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Poll: Democrats Sympathize More With Palestine Than Israel for the First Time

The shift in opinion comes as the Israeli government is further entrenching apartheid against Palestinians.

Thousands of demonstrators gather at the Lincoln Memorial in support of Palestinians on May 29, 2021, in Washington D.C.

For the first time in Gallup’s history of polling on Israel’s violent occupation of Palestine, Democrats now sympathize more with Palestine than they do with Israel, new polling finds.

In a poll released Thursday, Gallup found that Palestinians now hold an 11-point lead in Democrats’ sympathies over Israelis, with 49 percent of respondents sympathizing with Palestine and 38 percent with Israel. Thirteen percent responded neither, both or no opinion.

This is a large increase in support for Palestinians over last year, when the pollster found that Democrats favored Israel 40 percent to 39 percent. It is a significant shift in opinion over past decades, as favorability for Israeli violence has remained above a plurality of 40 percent since 2001 — the first year that Gallup surveyed this issue — until this year.

The shift in opinions has caused sympathy toward Palestine to reach its highest point among all respondents, at 31 percent. The shift is largely driven by people in young generations, the poll says, with millennials and Generation Z slightly favoring Palestine overall.

Many independents came around on the issue this year as well, the poll found. While a plurality of 49 percent of independents still said that they favor Israel, the gap closed to its smallest point ever, with a record high of 32 percent of independents saying that they sympathize with Palestinians. The only group in which opinions didn’t significantly change was Republicans, whose support for Israel remained high, at 78 percent, in the most recent survey.

The shift could also be caused by the acceleration of Israeli violence in recent years. Last year, Israeli forces killed the most Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and West Bank in decades, and are continuing that violence this year at a rate that could potentially surpass last year’s grisly death toll.

In January, Israeli forces carried out a raid against the Jenin Refugee Camp in West Bank in which they killed at least nine Palestinians, in what United Nations analysts say was the deadliest single Israeli operation since 2005. Since then, Israeli forces have killed dozens more Palestinians, with at least 83 Palestinians killed so far this year.

This escalation has come as Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sworn, in his sixth term, to be the most far right leader in the history of Israel after collaborating with extremist right-wing groups in order to secure the victory.

Netanyahu’s extremist regime is, as Marjorie Cohn observed for Truthout, the most anti-Palestinian in Israeli history. His Zionist coalition has promised to “finish” taking over occupied Palestinian territory once and for all, incorporating it into Israel. This would essentially involve “cleansing” West Bank and East Jerusalem of Palestinians, Cohn wrote.

The polling demonstrates that, in stubbornly sticking to their support of Israel regardless of its fascist leaders and apartheid, elected Democrats are increasingly out of touch with their base. The presidential administration of self-labeled Zionist Joe Biden has been instrumental in this, giving billions to Israel to continue its occupation and even opposing Al Jazeera’s move to submit a case to the International Criminal Court over Israel’s killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh last year.

Meanwhile, in Congress, when the House voted on a bill to pile $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome on top of other funding already funneled to the apartheid, a whopping 210 Democrats, out of 222, voted for the bill, including, controversially, supposed progressives like Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-New York), who voted “yes”, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), who voted “present.”

Even Democrats who currently have little relevance in the political sphere are stubbornly advocating for Israel. Disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for instance, announced this week that he is launching the ironically-named “Progressives for Israel” to supposedly combat antisemitism — a line of reasoning that many Jewish advocates have denounced against time and again — in a bizarre move that has baffled political commentators.

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