Democrats don't follow Israel news - but don't like Netanyahu

Most Democratic voters don’t follow Israel news that closely, J Street survey finds.

Laura E. Adkins, JTA ,

NY Democrats rally in support of 2020 candidate Andrew Yang
NY Democrats rally in support of 2020 candidate Andrew Yang

Most Democratic primary voters don’t follow news about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict all that closely, but have warm feelings about both Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) Arabs.

Those are some of the findings in a recent survey commissioned by the liberal pro-Israel group J Street.

Four in five respondents agreed with the statement that “someone can be critical of Israeli government policies and still be pro-Israel.” J Street is critical of Israel’s presence in Judea, Samaria and the areas of Jerusalem which Israel conquered from Jordan in 1967.

Nearly two-thirds of the 800 respondents, 63 percent, had not heard about the BDS, or the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, against Israel. Only 9 percent said they had heard “a great deal” (4 percent) or “a good amount” (5 percent) about the subject.

Only 19 percent of those surveyed reported following news about the Israeli-PA conflict “very closely,” while 42 percent said “somewhat closely.”

Given the survey’s 3.5 percent margin of error, although the survey asked respondents who had heard of BDS whether or not they supported it, the results were not statistically significant.

When rating their feelings towards Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the PA Arabs on a scale of zero to 100, with 100 meaning a “very warm, favorable feeling” and zero meaning a “very cold, unfavorable feeling,” Netanyahu had a rating of 36 and Israel and PA Arabs 59 and 53, respectively.

In a separate question, 74 percent agreed that, “The United States should act as a fair and impartial broker in order to achieve a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians,” while 20 percent said we should instead “side with Israel during peace negotiations because Israel is our democratic ally and needs our support against a world that isolates them.”

The poll included likely Democratic primary voters from across the country and was conducted May 1-5 by GBAO Strategies.