Support for Palestine Increasing in the US

A recent survey of American adults under 30 revealed that 61% of that demographic currently have a favorable view of the Palestinian people. A seismic shift is taking place. A 2001 Gallup poll indicated that only 16% of American sympathized more with the Palestinians, while 51% sympathized more with the Israelis.

Just over two decades later, everything has changed. The percentage of Americans with more sympathy toward the Palestinians has almost doubled. Surveys taken across college campuses in the US indicate that the vast majority of college-age students strongly support the Palestinian cause.

There are several driving forces behind this seismic shift in perspective.

Many in the US and across the world no longer see Israel as the victim of aggression. Now they see Israel as the aggressor. Sympathies toward Israel and the Jewish people rose dramatically as result of the Holocaust. When Israel declared itself to be a nation on May 14, 1948, and five Arab nations attacked her, again sympathies arose, although few were willing to help.

Israel was not defeated in that war of independence, instead she grew stronger. With each passing conflict, Israel stood her ground and grew stronger. The narrative is shifting. It’s all about the narrative.

One of the main drivers of that shift of narrative is social media. Wars and conflicts are now witnessed through the lens of social media around the world, especially among young people. When Israel responded to the barrage of rockets coming out of Gaza with a military offensive in 2014, it became a watershed event in the shift of the narrative. Israel’s offensive left 2,251 Palestinians dead and more than 11,000 wounded.

According to Dov Waxman, director of the Y&S Nazarian Centre for Israel Studies at UCLA, “Such casualty statistics affected the way the world saw the conflict, and the ‘self-defense’ narrative that Israel was justified to attack wasn’t accepted universally outside Israel. It’s really the last decade, during which so many events and shifts in factors have changed thoughts in the public domain.”

Social media has shifted how the international community sees conflict. First-hand accounts of suffering challenge Israel’s self-defense narrative. Israel is caught in a conundrum. If it does nothing, attacks against her will only increase, if Israel response too aggressively, the narrative shifts against her.

Yet those who control the Gaza Strip are steadfastly committed to Israel’s destruction and Israel has little choice but to respond with strength to such aggression. The narrative is in fact shifting, but those who stand with Israel can see through the fog of social media false narratives.

by Pastor Rich Jones | February 9, 2023