After more than 100 days of fighting since the Oct. 7 massacre, Hamas issued an official document, in Arabic and English, to appeal to international public opinion and try to correct its negative image.
A survey conducted by Dr. Irwin J. Mansdorf of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs found that up to 35% of Americans under the age of 45 support the false claims Hamas made in the document. According to the findings, this support is also evident among those who define themselves as supporters of Israel’s war in Gaza (about 20%).
The survey, conducted among 530 American citizens aged 18-65, was based on quotes from the Hamas document to test the level of support among the U.S. public for the organization’s claims.
While previous polls in the U.S. showed support for Israel, the new findings indicate that a significant part of the population accepts pro-Palestinian claims that deny or minimize Hamas’s deliberate harm to civilians, rape of women and kidnapping of Israeli hostages.
“In the current survey, we told the respondents that the allegations were directly attributed to Hamas, and they even received a link to the terrorist organization’s full document in English,” explains Mansdorf, a political psychologist.
“The purpose of the study was to check whether the knowledge that the allegations were directly attributed to Hamas, which is officially considered as a terrorist organization by both the U.S. and the European Union, will influence and possibly change the opinions of citizens who tend to believe pro-Palestinian claims,” he adds.
The findings reveal broad support among the American public for the false claims of Hamas, although there is a gap in the level of identification with them according to the respondents’ age:
For the participants under the age of 45, support for the false claims ranges from 27% to 35%, while among the respondents over the age of 45, support ranges from 15% to 25%.
Furthermore, among the younger Americans, 25% agreed with the Hamas statement that the Israeli citizens kidnapped in Gaza are treated “in a positive and kind manner,” compared to only 16% of the older participants.
Regarding Hamas’s claims that no rapes were committed against Israeli women, 27% of Americans under the age of 45 agreed, as compared to 17% of the older respondents. Moreover, even among those who define themselves as supporters of Israel, about 20% believed the Hamas narrative.
“With the clear knowledge that the claims express the official policy of a terrorist organization, we still see support for Hamas in the U.S.,” Mansdorf concludes. “The current study not only confirms previous findings, it also proves that the supporters of Israel have already begun to doubt our intentions in general and are ready to accept the false claims. This is further evidence of the challenges facing Israel in the psychological warfare of the Palestinian groups.”
According to Mansdorf, additional studies are needed to better understand this support for false claims among supporters of Israel as well as among the general public. JNS