January 24th, 2009
02:05 PM ET
7 years ago

Majority of Americans support Israel during crisis, says poll

An Israeli soldier sits on his armored personnel carrier Tuesday, after pulling out of Gaza.

An Israeli soldier sits on his armored personnel carrier Tuesday, after pulling out of Gaza.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll suggests that six in ten Americans sympathize more with the Israelis than the Palestinians in the recent fighting in Gaza, and most believe that Israel's initial decision to take military action against Hamas was justified.

Sixty percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Saturday say they sympathize with Israelis, with 17 percent backing the Palestinians.

The poll was conducted while Israel was still taking military action in Gaza, so it does not reflect how Americans feel about the recent cease-fire in Gaza. But 63 percent of those questioned do think that Israel's initial military action was justified, with three in ten saying it was not justified.

Earlier: Rival factions trade accusations of spying, violence in Gaza

"Republicans are most likely to see Israel's military action as justified. Three-quarters of GOP respondents felt that way," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "But even among Democrats, 52 percent felt Israel was justified compared to 40 percent who felt the action in Gaza was unjustified."

Forty-three percent think the amount of military force used by Israel was about right, with 38 percent saying it was too much and 14 percent feeling it was too little.

Israel announced Wednesday that it completed the withdrawal of its troops from Gaza after a three-week military campaign against Hamas, which rules the territory. Israel said it had achieved its goals, which were to halt the firing of rockets into southern Israel from Gaza.

Earlier: Obama: U.S. will actively seek Middle East peace

But Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that's controlled the territory since 2007, also declared victory. More than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the fighting, according to authorities on both sides, since the conflict began in late December.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted January 12-15, with 1,245 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: Middle East
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. California Gold

    If the Israelis had been able to attack only Hamas then I would feel differently. The IDF used white phosphorous on innocent civilians. They bombed and killed thousands of innocent civilians. I don't support nor condone military aggression of this magnitude. I have witnessed first hand what Israeli is doing to their neighbors. None of Israeli's political, social, or military tactics are working to stop Hamas. They are, however, harming innocent people. Better do something else folks.

    January 24, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  2. Meka

    No one asked MY OPINION!

    January 24, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. Israel supporter

    We shall always support against the Palestinian!

    January 24, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. Rob

    Good ol America- brainwashed into thinking that Israel is somehow on a moral podium above Palestinians. If you look at the facts and look at the sheer magnitude of the suffering that Israel causes so many Palestinians to go through, you may find it easier to understand why a few rockets get fired. When the people are starved of nessecary resources, they will retaliate....welcome to life.

    January 24, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. dan

    This is terribly sad, but unsurprising news. We in America are not known for our empathy and this proves it. The Hamas attack on Israel that sparked this little war (though likely a response in their mind to some other aggression against them by Israel) killed a dozen people. Ten of those Israeli soldiers. Israel's response is to decimate the Gaza strip and kill 1300+ people?? Hundreds of them children. I dare you to tell me that's even close to a proportionate, appropriate response. These Americans polled aren't looking any further than skin color and religion. It's sickening.

    January 24, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. anon

    That's why the world considers most Americans as very prejudiced .... very preconceived .... and ignorant.

    January 24, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Independant from NY

    Until we expose the flaws and hypocrisy of Zionism then this senseless problem will never get solved. As a Jew and someone who has been to Israel and the West Bank, I despise the self-righteousness of both sides. But the fact that we give over $3BILLION in military aid to a country practicing it's own form of manifest destiny is despicable. Especially when our own country is so strapped for cash. How can we make such a poor investment??? Israel isn't destroying terrorists, they're destroying a nation and creating more terrorists! $3 Billion well spent!

    Democracy doesn't mean anything without secularism. Both Israel and Palestine have proven that.

    January 24, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  8. Melissa

    Still doesn't make it ok.

    January 24, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. catmom

    I wonder just who they are polling and what question was asked.

    January 24, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. PEACE ON EARTH

    I think I'm STILL an American, and I support BOTH sides.

    EVERYONE deserves PEACE!

    January 24, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. Kendall

    When the palestiian people stop saying death to Ameirca, and to Israel and stop electing terroist organizations to high office then the people in that strip will have the freedom they deserve as human being,
    -We shouldn't force our way of life on them and visa versa, if they accepted Israel's right to exist, but in Our Quest to conquoer the Mid East We started a war in the midst of an ongoing war that's bibilical, so IT"LL NEVER HAPPEN.

    January 24, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. NO they dont

    complete and utter nonsense its just the media putting a spin with their fake polling its so blatantly obvious the media is in the tank for the jews because guess what its being run by jews rupert murdoch(jewish) owner of time warner is jewish so thank you cnn for this blatant bull and keep doing wat you do best manipulate the news and public opinion to make americans think its o.k for israels use of force because the population agrees pathetic cnn

    January 24, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. j

    I think Israel has the right to defend itself and if someone was lobbing missiles at this country, you know darn well we'd crush them without a second thought.

    January 24, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. Esteban Horowitz

    The reason was justified, but the amount of force used was excessive and the whole military campaign seemed somewhat meaningless at the end, like if it hadn't accomplished anything whatsoever.

    January 24, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. Dawn

    I do support Israel, they have the right to be there as much as Muslims states. Remeber the Israelis have the right to defend themselves and they were there long before the Muslins. If we get Biblical.

    January 24, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. flyer

    Israel should have kept pounding them until there was nothing left. Hamas just will use the cease fire to rearm and start fireing rockets again. If that happens then Israel should go back and finnish them off.

    January 24, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. paul kyler

    The majority of Americans have their heads up their butts.

    January 24, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. Kamel

    To those who think that "the amount of military force used by Israel was about right...or it was too little," I suggest you get a hold of some pictures of women and children whose skin was burnt, bones were broken and flesh was minced by the amount of military force used by Israel.

    Such images will never show up on American TV Networks.

    The only losers in this war are women and childen, who make up more than half of the human losses in Gaza.

    January 24, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  19. Fredi

    Though I agree that the Hamas rockets started this "episode" of a seemingly never-ending conflict, and Israel of course has the right to defend itself. But look at the numbers: 100 Palestinians killed for every dead Israeli – even if you are an eye-for-an-eye person – it says ONE eye for ONE eye – not ONE HUDRED EYES. So, even if Israel has succeeded militarily, they have created martyrs on the Palestinian side.
    Clinton's job has not become easier.
    In the same way the US has killed over 100 Iraqis for every dead American after 9/11 (and sacrificed almost 2 of our own soldiers).
    As a result the US and Israel are creating more terrorists that we can capture or kill – there MUST be a better way – and I hope and pray the new administration finds it and has the courage to walk it.

    January 24, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  20. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Justified but disproportionate in scope to the threat and actual harm.

    January 24, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. FreeNLovIt

    We support civilized societies. How about that? I hate to have to be kidnapped and have fingers or toes cutoff. That's stone-aged principles there that we have to fight with.

    January 24, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. Willy Brown

    America wanted Israel to finish the job this time and not to act like us when people get upset at us we pull out. #44 will most likely not back Israel.

    January 24, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. Chuck

    If six out of ten Americans sympathize more with Israel than with
    Palestine, I'm wondering if the poll was taken in Tel Aviv.

    January 24, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. Frank

    If six out of ten Americans sympathize more with Israel than with
    Palestine, I'm wondering if the poll was taken in Tel Aviv.

    January 24, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. BN-W

    CNN and most of the MSM were very biased in favor of Israel. So this "poll" is most certainly biased as well.

    January 24, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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