Palestinians, Israelis both gain in Americans’ esteem, survey finds

Palestinians, Israelis both gain in Americans' esteem, survey finds

U.S. public opinion of the Palestinian and Israeli people is warming, but Americans’ view of both governments improved even more, a new survey from the Pew Research Center revealed Thursday.

Between 2019 and 2022, positive views of Israelis and Palestinians as people rose from 64% to 67% for Israelis and from 46% to 52% for Palestinians.

Meanwhile, negative perceptions fell from 45% to 40% for Palestinians and from 28% to 25% for Israelis, the survey reported.

When asked about their views of the respective governments, Americans were less likely to approve of them than of the people, but the governments actually made more headway in recent years, the survey found.

Among the Americans surveyed by Pew, 48% approved of Israel’s government, up from 41% three years ago — a 7-point increase. Palestinian government favorability began much lower but had an even bigger 9-point rise — from 19% in 2019 to 28% this year.

Similarly, the negatives fell from 51% in 2019 to 44% in views of the Israeli government, and from 71% three years ago to 53% today for the Palestinian government.

There’s a larger age gap among those who approve/disapprove of both the people in each nation and those governments.

“U.S. adults under 30 view the Palestinian people at least as warmly (61% very or somewhat favorable) as the Israeli people (56%) and rate the Palestinian government as favorably (35%) as the Israeli government (34%),” Pew reported.

Older Americans are more positive about Israelis than they are about Palestinians, however. Israeli people have a net favorability of 78% among those 65 years of age and older, while that age group only had a 47% net favorability towards the Palestinians.

Differences in U.S. political party affiliation show up in the survey as well.

Pew reported those who said they were Democrats or independent voters who lean Democratic hold roughly equal favorable views of Israelis and Palestinians, at 60% and 64% respectively; and give Israel’s government a 34% favorable rating versus 37% for the Palestinian administration.

Republicans and those who lean toward the GOP, on the other hand, hold a 78% favorable or very favorable view of the Israeli people, versus a 37% favorability for the Palestinians. Israel’s government draws a 66% favorable rating from Republicans, more than three times the 18% given to the Palestinian leadership.

One-third of all survey respondents endorsed a “two-state” solution splitting governance of the land between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Slightly more than 1 in 4 — 27% — support a single state with an Israeli-Palestinian administration, while 37% said they were unsure of the best outcome.

Few Americans overall said they were familiar with the “boycott, divestment and sanctions” (BDS) movement that Palestinian activists have launched against Israel.

More than half of respondents — 53% — said they had not heard about BDS, while 31% reported not having heard “much” about it. A total of 15% said they’d heard either “some” or “a lot” about the effort. When asked, 5% of U.S. adults said they support the movement.

Pew said it conducted its survey online from its American Trends Panel, a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults randomly selected.

The 2022 survey of attitudes about Israel and the Palestinians was conducted March 7-13, and 10,441 respondents out of a pool of 11,687 responded. The margin of error, Pew said, is 1.5 percentage points.

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