Western Public Support to “Israel” Fades away! Featured

By Mustafa Ashour December 20, 2023 4536

 

Western capitals have witnessed million-man protests against the “Israeli” aggression, a shift in the youthful mood and segments of Western parties supporting “Israel,” widespread anger on the digital space against “Israel” for its massacres in Gaza, escalating public criticisms against “Israel” in gathering places such as sports stadiums, and a rise in the Palestinian flag. In addition to the condemnation in artistic circles against the “Israeli” brutality in Gaza.

Do we witness a path towards upcoming shifts in Western public opinion towards “Israel?” Is the aggression in Gaza revealing for the true nature of “Israel” and its bloodthirst in the Western imagination, as the massacres of innocent Gazan civilians made “Israel” look naked? Is it clearer to the public that what “Israel” is doing is a genocide of Palestinians, not a just war?

Forging a new path

The transformations of public opinion in major conflicts may seem slow and perhaps rigid, but there are events capable of breaking this deadlock, pushing issues towards a new path, and shifting public opinion. This is what the “Israeli” aggression on Gaza has accomplished, as there has been noticeable understanding in certain sectors of Western public opinion, especially among the youth, regarding the reality of the conflict, understanding the motives of Palestinian resistance, and an awareness of the colonial and racist nature of “Israel.”

In an article written by political analyst Shibley Telhami in early November, published by the “Brookings” Institution regarding the ability of the Gaza war to change American public opinion, he referred to a survey conducted by the Critical Issues Poll at the University of Maryland in collaboration with Ipsos (1), about shifts in American public opinion on the Palestinian cause, three weeks after the war. He pointed out that despite the official support for “Israel” from the White House and the Departments of Defense and State, the widening scope of the war allowed criticisms of “Israel” to emerge, leading to protests against it. The survey indicated that 71.9% of Republicans want the United States not to lean towards “Israel,” compared to 47.3% in last June, and 57.4% of Democrats want Washington not to lean towards either side, which are among the youth demographics, compared to 71.4% last June.

This was confirmed by “The Times of Israel,” (²) which stated that public opinion polls show a decline in the U.S. public's support for “Israel” due to the Gaza war.
This survey aligns with polls conducted after the aggression, revealing shifts in Western public opinion, especially among Americans, against “Israel.” These changes seem to be concentrated among the youth, described as the most present on digital and social media and the most avid consumers of news from new sources in the digital space. In a survey conducted by “The Economist” a month after the aggression on Gaza, it was noted that sympathy for “Israel” was declining. In the age group of 18–29, 25% expressed more sympathy for “Israel,” while 19% leaned towards the Palestinians. This indicates a convergence in sympathy between both sides, which is in the favor of the Palestinians. In contrast, among those aged over sixty, 62% expressed sympathy for “Israel,” with only 3% showing sympathy for the Palestinians. This suggests that younger demographics are significantly changing their perception, moving away from supporting or sympathizing with “Israel” or even understanding its brutality towards the Palestinians.

In another poll by “Quinnipiac” University conducted weeks after the war, despite showing support from both Republicans and Democrats for “Israel” and endorsing U.S. support for it, there is a significant generational divide regarding “Israel” and the Palestinians. The younger generation under 35 exhibits unfavorable shifts towards “Israel.” Younger voters are less supportive of “Israel” in its war compared to their older counterparts. According to the poll, 51% of those under 35 do not support sending weapons and military equipment to “Israel” in response to Hamas battle.

As for the “Gallup” (³) company, which focuses on measuring public opinion, it found that President Joe Biden's approval rating decreased by 11% in last October, reaching its lowest point since he took office. The sharp decline was among younger voters. However, the more significant aspect is the observed divisions within Biden's own administration. Younger employees expressed more concern publicly about “Israel's” actions against the Palestinians than their superiors. Undoubtedly, this poses an electoral dilemma for the Democratic Party, represented by Biden, as some groups of these employees within the U.S. administration urged putting pressure on “Israel” to stop the violence.

The poll indicated that Biden's immediate and decisive endorsement of “Israel” led to displeasure among some within his party. This resulted in his worst approval rating among Democrats since taking office as U.S. President.

According to a survey published by the famous “Daily Mail,” () while 40% of American participants aged 18–29 have a negative view of “Hamas,” more than half do not agree that “Hamas” is comparable to ISIS. Moreover, 32% have a negative view of Israel, while only 24% have a positive view. This represents a significant shift in American public opinion. However, the newspaper noted that some university campuses witness divisions due to the war, with debates and disagreements arising regarding the ongoing events.

In an extensive 62-page survey conducted by the Center for Studies at Harvard University (), it was noted that 52% of those surveyed believe that “Hamas's” actions on October 7, 2023, could be justified due to the injustice imposed on the Palestinians. Additionally, 59% reject “Israel” cutting off electricity and water supplies to Gaza after the “Hamas” attack.

Some analysts argue that the war between “Israel” and the Palestinians has created an American division not based on party lines but on age. This suggests that young Americans are becoming more distant from “Israel” compared to other age groups and compared to previous periods.

In a “Reuters” () report at the end of October, a rise in anti-Jewish sentiment was observed after the “Israeli” aggression on Gaza. It confirmed that hostility shifted in some areas to target Jews, with Jewish institutions facing attacks and Jews being described with derogatory terms. This period is described as the most terrifying for Jews worldwide due to “Israel's” war on Gaza. Schools were closed out of fear of attacks, as many people equate Jews with “Israel.”

The lingering question remains: Can public opinion break free from the Zionist influence in the West, especially in the United States? And could the Palestinian cause become an electoral matter where political parties present their programs to voters?

 

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(1) A global, multinational market research corporation based in Paris; it is the third-largest research agency in the world.