Survey Results: HonestReporting’s Work On Hamas Conflict Dramatically Increased Favorability Towards Israelis

Reprinted from Honest Reporting.


Executive Summary

HonestReporting recently commissioned a professional study whose findings show that our framing and messaging during last May’s conflict involving the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip was highly effective at improving understanding of, and favorability towards, the State of Israel and its citizens.

Overall favorability towards Israelis rose by a dramatic 33% across respondents aged 18-44. Favorability in the critical 18-24 age group rose by 32%, correlating especially well with our approach of ‘meeting people where they are’ — that is, talking to youth on their own, often liberal progressive terms (sometimes referred to as “woke”) — which significantly increases sympathy towards Israelis and vastly improves understanding of the conflict with the Palestinians.

Given the survey’s parameters, 60% of respondents initially said their sympathies towards Israelis and Palestinians were “about equal” or that they were uncertain, suggesting that most individuals’ opinions about the conflict are not firmly entrenched. In fact, of those who initially said that they sympathized more with the Palestinians, following the video presentation a full quarter of them reported sympathizing with both Israelis and Palestinians about equally and 9% fully shifted to the Israeli side.

Among those who already held a favorable view of Israelis, 85% said that watching the video made them feel more confident to discuss the conflict. This comes on the backdrop of a recent study that found that 50% of “openly Jewish” college students avoid expressing their views on Israel (NB: Only 2% of those surveyed identified as Jewish).

How Survey Was Conducted

A randomly chosen sample of 524 Americans aged 18-44 answered a series of questions and then were shown a short video produced by HonestReporting that addressed the events of last May. Participants thereafter were asked a series of additional questions to measure the impact of HonestReporting’s work on their opinions of Israel, its government and its citizens.


The data confirms that HonestReport’s fact-based messaging emphasizing Israel’s positive aspects, including concern for human rights, as well as the negative effects of terrorist groups in Gaza on both Israelis and Palestinians — all the while being sensitive to race-related narratives and prevailing progressive theories like “intersectionality” — can and does significantly “move the needle” with respect to public sentiment towards the Jewish state.

What We Learned

The online survey, conducted by the TechnoMetrica market research firm from August 30-September 3 with a credibility interval of +/- 4.4 percentage points, had numerous other key findings:

  • More than eight out of ten respondents said the presentation improved their understanding of May’s conflagration between primarily Hamas and Israel
  • Almost three-quarters said the presentation increased their willingness to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Most respondents retained the critical information communicated in the video: Eighty-three percent recalled that “many Palestinian deaths are caused by Hamas rockets”; 79% that “generally speaking, Hamas in Gaza are aggressors towards Israel; and 79% that “the US has designated Hamas to be a terrorist organization”
  • Nearly 75% said they were inclined to visit HonestReporting’s website for more information
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Knowledge Of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict & Video’s Impact

That 84% of respondents believed the video improved their understanding of the May 2021 fighting suggests the presentation impacted even those who previously had minimal exposure to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Understanding of the conflict improved by over 80% in all age categories. The video similarly affected Americans irrespective of their political affiliations: Eighty-four percent of Democrats, 85% of Republicans and 84% of Independents said that after watching the video they had a firmer grasp of matters pertaining to the conflict.

Furthermore, nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said the presentation boosted their confidence to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, a significant result given the apparent political and social polarization in the United States. People in all three age groups expressed this sentiment, shared by 74% of Democrats, 77% of Republicans, and 73% of independents.

More Favorable To Israelis After Presentation

Thirty-three percent of Democrats, 43% of Republicans and 27% of Independents felt more favorable towards Israelis after viewing the video. Eleven of the 13 demographic segments polled showed double-digit increases in positive perception of Israelis. These groups include: women (20-points), no religion (17-points), Independents (17-points), Republicans (15-points) and the 35-44 age group (15-points).

Perhaps most significantly, among the respondents who initially expressed greater sympathy towards the Palestinians, following the presentation a full quarter of them said that they sympathized with both peoples about equally and 9% fully shifted to the Israeli side.

What It All Means

Our work… works!

Indeed, the results demonstrate that HonestReporting has developed a compelling, constructive and successful way to change hearts and minds — even those that appear to be hardened against Israel from the get-go. 

‘For many supporters of Israel, this has seemed a confusing and hopeless time. But, in truth, we really can communicate effectively and we really can succeed,’ HonestReporting CEO Daniel Pomerantz explained in reference to the poll.

‘This requires a whole new approach, vocabulary and framing of issues in order to reach people ‘where they are,’” he added.

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