Anti-Israel protesters at McGill University
Anti-Israel protesters at McGill UniversityREUTERS/Peter McCabe

While anti-Israel protests have erupted at college campuses across the US in recent weeks, the Arab-Israeli conflict is not a priority for the vast majority of college students.

A new survey conducted by Generation Lab for Axios found that eight percent of college students have participated in the demonstrations related to the Arab-Israeli conflict that broke out on April 17, a figure that includes both anti-Israel protesters and pro-Israel counterprotesters.

In addition, when presented with nine options for what issue is most important to them, only 13% stated that the Arab-Israeli conflict is among the most important issues in their eyes, the lowest of all nine options. In contrast, healthcare reform, education funding and access, economic fairness, racial justice, and climate change were all ranked as extremely important by at least 35% of students.

81% of respondents said that they support universities holding accountable students who commit acts of vandalism or destruction or other crimes, while 67% consider occupying buildings to be an illegitimate form of protest. 57% say the same about refusing orders to disperse.

90% said that it is unacceptable to block Jewish students from accessing parts of campus.

A plurality of students (34%) laid the blame for the current war on Hamas, which began the war with the massacre it committed on October 7. 19% blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and 12% blamed US President Joe Biden.

Despite the students' stated opposition to the methods used by anti-Israel protesters, more students said that they supported the recent anti-Israel protests than opposed them.

The survey also found that while a majority of people who participated in pro-Israel counterprotests would be willing to remain friends with people who joined the anti-Israel protests, a majority of participants in the anti-Israel protests would not tolerate a friend on the other side.