(JTA) – A Pew Research Center survey released Thursday [May 26] found that American adults are just not paying attention to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
A whopping 84% of adults surveyed said they have heard “not much” or “nothing at all” about the movement, which seeks to pressure Israel into changing its policy toward the Palestinians by promoting boycotts and economic sanctions.
Only 5% of the surveyed adults – who were of diverse religious backgrounds – knew “some” about it, and only 2% strongly support it.
Pew used an online panel to survey 10,441 U.S. adults from March 7 to 13, with the stated goal of better understanding Americans’ views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The margin of error for the full sample was 1.5 percentage points.
Jewish American organizations are at odds over how best and even whether to combat the movement, often referred to as BDS, and Arab American and Palestinian American organizations are generally in favor of the movement. That has led to fraught political clashes – but Americans by and large don’t seem to notice.
The survey also asked about views on how to best solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and only 35% favor a two-state solution, the outcome long favored by the United States and many other world power governments. The numbers changed little even among partisans, with 34% of Republicans and 36% of Democrats favoring the outcome.
As far as an alternative: 37% say they don’t know the best solution, while 27% favor a one-state solution, in most cases with a joint Israeli-Palestinian government.
The survey also found that Americans’ favorable impressions of both Israelis and Palestinians are slightly on the rise.
Since 2019, when Pew conducted a similar survey, favorable impressions of Israelis rose from 64% to 67%, and of Palestinians from 46% to 52%.
Favorables also rose for the peoples’ governments, although they were not as popular: Israel’s government was viewed favorably by 48% of Americans as opposed to 41% in 2019. Notably, in the interim, Benjamin Netanyahu, who had famously tense relations with Democrats, was ousted as Israeli prime minister.
The Palestinian government’s favorability rose from 21% to 28% and its unfavorable ratings dropped from 71% to 63%.
The questions, Pew said, did not give particulars on Palestinian government, which has two branches: The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Hamas-led authority in the Gaza Strip.
Older Americans were more likely to be favorable to Israeli people: 63% of those aged 18-25 viewed Israelis favorably while 77% of those 65 and older did.
Republicans also were likelier to view Israelis favorably: 78% said they had positive views of the Israeli people, while 37% said they had positive views of Palestinians. Among Democrats, 60% said they viewed Israelis favorably and 64% said they viewed Palestinians favorably.
Three out of ten Americans also believe God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people; that breaks down to 46% of Republicans and 18% of Democrats.