An overwhelming majority of voters favor the U.S. taking a diplomatic or humanitarian response to Israel’s genocide in Gaza rather than sending more unconditional aid to Israel’s far right government and military, new polling finds.
According to Data for Progress polling of likely U.S. voters conducted in the days surrounding the start of the pause in the bombardment of Gaza in November, 61 percent of voters support de-escalation and a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, including 76 percent of Democrats, 57 percent of independents and 49 percent of Republicans, a plurality.
When asked what path they think U.S. officials should take in response to the assault, choosing all options that applied, voters strongly supported either using diplomacy to encourage Israel to begin a ceasefire in order to pursue the release of hostages, at 49 percent, and/or sending humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza, at 31 percent.
Even though Biden administration officials and members of Congress have been insistent upon sending billions of dollars to Israel in military and logistical assistance, the polling finds that voters do not favor this idea. Only 24 percent of respondents said that they think sending additional aid to Israel should be a priority.
Meanwhile, if the U.S. does choose to send assistance, the poll found that most voters say it should come with conditions in order to ensure that the aid isn’t being used to commit crimes against humanity. Sixty-three percent of voters said they agreed that the U.S. should only provide Israel with military aid “if they meet our standard for human rights,” including 76 percent of Democrats, 61 percent of independents and 49 percent of Republicans, again a plurality.
Conditioning aid to Israel has been a much-debated and widely disfavored proposal in D.C., despite its popularity among the public.
Biden administration officials have vowed not to draw red lines in the U.S.’s assistance to Israel, and the White House has moved to create what experts have said would be a “free-flowing pipeline” of weapons to Israel amid its genocidal military campaign in Gaza; this is on top of the fact that the U.S. is already the Israeli military’s top benefactor and has provided the country with many of the weapons that have been used in its current siege of Gaza.
Meanwhile, extremely few members of Congress, among them Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), have called for military aid to Israel to meet basic humanitarian standards — despite the fact that foreign aid is barred by U.S. law from being used for human rights violations.
However, the strong support for a ceasefire and Palestinian rights among the public appears to be steadily changing the minds of some lawmakers. Polling has continually affirmed that Americans support a ceasefire, while support for President Joe Biden and Israel has been falling fast as Israel continues its slaughter of tens of thousands of Palestinians. And supporters for Palestinian liberation have been flooding phone lines of Democrats in Congress for months now.
Seemingly as a result, or perhaps just in reaction to the utterly horrific reports coming out of Gaza each day, more lawmakers have been joining calls for a ceasefire each week. As of Monday, 60 House and Senate Democrats had spoken up in favor of a ceasefire, representing about 11 percent of Congress, according to The Intercept’s Prem Thakker. Though this is still a small minority of Congress, it is a major increase from the roughly a dozen lawmakers who supported a ceasefire seven weeks ago.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Missouri), who originally introduced a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the House on October 16, has encouraged people to continue contacting their representatives to ask them to back the proposal or thank them for doing so.
“When we introduced the Ceasefire Now Resolution, only 13 members of Congress supported it. The outcry in favor of humanity has been overwhelming,” Bush wrote on social media last week, noting the marked increase in lawmakers joining the call over the past weeks. “Your calls, emails, and protests are working.”