Israel losing support among minorities and millennials

  • JTASalesStudy
What do you think of when you think of Italy? Maybe you picture beautiful works of art set against rolling Tuscan hills? Maybe a steaming plate of spaghetti topped with marinara sauce served with a deep red wine?
by BEN SALES | Jul 06, 2017

Now what do you think of when you think of Israel? If you’re like most Americans, you picture walls of concrete enclosing an austere and strict country. The men wear black hats, the women long skirts. Everyone looks pretty serious.

That’s what Brand Israel Group, a group of former advertising professionals who set out to sell Israel to Americans, found in a series of focus groups beginning in 2005. The group has since commissioned two surveys of the American public - in 2010 and 2016 - and didn’t like what it found.

According to the surveys, Israel has pretty broad backing among American citizens, but is losing support among a range of growing demographics. As pro-Israel advocates tout “shared values” between the United States and Israel, fewer and fewer Americans actually think they believe the same things as Israelis.

“Shared values are the bedrock of our relationship, and young Americans do not believe Israel shares our values,” said Fern Oppenheim, one of the group’s co-founders. “That’s a huge issue. We have to have a narrative about the heart and soul and humanity of the Israelis.”

The survey was conducted online last September and October and sampled 2 600 Americans among a range of demographic groups.

Knowledge of Israel has gone up - but favourability is down.

More people say they know more about Israel now than they did in 2010. While only 23 per cent of Americans said they knew at least a fair amount about Israel in 2010, the number rose to 37 per cent in 2016.

Knowledge of Israel grew among every demographic group except college students, where it fell precipitously - from 50 per cent to just 34 per cent.

But it appears that the more Americans learn about Israel, the less they like it. In 2010, 76 per cent of Americans viewed Israel favourably. In 2016, the number had fallen to 62 per cent. Levels of support have dropped as well.

In 2010, 22 per cent of Americans were “core” supporters of Israel, which dropped to 15 per cent by 2016.

Israel is losing out among a range of growing demographics, from Latinos to millennials.

The groups with relatively high levels of favourability toward Israel, according to the study, included men, Republicans and older Americans. The groups that like Israel less, are the mirror image: women, Democrats and millennials, along with African-Americans and Latinos. And those population groups are all growing.



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