A new Pew Research Center poll shows that a person’s views on the current fighting between Israel and Hamas are more affected by their age than their political views.
All age groups over 30 definitively blame Hamas more than Israel for the current fighting in Gaza, but 18 to 29-year olds split the blame more evenly. Just under 30 percent blame Israel more and 21 percent blame Hamas for the violence.
Millennials are even more likely to blame Israel than Democrats, 29 percent of whom blame Hamas while 26 percent blame Israel. Outside of the younger generations, the only groups to place more of the responsibility on Israel are African Americans and Hispanics.
A Gallup poll earlier this month got similar results. Americans between 18 and 29-years old described Israel’s actions in the current conflict “unjustified” 51 percent of the time. That result drops to 43 percent among those 30 to 49-years old, and to 29 percent among 50 to 64-year olds.
Shifting more of the responsibility toward Israel is a new trend among younger Americans. As reported by the Washington Post, during the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, millennials blamed Hezbollah more by “a 30-10 margin.” In 2009, during previous fighting between Israel and Hamas, they put the blame on Hamas at a 23 percent to 14 percent margin over Israel.
Ron Fournier of the the National Journal hypothesized that this shift is occurring because
“a generation of global citizens is rising to power without the Israeli narrative embedded so firmly in its consciousness. The so-called Arab Spring and the United States diminished influence abroad has created a new set of filters through which young people will consider the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a viewpoint that might be less inclined to favor the Jewish state.”
Fournier also said that this trend should serve as a “warning that Israel’s decades-old public relations and political dominance is coming to an end unless the nation’s leaders change the narrative and reset their strategic position with moderate Palestinians.”