In an eye-opener, most California Democrats don’t want the US to side with Israel

(Ohad Zwigenberg/Associated Press)

In an eye-opener, most California Democrats don’t want the US to side with Israel

California Politics, Homepage News, Israel-Hamas

George Skelton

Dec. 18, 2023

This seems to me to be just beginning: California Democrats are overwhelmingly convinced that America should not take sides in these horrors


was in Gaza. But Republicans are strongly siding with Israel.

That’s based on a statewide survey conducted by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

It starts because for most of my life, the Democratic Party has been emphatically supportive of Israel and firmly supported by Jewish voters and campaign donors. Democrats and Israel are closely linked.

Democratic candidates receive support from Jews because of social issues and their advocacy for people of color and people who are struggling financially. That’s Jewish culture, says longtime Democratic strategist Darry Sragow, who is Jewish.

Bob Shrum, a former Democratic strategist and now director of the Center for the Political Future at USC, points out that the Democratic leadership still strongly supports Israel. Some people are outliers, but they do not represent the majority of elected officials.

Yes, but there is clearly a massive shift in voter support for Israel that has been going on for years and came to the surface during the bloodshed between Israel and Hamas.

More specifically, there is a generation gap. Younger people are much less supportive of Israel than their elders.

A PPIC survey in mid-November asked California adults these three questions, and I’m using the exact wording for context:

Have you heard of the escalating violence in Israel and Palestine? Almost everyone had 91%.

Does the United States have a responsibility to address the fighting in Israel and the Palestinian territory between Israeli forces and Hamas? People were divided: yes 37%, no 36%, not sure 27%.

Now the key question: Do you think the United States should side with Israel and the Palestinians in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or neither side?

Of all California adults surveyed, 61% said

the US we

should not choose either side. Only 28% believed that the US should side with Israel, even though America has been the most robust country since its founding in 1948. Nine percent thought the US should support the Palestinians.

A big eye-opener were the reactions from Democrats and Republicans.

Among Democrats, 63% said the US should remain neutral. Only 19% supported Israel. And almost as many, 16%, sided with the Palestinians.

In contrast, 59% of Republicans said America should support Israel. A majority of 4% sided with the Palestinians and 37% opted for neutrality.

I find these numbers breathtaking, says Sacramento-based Republican consultant Rob

Stutzman Stutzman

. He thought there would be more Republicans who would advocate neutrality, and more non-interventionists.

But he notes that Republican evangelical Christians have long supported Israeli control of the Holy Land.

Hamas, the Gaza-based militant group that started the current war with a murderous, mutilating and hostage-taking attack on Israel on October 1. 7 was not mentioned in the questions. It was all about

Israeli Israelis

versus Palestinians.

People under 55 were mainly in favor of American neutrality.

As the war continues, many people would like to see it end, whether that’s wishful thinking or not, according to PPIC poll director Mark Baldassare.

told me.says.

Sometimes there is the hope that by not taking sides, they will find a way to resolve the conflict.

“What exactly the poll means will take more questions to find out. Well, it certainly means there is less Democratic voter support for Israel than I thought. I especially wanted to hear from Jewish lawmakers about why they thought Democratic voter support for Israel is declining. .

There is an understandable reluctance among people to get involved in protracted conflicts, said Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino), co-chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus.

We’re trying to solve problems in other parts of the world, while in the US we have a full plate

But there is much more to the trend towards less interventionism.

As Times reporters David Lauter and Jaweed Kaleem wrote last week, anti-Semitism has become fierce again in the US. The revival started before the war in Gaza and has now accelerated.

Anti-Semitism is often called the oldest hatred, says Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), the other co-chair of the Legislative Jewish Caucus. It has always been with us and has become more and more overt.

Clearly, not everyone who does not support Israel is an anti-Semite. There are many of them

Nuisance nuances


Start with the global backlash against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wartime behavior: the brutal bombings and ground attacks that have killed more than 18,000 Palestinians, two-thirds of whom are women and children.

Jewish lawmakers agreed that this is one reason why Israel is losing the support of Democratic voters.

State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) is a former Democratic political consultant and is Jewish. He says there is a problem in the way the unrest in the Middle East is being framed in the discussion.

There is language on the surface that appeals to Democrats, especially younger people, but that is not consistent with the historical facts, he says. Simplistic, loaded words like colonists and apartheid. A ceasefire is another tempting phrase. That is easy to embrace, but it is so wrong because it would allow Hamas to survive if only this were repeated again.

A political fight is always about framing.

And things that are recognizable

like like

the Holocaust.

Older people are much more affected than younger people by the Holocaust that took place about 80 years ago, when the Nazis murdered six million Jews.

Many of us grew up with family and friends who were survivors, Gabriel recalls. People sat together around the dining table [concentration camp] tattoos on their arms.

He says the poll that really bothered me was recently conducted by YouGov for the Economist. It found that one-fifth of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 believe the Holocaust was a myth. Another 30% said they didn’t know if it was a myth.

Overall, half of American adults under the age of thirty are unsure whether the Holocaust was fact or fiction.

That is clearly a failure of American education.


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