Americans’ Reaction To The Israel-Hamas War

The Israel Journal at NYU
4 min readDec 12, 2023

By Nate Sirotovich

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The attacks on Israel on October 7th, 2023 by the internationally-recognized terrorist group Hamas marked a major turning point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been drastically altered for the worse, and thousands of civilians, both Palestinian and Israeli, have tragically perished. The American response to the war has largely been in support of Israel, although there is significant pro-Palestinian sentiment among the American people.

According to a Pew Research poll in 2022, Americans have more sympathy toward the Israeli government than the Palestinian government; additionally, they rated the Israeli and Palestinian people higher than their respective governments.

The Republicans are staunchly pro-Israel, with 80% of them claiming to side with Israel more than Palestine. However, the Democrats are much likelier to voice positive feelings with respect to the Palestinians, with 49% saying they had “a lot of sympathy for the Palestinian people,” according to a CNN/SSRS poll conducted on October 12th. 11% more Democrats have more sympathy for the Palestinians compared to the Israelis, a sharp contrast to Republicans, 67% more of whom favor the Israelis.

As the war drags on and more lives are unfortunately lost on both sides, more people have begun to voice their support for a ceasefire. A survey conducted by the Jewish Federations of North America has found that 72% of the public hopes for a humanitarian pause in the war, while 20% of the general population and 16% of Jewish Americans support an unconditional end to the fighting from both sides.

Another poll from Reuters/Ipsos conducted on November 13th and 14th has shown a drop in support for Israel since the start of the war. Compared to a month prior, the statement “the U.S. should support Israel” received 9% less approval. 32% of respondents agreed with it compared to 41% on October 13th. 39% of respondents agreed with the statement that “the U.S. should be a neutral mediator, 12 percent higher than in the October 13th poll, and 68% of those polled agreed that Israel should cease hostilities and begin to negotiate with Hamas, and support for this action was considerably higher among Democrats than Republicans.

The CNN/SSRS poll also revealed a stark difference in the way different generations perceive the conflict. The Israeli government’s military actions against the terrorist group Hamas following the latter’s kidnapping and murder of Israeli civilians on October 7th were rated as fully justified by 81% of those aged 65 and over. This is triple the rating given by those aged 18 to 34 (27%).

The CNN/SSRS poll (Photo: CNN)

According to a poll conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, 44% of Americans believe Israel’s military response has been appropriate, while 26% deem it excessive. 27% believe that Israel’s response to Hamas has not been significant enough. The survey also reported that 77% of Republicans, 69% of Democrats, and 54% of independents agree with American support for Israel.

There have been demonstrations attended by tens of thousands of people for both sides. Event organizers for the March for Israel in Washington, D. C. claimed that 290,000 people went to the rally, and another 250,000 joined their livestream. Additionally, thousands of protesters marched in support of Palestine, calling for a ceasefire. Tensions between Americans supporting either side have been flaring up, with many pro-Palestinian protesters being arrested. According to Reuters, antisemitic incidents in the United States have been up 400% since the war started.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations claims that anti-Muslim rhetoric is also on the rise. Horrifyingly, there has been anti-Muslim and antisemitic violence in the United States, including the murder of a child. Wadea al-Fayoume, a 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy was senselessly murdered by being stabbed 26 times. His mother was also stabbed, although she has survived the tragedy. Authorities claim that the attack was due to the family’s Muslim faith, and the alleged perpetrator is being charged with a hate crime as well as with murder. Additionally, Paul Kessler, a Jewish American, was killed while attending a pro-Israel protest, and a suspect who expressed pro-Palestinian views on social media has been arrested in connection with his death. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter and battery.

In summary, the war has seen thousands of innocent lives lost, rising tensions, and an increase in polarization in the United States and around the world. Anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim hate have both been increasing, and it should be our duty as a society to combat both.

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The Israel Journal at NYU

The Israel Journal at NYU is an explanatory journal dedicated to clearing up the conversation around Israel.