Pew is out with new survey data regarding American attitudes towards Israel and the President’s positions and actions towards Israel.
— Pew Research Religion (@PewReligion) July 21, 2019
While U.S. Jews have a strong attachment to Israel, they are divided in their assessment of Trump’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Roughly four-in-ten (42%) say they think Trump is favoring the Israelis too much, while a similar share (47%) say he is striking the right balance between the Israelis and Palestinians. The rest either say he is favoring the Palestinians too much (6%) or they don’t know (4%).
As I’ve written about here many times, American Jews are far less supportive of the President’s actions towards Israel than American Christians, especially white Evangelical Christians (Evangelicals, Charismatics, and Fundamentalists).
By comparison, Christians in the United States are more likely to say Trump is striking the right balance between the Israelis and Palestinians (59%) than to say Trump favors the Israelis too much (26%). Among evangelical Protestants, 72% say they think Trump strikes the right balance between the Israelis and Palestinians, and just 15% say Trump favors the Israelis too much.
The difference between evangelicals and Jews on this question partly reflects partisan divisions. Most evangelical Protestants describe themselves as Republican or say they lean toward the Republican Party, while most Jews identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party. Overall, Republicans mostly think Trump has struck the right balance between the Israelis and Palestinians, while 53% of Democrats think Trump favors the Israelis too much.
The none affiliated and those with no religion are closer in their views with American Jews than American Christians.
Partisanship also may be a factor when it comes to the views of religiously unaffiliated Americans (sometimes referred to as “nones”), who, like Jews, largely lean Democratic. Nearly half (47%) of the unaffiliated – those who describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” when asked about their religion – say they think Trump favors the Israelis too much.
Finally, and as one would expect, there are significant partisan and intra-religious divides in attitudes towards the President’s positions and actions regarding Israel.
The survey also shows that roughly eight-in-ten evangelical Protestants (79%) have a favorable view of the Israeli people, as do seven-in-ten mainline Protestants and about two-thirds of Catholics. People in all three groups are far more likely to say they have a favorable view of the Israeli people than they are to say the same of the Palestinian people.
By contrast, religiously unaffiliated people and those in the historically black Protestant tradition are more ambivalent toward Israelis. Those in both of these groups feel about as warmly toward the Palestinian people as they do toward the Israeli people. (The survey did not include enough interviews with Jews to analyze their views on these questions, because the questions were only asked of half the sample.)
I’ll close by once again belaboring the point that being opposed to Israel, its current government and governing coalition, and/or specific Israeli actions IS NOT THE SAME thing as being anti-Semitic! And that making claims of anti-Semitism by white Christian elected and appointed Republican officials, as well as elite and noted conservatives, for political purposes that equate Israel with Judaism are bullshit. The current Republican and conservative racism in defense of Judaism equated with Israel and Jewishness equated with Israeli is actually anti-Semitism. It defines American Jews as less American and more Israelis in waiting. It is a classic example of othering American Jews, of defining them outside of their nationality as Americans by equating Judaism, which is a religion, with Israel, which is a nation-state. It makes American Jews a fifth column that is not fully American because their allegiance is somehow to Israel. You can’t get more anti-Semitic than that.