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Majority of US Democrats believe Israel is committing genocide in Gaza: Poll

Survey also says that 70 percent of all likely American voters want a permanent ceasefire in Gaza
A young boy looks on as relatives of Palestinians killed in Israeli bombing mourn near their corpses in the yard of the Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on 3 May 2024.
Relatives of Palestinians killed in Israeli bombing mourn near their corpses at Al-Najjar hospital in Rafah, Gaza, on 3 May (AFP)

A new poll suggests the Biden administration is largely at odds with its voters on Israel's war on Gaza, with the survey showing a majority of Democrats believe Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians in the besieged enclave. 

The US has repeatedly dismissed South Africa's case at the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of genocide as "meritless", while US lawmakers recently threatened the International Criminal Court over issuing any arrest warrants for Israeli leaders.

But according to findings, 56 percent of Democratic voters disagree with the US administration’s stance while just 22 percent believe that Israel is not committing genocide. 

Republican voters find themselves on the same page as the Biden administration, with 58 percent disagreeing with the genocide accusation and 23 percent agreeing. Nineteen percent say they do not know. 

Among "all likely voters", 39 percent think Israel is committing genocide, with 38 percent disagreeing and 23 percent saying that they do not know.

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The poll was conducted by Data Progress - a progressive think tank, advocacy group, and polling firm - between 26-29 April, and published on Wednesday. 

Another issue that the Biden administration has been at odds with is the US public calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. The US has dithered on this issue over time. 

For months, the administration said that a ceasefire would only benefit Hamas, even when two-thirds of US voters supported a ceasefire as early as February. Later, the US negotiated a temporary ceasefire but avoided calling for a permanent one. 

In recent days, the US has more forcefully called for an immediate ceasefire, most notably after the killing of aid workers from World Central Kitchen by an Israeli strike in April. The latest ceasefire proposal that Hamas announced it was accepting but was rejected by Israel - which was negotiated with the Qataris, Egyptians and the CIA’s William Burns - has however paved a roadmap to a permanent ceasefire. 

The latest polling shows that an overwhelming 70 percent of all likely voters want a permanent ceasefire and de-escalation of violence in Gaza. A whopping 83 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of Republicans support a ceasefire, with third-party and independent voters coming in at 65 percent in support of one.

Weapons to Israel

The Biden administration announced this week that it was halting a weapons shipment to Israel over concerns over Rafah, and is also considering reviewing other arms packages to the country. 

But over the last seven months of the war, the US has provided Israel with uninterrupted arms shipments. The recent shift by the administration better reflects voter sentiment across party lines, according to the new polling.

A plurality of voters, 46 percent, disapprove of Congress’ authorisation of $4bn in aid to replenish Israel’s missile systems while 37 percent think military aid to Israel should decrease. 

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Among Democrats, 52 percent disapprove of the authorisation and 42 percent think overall military aid to Israel should decrease. Among Republicans, 37 percent disapprove of the Congressional authorisation and 28 percent want to see aid decreased. 

The war in Gaza could have an outsized impact on the US general election scheduled for November this year. Young Americans have been especially vocal about the war, earning the US president the pejorative moniker "Genocide Joe" among young progressives.

At least 90 universities across the country have experienced sustained protests against Israel’s war on Gaza. 

Protests have been regularly met with violence from law enforcement agencies after university administrations have called police forces on their students to break up encampments and sit-ins. The repression of university protests has been another polarising force among the US public. 

The latest poll shows 46 percent of all likely voters disapprove of “limiting students’ rights and abilities to protest Israel’s military operations”. The split among party lines once again finds greater disapproval among Democrats (55 percent), when compared to Republicans (36 percent).

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