Washington, August 1 –
Public support for Israel in the United States steadily deepened as the conflict between the Jewish state and Hamas escalated into a ground war, according to polling data collected by Paragon Insights and published by The Israel Project today.
A new national poll surveyed 1,010 likely voters between July 21-22, 2014, specifically probing the sources of ongoing support and evaluating the effectiveness of messaging promoted by both proponents and opponents of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. The poll was conducted completely after Jerusalem had dispatched ground troops into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to erode the terror group’s tunnel infrastructure and rocket arsenal.
Fifty-four percent of Americans believe that the U.S. should support Israel, with majorities or pluralities across age and political demographics.
Hamas received the most blame for the current conflict, with 39 percent of those surveyed saying that the terror group is the “most responsible” for the fighting in Israel and Gaza. By contrast, just 6 percent of respondents believed Israel bore a majority of the responsibility.
More than half (58 percent) agreed with a statement made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “The difference between Israel and Hamas is that Israel is using missile defense to protect civilians, and Hamas is using civilians to protect their missiles,” and more than two-thirds of respondents (65 percent) believed that Hamas was a terror organization and that Israel must put an end to the group’s activities.
Support grew either grew or remained steady across major political demographics after Israeli troops entered the Gaza Strip. Fewer than 20 percent of Americans believe that Israel is overreacting in response to Hamas terrorism.
A second survey, conducted by Paragon Insights days before Israel launched its ground operation, found that an overwhelming majority (62%) had supported Israel’s use of military force to act against Hamas rocket fire directed at civilians.
“What is very clear is that American support for Israel has stayed near record highs, even as Israel faces challenges and scrutiny related to Hamas’s use of civilian infrastructure that no other urban fighting force in the world faces. Americans know that Israelis share our values and our interests, and they side with the millions of Israeli men, women, and children who live every day in fear of rocket fire and terror attacks from the neighboring Gaza Strip,” said Josh Block, CEO and President of The Israel Project. “They also reject Hamas’s use of civilians as human shields and the group’s blatant disregard for human life, which are at odds with what Americans believe.”
TIP is a non-partisan educational organization that provides factual information about Israel and the Middle East to press, policymakers and the public.