The generational rift that explains Democrats’ angst over Israel

A deep Democratic divide over the Israel-Palestine conflict is persisting even after Hamas’ attack on Israel last weekend.

The young, liberal wing of the party has shifted significantly toward sympathizing with Palestinians more than Israelis in recent years. And a set of polls released this week show Democrats and younger Americans are less likely than Republicans and seniors to say they support Israel and that helping the Jewish state is important.

Those polls — the first conducted since the war began — show the partisan and generational divides continue despite a jump in Americans’ support for Israel.

In an Economist/YouGov poll conducted Sunday through Tuesday, 42 percent of Americans said they sympathized more with Israelis in their longstanding conflict with Palestinians, while only 9 percent picked Palestinians. Another 22 percent said their sympathies were about equal, and more than one in four, 27 percent, weren’t sure.

Last week, Hamas fighters entered southern Israel at the border with the Gaza strip and raided communities there, killing more than 1,000 Israelis and taking hostage hundreds more. The killings have been decried as an act of terrorism by President Joe Biden, who has expressed U.S. support for Israel in the aftermath.

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