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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


May 6, 2016  RSS feed
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Empathy for Palestinians up sharply among young Americans, survey says

NEW YORK (JTA) – Sympathy for the Palestinians is up most sharply among the youngest American adults, growing threefold over the last decade, a new survey by the Pew Research Center shows.

Some 27 percent of millennials are more sympathetic to the Palestinians than Israel; in 2006 the figure was 9 percent. The share of those favoring Israel has held steady at about 43 percent.

These figures may reflect the high profile push of pro-Palestinian groups on college campuses, particularly those supporting the boycott, sanction and divestment (BDS) movement against Israel.

Among Americans overall, 54 percent say they sympathize more with Israel and 19 percent sympathize more with the Palestinians, with 13 percent saying with neither side and 3 percent with both. Compared to a similar survey conducted in July 2014, sympathy for Israel held steady while sympathy for the Palestinians jumped by one-third, to 19 percent today from 14 percent in the earlier survey.

On Israel, the survey, published May 5, also shows one of the widest-ever gaps between the two main political parties.

Democrats are more than four times as likely as Republicans to say they sympathize more with the Palestinians than with Israel. While self-identified Democrats are more likely to favor Israel over the Palestinians (43 percent to 29 percent), they are far less sympathetic toward Israel than either Republicans or Independents.

Among self-identified Republicans, 75 percent say they sympathize more with Israel compared to 7 percent sympathizing more for the Palestinians. Among Independents, the sympathies are 52 percent with Israel and 19 percent with the Palestinians.

Among liberal Democrats, the least pro-Israel grouping, more respondents say they are sympathetic toward the Palestinians than toward Israel: 40 percent vs. 33 percent. While the pro-Israel figure has held steady, the pro-Palestinian figure is the largest it has been in 15 years, suggesting that sympathy for the Palestinians is growing among these Americans who previously did not favor one side over the other.

Self-identified conservative Democrats and moderate Democrats favor Israel by a margin of 53 percent for Israel to 19 percent for the Palestinians.

Supporters of Hillary Clinton are more likely to favor Israel over the Palestinians (47 percent to 27 percent), while backers of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, are more likely to favor the Palestinians (39 percent to 33 percent for Israel).

On the Republican side, conservative Republicans favor Israel somewhat more than moderate and liberal Republicans do (79 percent vs. 65 percent).

The survey shows older Americans overwhelmingly favoring Israel over the Palestinians by a 4-to-1 margin, and Gen-Xers sympathizing with Israel more by roughly a 3-to-1 margin.

There is more optimism among Americans that a two-state solution can be achieved by the Israelis and Palestinians than skepticism that it cannot: 50 percent compared to 42 percent. On this, Americans younger than 30 are more optimistic (60 percent believe in the two-state solution) than Americans over 65 (49 percent say it’s impossible). About 61 percent of Democrats say they believe a Palestinian state can coexist peacefully beside Israel, compared to 38 percent of Republicans.

Overall, Americans are more convinced now than they were in August 2014, in the wake of the last Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, that a two-state solution is possible.

The new data is part of a telephone survey of more than 4,000 American adults April 4- 24 in which Pew surveyors asked respondents a range of questions about how they view the U.S. role in the world.

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