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National Survey Highlights Increasingly Negative Attitudes About Jews and Israel Among Progressives

An opinion poll from OnMessage Public Strategies and the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values found that respondents who identified as “progressives” hold negative beliefs about Israel and Jews in the U.S., more consistently than any other group in the broader electorate.
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October 24, 2022
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This weekend, anti-Semitism was thrust once again into the center of conversation in Los Angeles, as a far-right hate group unfurled a banner on a major freeway overpass echoing the canard of Jewish control spread by Kanye West. 

West’s antisemitic remarks have rekindled concerns about right-wing adjacent antisemitism. However, new data reveals an alarming trend at the other end of the political spectrum: increasingly negative views of American Jews and the state of Israel among self-described progressives. 

An opinion poll from OnMessage Public Strategies and the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values found that respondents who identified as “progressives” hold negative beliefs about Israel and Jews in the U.S., more consistently than any other group in the broader electorate.

Progressives were much more sympathetic toward Palestinians (56 percent) than Israelis (18 percent), and nearly half of progressive respondents said they believe Israel has too much power or they view the nation as an “occupier/colonizer.”

Four out of five progressives believe Jews have “unfair advantages that need to be addressed”, echoing longstanding antisemitic tropes.

Jewish advocates say these findings raise major concerns. For one, there are strong indications that far-left orthodoxy is the main driver of Americans’ increasingly negative opinion of Israel and questionable views of Jews in the U.S., notes David Bernstein, CEO of the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values.

“This poll confirms some of the worst fears of the Jewish community – that a dogmatic commitment to critical theory and a social justice lens can contribute significantly to antisemitism,” Bernstein said. 

He added that the poll reflects a tendency by far-left voters to “divide the world into ‘oppressors’ and ‘oppressed’” and “expel those they disagree with from their social circle.”

For example, two-thirds of progressives and 54 percent of “very liberal” respondents said they have effectively “cancelled” a friend or family member because of their political views.

“While the majority of Americans support freedom of speech, oppose hyper-partisanship, and support traditional liberal values, the far left continues to view politics as a zero-sum game,” Bernstein added. “And the results aren’t good for Jews.”

There is broad consensus across the political spectrum that “antisemitism is a problem in American society,” the poll found. But 43 percent of respondents blamed the opposing political party for the problem.

The online survey of 1,600 likely voters was conducted nationwide between July 30 and Aug. 3 and was stratified to reflect historic turnout. It also polled likely voters’ views on the upcoming midterm elections and their political priorities.

On a generic ballot, Republican candidates fared better than Democrats by 3 percentage points, 46-43 percent, with 11 percent undecided. The GOP is widely expected to win control of the House of Representatives in the November midterms, particularly as inflation continues to batter U.S. consumers and President Joe Biden’s approval rating remains low. 

OnMessage and JILV found that more voters “disliked” Biden than “liked” him (51 to 44 percent) and more opposed his policies than supported them (56 to 39 percent). Seven out of 10 likely voters say the country is on the wrong track, including nearly 80 percent of independents.

Inflation was the biggest priority among likely voters by a wide margin, cited by 64 percent of respondents, followed by jobs and the economy (48 percent), crime (35) and immigration (32).

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