July 31, 2014 by Darius
Israel’s domestic “demographics problem,” the prospect of higher birthrates amongst its Arab community diluting the country’s Jewish majority, is well known. Israel is also facing a second “demographics problem,” though, one rather farther from home. According to a new poll released earlier this week, in the United States, support for Israel remains strong but is far weaker among the young and minorities – exactly the groups growing fastest in the US.
Older Americans blame Hamas over Israel for the current conflict at a rate of three to one. Among Americans aged 18 to 29, though, only 21% blame Hamas and 29% blame Israel. (The remainder either said Israel and Hamas share the blame or said they didn’t know.)
Hispanics, too, are much more likely to consider Israel more responsible for the current violence than Hamas. African-Americans are more evenly split.
Israel depends heavily on US support, but Israeli support in the US is largely a function of religion. Protestant evangelical denominations tend to be fierce supporters of Israel. Although evangelical churches themselves grew over the last decade, the US population is becoming more religiously diverse, and young people are less likely to belong to evangelical denominations.
In the short term, Israel is already having to deal with a US public that isn’t automatically supporting everything it does. In the longer term, changing US demographics could mean a real headache for the Israeli government.
For more, see Pew Research, “Hamas Seen as More to Blame Than Israel for Current Violence,” http://www.people-press.org/2014/07/28/hamas-seen-as-more-to-blame-than-israel-for-current-violence/