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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Demographics of Support for the Israeli-Palestine Conflict

Americans have generally been supportive of Israel and without US military assistance, Israel would certainly have struggled much more than it has. A recent Pew opinion poll, however, suggested that there are key demographic differences in terms of who is more or less supportive of Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians. The Christian Science Monitor has the story.
How one views Israel in the recent Gaza conflict depends largely on race, age, and political affiliation, the poll indicates. While 40 percent of Americans overall see the Palestinian militant group as the prime instigator of the current violence versus 19 percent who blame the Israelis, this gap is smaller – and even nonexistent – within certain demographic groups.
Consider differences among age groups: Among Americans 65 or older, the fault lies with Hamas, as 53 percent of them blame the militant group for the current violence, while only 15 percent blame Israel. Among Americans ages 18 through 29, however, 29 percent put Israel at fault, versus 18 percent who put the blame on Hamas.
Why are Millennials less supportive of Israeli policy? According to Alec Tyson, a senior researcher at Pew, the answer may have to do with religion, as young people are less likely to be members of denominations that tend to support Israel.

Keep in mind that the poll was conducted prior to the recent escalation of violence in Gaza, but it seems likely that the results wouldn't have been much different if the poll had been taken yesterday instead of earlier this month.

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