JPPI’s Voice of the Jewish People Index

Voice of the Jewish People Index – March 2024

Emerging Jewish American support for military action in Gaza, alongside growing sensitivity regarding the fate of Gaza’s civilian population

Despite President Biden’s warnings and former President Donald Trump’s criticism, there is broad agreement among Jews in the United States, including Biden supporters, and especially among Trump supporters, that Israel should enter Gaza to defeat Hamas, as revealed by the Voice of the Jewish People Index – March 2024, produced by JPPI.

The Index also found that among American Jews, there is high agreement with Biden’s statements that Israel acts aggressively towards the Palestinians and needs to pay more attention to the wellbeing of civilians. About half of those who define themselves as politically “centrist” believe that Israel is acting “appropriately” in terms of aggression in the Gaza Strip, while half of the “very liberal” (43%) believe that Israeli actions are “far too aggressive”. It is worth noting that this is an increase compared to February (37%). Among the “quite liberal,” the percentage rose from 12% to 18%.

At the same time, there seems to be a shift in the opinion of different groups regarding American support for Israel, with a certain increase in the percentage of American Jews who believe their country supports Israel “too much”. On this matter, the Voice of the Jewish People Index finds significant differences in the opinions of American Jews supporting the incumbent President Joe Biden versus those supporting Donald Trump’s presidency. While half of Biden’s supporters (46%) believe the U.S. supports Israel to an appropriate extent, 92% of Trump’s supporters believe American support is insufficient.

Does American Jewry still support a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians?

Even on this issue, opinions seem divided. There is a clear gap between Biden supporters and Trump supporters. While 62% of Biden supporters believe that “ultimately, there is no alternative to a long-term peace arrangement with the Palestinians”, only 23% of Trump-supporting Jews agree. In a survey examining the positions of Israelis on the same question, 79% of Jews believe that there is no chance for a peace agreement with the Palestinians in the foreseeable future, with 65% “strongly agreeing”. Among Arab respondents, 24% strongly agree with this assertion.

The survey also examined the attitudes of American Jews regarding settlements in the West Bank. On this issue, the stance of American Jews differs significantly from that of Jews in Israel. Liberal or liberal-leaning Jews, who constitute the majority of American Jews, believe to a large extent that settlements in the territories do not contribute to Israel’s security. In fact, 81% of very liberal Jews and 70% of liberal-leaning Jews agreed with the statement “settlements in the territories burden the IDF and harm the security of all Israeli citizens”, compared to 42% of Jews in Israel (according to a survey conducted by the Institute in Israel at the beginning of March).

Furthermore, the survey reveals that American Jewry is distancing itself from various recent expressions. Regarding the statements of the Senate majority leader, Senator Chuck Schumer, that elections are needed in Israel, there is widespread disapproval, except among the most liberal faction.

In parallel, there is widespread disapproval of the filmmaker, Glazer’s remarks at the Oscars about “using the Holocaust” to “justify the occupation.”

According to Dr. Shuki Friedman, Deputy Director of the Jewish People Policy Institute: “Even after half a year of fighting, it is encouraging to discover that the majority of American Jews still support Israel. This is also the case on issues where there is disagreement between the government, which the majority of them support, and Israel. However, on fundamental questions, such as the future of Judea and Samaria, there is an enduring division that seems unchanged between us and our brothers in the Jewish community in the United States.”

The survey was conducted among 800 American Jews registered with the Jewish People Policy Institute’s panel. The report does not provide a weighted data that represents the position of “American Jewry as a whole,” but the number of participants from different groups allows us to identify trends, clear positions, and gaps between different groups of Jews based on religious affiliation, proximity to Israel, political stance, connection to Judaism, and more.

The survey, along with all the graphs, can be found in the Voice of the Jewish People Index – March 2024