I have been closely following the monthly Harvard Harris polling group since October 7th to get a feel for how public opinion in our key ally is trending. There have been four polls to date and it offers some interesting insight worth reflecting on.
There is broadly good news…if such a thing can really exist at the moment.
Americans clearly support Israel and this support has not dropped off materially. Secondly, the group of most concern (18-24) and which has been repeatedly highlighted as the most anti-Israel (e.g. the campus issues) appears to be starting to trend more positively…slowly.
In response to four key questions that have been asked in each of the last four months – see graph below – American’s consistently and overwhelmingly state in high numbers that the 7th October was clearly a terrorist attack, was genocidal in its intent, can’t be justified and overall 80% support Israel over Hamas.
On newer questions, American’s also support Israel – 69% (same as December) believing Israel is trying to avoid civilian casualties and 66% (versus 63%) view Israel as defending itself as opposed to committing genocide.
18-24 AGE GROUP
Amongst the 18-24’s there does appear to have been a shift towards Israel – 46% feel the Hamas attack was justified versus 60% in December, 57% support Israel versus 50% in December and 43% believe Israel is “just trying to defend itself and eliminate Hamas” versus 40% in December.
I do not know the reasons for these results – it is due to many factors -but in some respects the result is the important thing. The one thing it is not a result of is disinterest – two thirds of American’s relate that they are following the issue closely (only 3% below the result immediately after 7th October).
There are of course less positive ways of looking at the results – one third of American’s disagree that we are defending ourselves etc and of course the results are probably different in other countries.
For now I will dwell on the positives – despite the relentless social media and media – American’s overwhelmingly support Israel – it is important that we in Israel continue to respect and acknowledge this, and for us all – without any over-confidence – realize that people do understand the real picture and that we are not alone.