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Poll shows Americans view both sides of Israeli-Palestinian conflict more favorably compared to recent years

Americans overall hold more positive opinion of Israelis, but younger generation is warmer toward Palestinians; 3-in-10 White Evangelicals believe best outcome for Israel-Palestinian conflict is one country under Israeli leadership

Pro-Israel supporters demonstrate in New York City, May 23, 2021 (Photo: Ron Adar / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

U.S. citizens view both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict only a bit more positively than three years ago, according to a recent poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center.

Overall, American adults hold more positive feelings toward Israelis than they do toward Palestinians, however, attitudes toward Palestinians are slightly warmer, among young Americans, with 61% of those under age 30 viewing Palestinians “very or somewhat favorable,” compared to 56% who feel similarly toward Israelis.

Furthermore, this group rates Palestinian leadership almost as favorably (35%) as the Israeli government (34%). 

Overall, 1-in-5 Americans say they have a very favorable opinion of Israelis, whereas only 1-in-10 have a very favorable opinion of Palestinians. Among Evangelicals, support is highest with nearly 9-in-10 White Evangelical Protestants holding a favorable view of Israelis (86%). 

Similar to polls from previous years, the Israeli government is viewed more favorably than the Palestinian government. White Evangelical Protestants are most likely to express this view (68%), followed by non-Evangelical White Protestants at 51%, Catholics at 50% and Black Protestants at 43%.

It should be noted that the survey did not define “Palestinian government” for the respondents. While Mahmoud Abbas leads the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, Gaza has been governed by Hamas since 2007.

The poll further revealed that U.S. public opinion varied considerably depending on political affiliation.

Among Republicans, 78% of those polled said they held "very favorable or somewhat favorable" views of Israelis, compared to only 37% holding a similar view of Palestinians.

By contrast, Democrats and Democrat-leaning Independents hold about equally positive views of Israelis and Palestinians. Among Democrats, 64% have a "very favorable or somewhat favorable” opinion of Palestinians, compared to 60% for Israelis. 

The poll also asked respondents what they felt would be the best outcome of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Only 35% of Americans said that a so-called ‘two-state’ solution, based on Israel’s return to the 1967 borders, is the best possible outcome for the conflict. More respondents, 37%, admitted they are unsure what the best outcome would be. Only 10% of Americans said the best solution would be to form one country under Israeli leadership, while more White Evangelicals, 3-in-10, favor this outcome for the conflict.

White Evangelicals are the group most likely to say that God gave the land – now called Israel – to the Jewish people. Fully 70% of White Evangelicals take that position, which is more than twice the number of U.S. Jews who answered a similar (but not identical) question in a 2020 survey. Of those American Jewish respondents, 32% said they believe God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people, which is a similar percentage (30%) to all U.S. adults who were presented with the same question in 2022.

The new survey also found that only 5% of Americans support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Some 84% say they have heard “not much” or “nothing at all” about it.

The poll surveyed some 10,440 Americans in March.

Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.

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