update deskU.S. News

Pew: Half of US Muslims say ‘valid’ Hamas reasons to fight Israel, 21% say Oct. 7 attack ‘acceptable’

Just 18% of U.S. Muslims said that Israel had valid reasons to go to war against Hamas.

Supporters of the Hamas terror group at a rally before student elections at Birzeit University near Ramallah on May 6, 2014. Credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90.
Supporters of the Hamas terror group at a rally before student elections at Birzeit University near Ramallah on May 6, 2014. Credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90.

Regardless of how they feel about Oct. 7, almost half of U.S. Muslim adults (49%) say that Hamas had “valid” reasons to fight Israel, and 21% of that demographic said that Hamas’s terror attack on Oct. 7 was either “completely acceptable” (10%) or “somewhat acceptable” (11%).

That’s according to new data from the Pew Research Center, based on a survey of 12,693 American adults between Feb. 13 and Feb. 25.

“Unlike most nationally representative polling in the United States since the war began, our survey includes enough Jewish and Muslim respondents to allow their views to be analyzed separately,” Pew stated in a release. (The survey, which is oversampled for Jews and Muslims, has a margin of error of 1.5 percentage points in either direction.)

While more than one in five American Muslim adults said that it was at least “somewhat acceptable” that Hamas—which the United States has designated a terrorist organization for 27 years—attacked the Jewish state on Oct. 7, just about 5% of U.S. adults overall thought that. Three percent of U.S. Jewish adults said that Hamas’s attack was acceptable.

Nearly three in four (73%) American adults said that the way Hamas carried out its Oct. 7 attack was unacceptable, with 66% saying Hamas’s reasons were “completely unacceptable.”

An overwhelming majority (89%) of American Jews said that Israel was justified in going to war against Hamas, compared to 18% of U.S. Muslims. While 49% of Muslim Americans said that Hamas has valid reasons to attack Israel, just 16% of American Jews said that.

Well over half (62%) of American Jews and 5% of Muslim Americans said Israel’s war in Gaza is acceptable, while 68% of American Muslims said it was unacceptable.

American adults overwhelmingly support Washington providing humanitarian aid to Gaza (50% in favor, 19% opposed), while 36% favor the United States providing Israel with military aid and 34% do not.

Republicans and Democrats are divided greatly on the war, according to Pew data.

More than half (52%) of Democrats and independents who lean Democrat say that Israel’s response to Oct. 7 is unacceptable, while 17% of Republicans and right-leaning independents said that.

Just under a quarter of Democrats (24%)—down from 35% in 2022—have favorable views of the Israeli government overall, compared to 63% of Republicans. Some 23% of Americans had a favorable view of the Palestinian Authority.

A majority of Democrats and Republicans does not favor a two-state solution, according to Pew data. Just under half (48%) of Democrats and 33% of Republicans want an independent Palestinian state. More than a quarter (26%) of Republicans—up from 18% in 2022—favor a single state run by Israel.

Americans under the age of 30 represented the only group in which less than half (38%) said that Israel had a valid reason to fight Hamas. A similar number (34%) of those under 30 said that Hamas had valid reasons to fight Israel.

Only 3% of American adults surveyed said that it was “extremely” or “very” likely that there will be lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

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