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Pew Study: Only 43% of American Millennials Sympathize with Israel

posted on: May 26, 2016

In a new foreign policy study released by Pew Research recently, the results have shown the lowest amount of support for Israel among American millennials than ever before. According to the Pew study, only 43% of American millennials support Israel, while 27% sympathize with Palestinians. Millennials have the most support for Palestine than any other generation, which is telling of the future of American politics with the long-beloved ally. Interestingly, it’s young American Jews who are also critical of Israel, partly because of a lack of connection to the country that older generations feel, as well as hesitancy to support antiquated Israeli policies that do not promote equality.

Youth in San Francisco protest Israel – Photo from


By Sam Kestenbaum

Americans overwhelmingly continue to side with Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a Pew foreign policy survey shows — except for Millennials are more likely to sympathize with Palestinians.

The survey, published earlier this month showed that a decade ago, Americans across the generations held similar views on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Not any more.

Today, Millennials — people born between 1980 and 1995 — are the only age cohort in which less than half (43%) sympathize more with Israel. More than a quarter of Millennials (27%) sympathize more with Palestinians.

This is the highest share of any generation, Pew reported.

“American Jews’ relationship with Israel is changing profoundly, but not in the way that many people believe,” writes Dov Waxman, a Northeastern University professor and co-director of the university’s Middle East Center, in “Trouble in the Tribe.”

As American Jews in general, but particularly younger ones, have gotten to know Israel better, they have become more critical, he says, and express their attachment to the Jewish state “by opposing, and even lobbying against, the policies of the Israeli government.”

Simone Zimmerman, standing, addresses an If Not Now protest in 2014

Simone Zimmerman, who came onto the national stage when presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders tapped her as his “Jewish outreach coordinator” in 2016, once felt her “duty going out into the world is to defend Israel.”

But she shifted to the left, becoming a prominent activist in J Street, which calls itself a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organization.

And in the summer of 2014, Zimmerman helped organize protests against the Israel-Gaza conflict. Those protests were the beginning of the If Not Now movement, in which Zimmerman is still a central figure.

Days after Zimmerman took the post with Sanders, he let her go after a social media post emerged in which she had insulted Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Sanders’ campaign faced “concerted and ultimately overwhelming pressure from American Jewish leaders” to suspend Zimmerman, including former ADL-head Abe Foxman, the New York Times reported.

Liberal Zionists, like her mentor, journalist Peter Beinart, came to her defense. “If you lose Simone Zimmerman,” Beinart opined, “you lose the best of Jewish Millennials.”