I found an interesting YouGov poll from 2014:

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Is this a sustained trend over a longer period of time, echoed in other polls? If, so what explains the difference? (I would prefer if the latter issue were also answered from polls if possible, rather than [expert] opinion.)

N.B. A Pew poll some years earlier also suggests a US-Europe difference, but with a wider spread among various European countries:

enter image description here

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    In short, yes, that is the picture of recent years, and for a variety of reasons. Notably, in France and GB there are many more Muslims than Jews, and in the US there are more Jews than Muslims, and Christian theology has a wider influence in the US.
    – Colin
    Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 18:57
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    I mean that the influence of a minority viewpoint (be it Muslim or Jewish in this case) on the national discourse and the majority group (Christian or Christian heritage) correlates with the size of the minority group.
    – Colin
    Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 19:08
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    Going way back, there is a lot of complex history to unpack. GB, Balfour Declaration notwithstanding, has always had an Arab-centric foreign service. Europe was strongly supportive of Isreal though the 50s and 60s, to some extent because Israel was founded by European socialists and was run more or less like a European nation,and HC guilt. Some would say that Israel became too successful for its own good economically/militarily, and anybody who has been successful in sales will tell you that you will become resented if you do too well. Americans tend not to resent the successful so much.
    – user30014
    Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 19:10
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    I don't think theology is the explanation, but because there are so many Jews in the U.S., it seems more likely the average person in the U.S. has Jewish friends and acquaintances than in a country like France. Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 19:12
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    @JohnK I believe it has more to do with the general left-wing way of thinking than resent. Treat the weak with sympathy and the powerful with suspicion, or something like that. Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 20:09

2 Answers 2


The United States has 12 million Jewish people, almost twice as many as Israel at 6.5 million, the only country to have more Jewish people than Israel. We also have the greatest percentage of Jewish people than any other country save Israel itself, with 3%. The next closest country is France at 1%.

That isn't to say that our approval of Israel has remained unchanged. We hit a low of 34% approval of Israel in March of 1979, around the time of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. We also hit a high of 64% approval three times: early 1991 after the Manhattan assassination of a prominent Israeli-American Rabbi, early 2013 (after Hamas and Fatah show solidarity and the UN orders Israel to remove settlements to comply with the Geneva Convention), and early 2018 (after Syrians shot down an Israeli F16).

But US support for Palestine has slowly crept up over time, being 3-6% in the 1960's, up to 24% in 1988 (when Yasser Arafat declared Israel had the right to exist), and remaining in the high teens since 2013.

As for Europe, most of the EU countries have between 3 and 9% Muslims, compared to only 1% in the USA, giving them much greater exposure to Muslim peoples and cultures.

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    The "exposure to Muslim peoples and cultures" doesn't seem to have engendered much positive sentiments towards Muslims in Europe. Someone had posted a similar answer to yours (now deleted--but I guess you can see it given your rep.) So this doesn't seem a sufficient explanation to me. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 14:58
  • See also some more specific ideological factors in some countries, e.g. Ireland. I'm not sure how much those account for across Europe though, so I'm not turning that into an answer yet. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 14:58
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    Also the number of US Jews you've posted seems double that of what Wikipedia claims, but that's a more minor quibble. There seems little doubt that there are more in the US than in Europe nowadays. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 15:02
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    Finally, support for Israel seems to have become more polarized across political parties in the US (although this did not seem to affect the average). I'm guessing the lack of a large Evangelical base in Europe or at least the lack of one with a political focus, is probably a factor too, but I'm not sure since I can't find data regarding sympathies for Israel across political parties in European countries... Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 15:16
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    12 million is an overestimate of the US Jewish population. It seems to include all non-Jewish household members of people who claim any partial Jewish background.
    – Colin
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 15:26
  1. The European media enjoy more freedom in criticizing Israel and its action. thus people are more informed.
  2. There is no AIPAC equivalent that sensor or pressure the politicians.
  3. There is not equivalent of the Zionist-Evangelists in Europe.

so people are more informed , and even relate to the pain of the Palestine more (especially in Ireland for example)

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    Not sure why you think the US media lacks "freedom in criticizing Israel". Actually they have an absolute right to and do routinely. Also, it's not right to equate "informed" with opposition to Israel. As people become more informed about the middle east, they often become more sympathetic to Israel.
    – Colin
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 20:23

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