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Gaza and U.S. Public Opinion

Gallup finds that Americans are split on the question of whether Israel’s actions in Gaza have been justified or not. Overall, 42% say that they are justified, 39% say they are not, and 20% have no opinion. These results are comparable to a Gallup poll taken during the second intifada twelve years ago, but there are slightly more on the ‘unjustified’ side than there were then. As we have seen in other polls on related matters, there is a significant gap between Republicans and everyone else:


It is striking how evenly divided the public is on this question when there is total uniformity among political leaders in the U.S. that Israel is justified in what it has been doing. There is always a significant gap between popular and elite views on foreign policy issues, but it is still fairly unusual for a view held by almost 40% of Americans to have virtually no representation in Congress.

The generational divisions on this question are almost as great:


I noted in a previous post that Americans under 50 were relatively less sympathetic to Israel than their elders, since the Israel they know about is very different from the one that older generations knew. These results help to explain why that is happening. Younger Americans evidently have less patience with Israeli military operations, and they appear to be less inclined to accept the standard rationalizations for those operations. According to Gallup’s findings, most Americans under 50 don’t believe Israeli actions in Gaza are justified, and it seems likely that the operation in Gaza is making these Americans even less sympathetic to Israel. If this trend continues in the future, Israel will eventually find itself with few sympathizers in the U.S.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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