WASHINGTON, Thursday, August 04, 2022 (WAFA) – A new Brookings poll found that the large majority of Americans, including Republicans, are opposed to laws criminalizing the boycott of Israel.
The polls add a new dimension to what is already seen as a gap between “Democratic Party constituents, on the one hand, and the positions of elected congressional Democrats and the Biden administration, on the other, regarding U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
According to the surveys, conducted in May and in June by the University of Maryland's Critical Issues Poll, 33 percent of Democratic voters support BDS while 10 percent oppose it; the majority, 37 percent, said they did not know, while another 20 percent said they neither supported nor opposed it.
“One of the most controversial issues in American political discourse about the Israeli-Palestinian issue has been the question of boycotts of Israel, especially the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement. We sought to probe attitudes on this issue," Shibley Telhami, director of the University of Maryland's Critical Issues Poll, wrote for the Brookings Institute on Tuesday.
The opposition against the BDS movement continues to be strong in the Republican voter base, with 50 percent of respondents saying they are against it.
However, when asked whether they supported laws criminalizing the boycott against Israel, 68 percent of all respondents including a slight majority of Republicans said that they were against such laws.
The data point reflects a major disconnect between voters and lawmakers, who across the country in dozens of states have worked to pass laws that criminalize any boycott against Israel.
The polls - one conducted in May and another in June - also showed that Democratic voters view the Biden administration's positions to be favouring Israel.
While a majority of Democrats, 57 percent, said they do not know what the position of the Biden administration is, 26 percent said they viewed it as leaning more towards Israel versus three percent who said it leaned toward Palestinians.
"Most Democrats who expressed an opinion said that the administration’s positions leaned toward Israel more than their own," Telhami said.
The gap was even starker between voters and lawmakers.
Among Republicans, 26 percent of respondents said their representatives leaned more towards Israel than themselves, versus only 15 percent who said their lawmakers leaned more towards Palestinians.
Within the Democrats, 33 percent said their representatives were leaning toward Israel more than they were, while just three percent said lawmakers were leaning more towards Palestinians.
"The gap between the Biden administration and the Democratic public on Israel/Palestine remains wide - and the public perceives it," Telhami said.