A generational divide is opening up with older Christians still supporting Israel while a younger generation learns more about the conflict and holds divergent views.
Evangelical Christians, a core support base for Israel in the US for decades, are experiencing an ideological shift as support toward the Jewish state is on the wane amongst younger adherents of the faith, according to a new study.
Conducted before the latest Israeli attack on Gaza, which left more than 250 civilians dead and thousands injured, the poll asked Christians between the ages of 18 and 29 about their thoughts on the Israeli-Palestine conflict.
Only 33 percent said they supported Israel, whereas 24 percent said they supported Palestinians and 42 said they support neither side.
The shift has been dramatic from a poll conducted in 2018, which found that 69 percent of young evangelicals side with Israel and less than 6 percent sided with Palestinians.
Over the last four years, the Evangelical Christian leaders have been staunch supporters of the former US President Donald Trump and are a significant voting bloc in US elections.
In contrast, more than 70 percent of Evangelical Christians over 50 years old support Israel.
The worry amongst Israeli lobby groups and politicians is that Millenials who increasingly gain their information from social media are being exposed to unfiltered information regarding the plight of Palestinians under Israeli occupation.
The latest also found that almost 45 percent of respondents support the establishment of a state of Palestine alongside Israel. Just over 35 percent said they are neutral on the questions a little over 20 per cent of respondents oppose the idea of Palestinian statehood.
For decades, Evangelical Christians in the US have supported Israeli colonisation premised on the belief that a Jewish state signalled the coming day of judgment, resulting in Biblical prophecy being fulfilled.
The latest poll suggests that younger Evangelical Christians don’t believe that the Bible would sanction colonisation as a means of achieving Biblical prophecy.
The poll also found that 22 percent of respondents believed that Israel does not treat Palestinians fairly. More than 35 percent were neutral on the issue, while more than 41 percent believed that Israel treats Palestinians fairly.
Backers of Israel are likely to be concerned that an increasing number of Evangelicals are unsure about or have negative views about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
In a recent interview, a former Ambassador of Israel to the US argued that Evangelicals are the backbone of Israeli support in the US rather than American Jews.
In a jaw-dropping interview Former Israeli ambassador in Washington Ron Dermer tells @amit_segal the backbone of Israel’s support in the U.S. is the evangelical Christians and not American Jews @MakorRishon pic.twitter.com/g8UASanwDx— Yonit Levi (@LeviYonit) May 9, 2021
Therefore, declining support amongst younger Christians spells a slowly brewing crisis for Israeli lobbying efforts in the US.
American Jews have also been some of the most outspoken voices of Israeli actions in the occupied territories, which has concerned consecutive Israeli administrations.