Written by Anthony Constantini
What’s happening: While Western leaders have spoken out in support of Israel after Hamas’s attacks, pro-Hamas demonstrations have erupted in major cities. From Florida to New York to London to Vienna to Australia, protesters — mostly young people — waved Palestinian flags to support the attacks.
- Details: The protesters, holding “Free Palestine” signs, have displayed Nazi symbolism, celebrated the death counts, and called for Muslim insurrections and gassing Jews.
- Keep in mind: There have been plenty of pro-Israel demonstrations as well. At some points, pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrators have clashed. Meanwhile, Muslim and Arabic countries openly supported Hamas.
Why it matters: These protests are unlikely to affect Western leaders’ decisions for now. But they are part of a slow gradual decline in support for Israel in the West. A majority of Americans still sympathize more with Israel — but a Gallup poll from this year showed that millennials sympathize slightly more with Palestinians.
Where’s it coming from? Much of the support at protests appears to be from Muslim immigrants.
- In Europe: Amid Europe's refugee crisis, Muslims are expected to make up 11.2 percent of Europe’s population by 2050. Though they currently represent 4.9 percent, tensions have risen as Christians and Muslims clash on values.
- In America: Some estimate that there are between four and seven million Muslim Americans, who mostly arrived after 2000 from the Middle East and South Asia. This demographic is generally younger than the rest of Americans.
Go deeper: In a statement supporting Israel, leaders in the U.S., U.K., France, Italy, and Germany took pains to separate Hamas from Palestinians, writing that the terrorist group “does not represent” Palestinian aspirations. But a 2021 poll showed that over half of Palestinians felt Hamas was “most deserving of representing and leading” them.