One third of Americans are reluctant to vote for a pro-Israel politician, ADL survey finds
Anti-Israel stickers in midtown Manhattan, Nov. 30, 2023. (Photo: Luke Tress)

By Luke Tress
February 29, 2024

(JTA) – More than a third of Americans would be reluctant to vote for a pro-Israel politician. One fifth are uncomfortable buying products from Israel. More than 40% at least somewhat agreed that Israel intends to cause as much Palestinian suffering as possible. 

But nearly all U.S. adults believe Jews have the right to an independent country.

Those are some of the results of a survey published Thursday by the Anti-Defamation League, measuring antisemitism and anti-Israel views across the United States. The survey found that antisemitic views had increased since the ADL’s last such study, taken prior to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel and the ensuing war, though anti-Israel views had not. 

Thursday’s survey polled more than 4,000 U.S. adults in mid-January, with a 1.5% margin of error. 

As it has for decades, the ADL presented respondents with a list of 11 antisemitic tropes —  such as “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America,” and “Jews have too much power” — and found that nearly 24% of respondents believed in six or more of them, an increase of four percentage points since 2022. 

When it came to Israel, the survey’s authors said the overall number of respondents who held anti-Israel positions had not drastically changed since Oct. 7, based on a survey taken last summer. But the group found that views had become more polarized, with more respondents saying they “strongly” agreed or disagreed with negative statements about Israel.  

The poll found that many respondents viewed Israelis as callous or malicious toward Palestinians, with 43% agreeing strongly or somewhat that Israelis intend to cause Palestinians as much suffering as possible. A similar proportion said Israelis were indifferent to Palestinian suffering.

Nearly 36% agreed to some extent with the statement, “If Israelis had their way, they would live in a world where all Palestinians were killed.” 

One fifth supported, strongly or somewhat, the removal of Israeli products from grocery stores. And more than a third agreed to some extent with the statement, “I would not consider voting for a pro-Israel politician.” (Whether that finding bears out in the upcoming presidential election remains to be seen. While they disagree on Israel policy, all major candidates say they are supporters of Israel.)

In some cases, criticism of Israel overlapped with age-old antisemitic conspiracies. The survey found that 30% of respondents agreed in some measure that supporters of Israel control the media. And one third somewhat or strongly agreed that “Israeli operatives are secretly manipulating US national policy through [the pro-Israel lobby] AIPAC or other influence tools.” 

Despite the findings regarding anti-Israel beliefs, the overwhelming majority of respondents — 88.8% — said Jews had the right to an independent country.

Anti-Israel views were more widespread among young people and correlated with antisemitism, the poll found. Surveys taken since Oct. 7 have consistently found lower levels of support for Israel among young adults. 

Many respondents, especially younger Americans, expressed at least some degree of comfort with supporting Hamas. Slightly more than half of Gen Z respondents said they would be comfortable having a friendship with a supporter of the terror group. Twenty-seven percent of all respondents said it would be acceptable for a close family member to support Hamas.

Twenty-four percent of all respondents said they have a close friend or family member who dislikes Jews. Younger respondents were more likely to hold antisemitic beliefs, the poll found. Millennials agreed with the most antisemitic tropes, on average, followed by Gen Z. ADL polling showed that belief in the tropes generally declined between 1964 until 2014, when the numbers started trending upward.

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