 percent — and low favorability of Palestinians, 37 percent. Among those over 65, the numbers are similar: 78 percent have favorable views of Israelis, while only 47 percent have favorable views of Palestinians.

The Pew Research Center survey of 10,000 Americans in March suggests that animosity toward Israelis is growing among Democrats and the young. The number of Democrats (and Democratic-leaning independents) who view Palestinians favorably and hold an unfavorable view of Israelis is now 16 percent, compared to just 12 percent who hold a favorable view of Israelis and an unfavorable view of Palestinians, Pew says.

The gap is even larger among Americans under 30: 17 to 11 percent hold such oppositional views, with 17 percent favoring Palestinians/unfavoring Israelis. Three years ago the numbers were reversed: Young people with favorable-Israeli/unfavorable-Palestinians attitudes outnumbered the pro-Palestinian attitudes by 15 to 11.

That shift is the trend the Israel lobby and the Democratic Party are all registering with concern.

Support for BDS reflects these attitudes: 7 percent of Democrats support BDS while 2 percent oppose it, and the numbers are 8 percent to 4 percent among those under 30. The low percentages reflect the fact that nearly 85 percent of people don’t know what BDS is.

And this poll was before an Israeli sniper killed journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on May 11.

The data confirm what Shibley Telhami has been saying for the last two years, the young and Democrats are shifting toward Palestine’s side; and Democrats who know about BDS overwhelmingly support it.

Overall, American support and opposition to BDS are similar:

Overall, 5% of U.S. adults say they support BDS at least “somewhat,” including 2% who “strongly” support it. An additional 3% neither support nor oppose the movement, while 6% are opposed to it, including 5% who “strongly” oppose it. The vast majority of the public (84%) has not heard much, if anything, about BDS and, therefore, was not asked whether they support or oppose it.

Pew found surprising support for one democratic state among Democrats. While 36 percent of Dems want a two-state solution, 19 percent support a democratic one-state outcome. Imagine if the Congress actually reflected this strong sentiment! It is considered progressive in Congress to back two states.

Here’s Pew’s description of overall attitudes for a solution to the conflict.

About a third of U.S. adults (35%) say the best possible outcome would be that “the land is split into two countries, one with an Israeli government and one with a Palestinian government.” A similar share (37%) say they are unsure what the best outcome would be, while fully one-quarter say the best solution would be one country – either “governed jointly by Israelis and Palestinians” (16%) or “with an Israeli government” (10%). Just 2% say the best outcome would be one country “with a Palestinian government.”

Roughly equal shares of Republicans and Democrats (including those who lean to each party) favor a two-state solution, saying the best solution is to split the land into two countries with separate governments (34% and 36%, respectively). But Republicans (18%) are far more likely than Democrats (3%) to say the best outcome would be one country with an Israeli government. And Democrats (19%) are slightly more likely than Republicans (13%) to favor an outcome in which a single country would be jointly governed by Israelis and Palestinians.

Oh and look at this: This is why the Israel lobby has traction in the U.S., on both right and left.

30% of all U.S. adults say God gave the land that is now Israel to the Jewish people, similar to the share of Jewish Americans who expressed this view in 2020.1 …Among all survey respondents who believe God gave Israel to the Jewish people, a quarter (25%) say the best outcome of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be a single country with an Israeli government – well above the 10% of all U.S. adults who favor this outcome.

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-2006