American awareness of the increasing attacks against Jews and the growing threats faced by Israel may not be reaching key audiences. Three new surveys on the perception of American Jews and Israel show changing views that reflect demographic and political trends.
Most U.S. Latino Millennial and Gen Z leaders believe anti-Jewish hatred warrants the least urgent attention among minority groups, according to a just-released American Jewish Committee study. Half of Latinos categorize Jews as ‘white’; a slight majority think that Jews do not face significant levels of discrimination; only 14% believe that antisemitism is getting worse; and Jews do not need help from the Latino community to combat anti-Jewish hatred.
The AJC survey also asked participants about their views of Israel. About twice as many young Latino leaders are more sympathetic to Palestinians than they are to Israel. The reasons cited for favoring Palestinians include many of the falsehoods pushed by anti-Israel activists, including that Israel is a criminal colonial state, against a peaceful solution and the aggressor against oppressed Palestinians.
Echoing this sentiment, an annual Gallup poll revealed that Millennials and Democrats sympathize morewith Palestinians than with Israelis for the first time in the survey’s decades-long history. While Republican sympathy remains consistent over the past decade, there has been a notable drop among Democrats and Independents. In 2023, 49% of Democrats sympathize with the Palestinians versus 38% of Republicans. The biggest drops in sympathy towards Israelis in the past 10 years by generation were found among Millennials and unexpectedly, the Silent Generation – those born before 1945.
While attitudes towards Palestinians and Israelis have changed, this is not the case with the Palestinian Authority and Israel. American views of Israel have remained fairly consistent over the last decade – 68% favorable – though favorability toward the Palestinian leadership has nearly doubled to 26%. Support of the PA among Democrats and Independents is growing while favorability for Israel is declining.
Gallup cites political polarization as one of the reasons for changes in support for Israelis and Palestinians. The polling organization also mentions decreases in religious observance as affecting results. Historically, sympathy for Israel is highly correlated with religion and religious attendance at places of worship.
Reactions to the Gallup poll from the American Jewish community were mixed. CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Matt Brooks, stated that declining Democratic support for Israel “is an extremely troubling trend.” His counterpart at the Jewish Democratic Council of America, Halie Soifer, indicated that “there is no contradiction between being pro-Israel and supporting Palestinian rights” and support for Israel continues in Congress and the White House.
In contradiction to the rising rate of anti-Jewish hate in the U.S., Americans have a more positive view of American Jews than other religious groups. The Pew Research Center’s study on inter-religious relations reveals that 34% of non-Jews have a favorable rating of Jews compared to only 7% who have an unfavorable rating. Mormons had, by far, the most positive attitudes towards Jews, followed by Protestants and Catholics. The lowest views were among those without a religious affiliation. Also, Democrats have a slightly less positive view of Jews than Republicans but substantially more positive compared to views of other religious groups.
Two thirds of Americans report knowing someone who is Jewish despite Jews making up only about 2% of the U.S. population. Americans knowing at least one Jew had double the favorability rating of Jews than those who did not know any Jews.