More than Choosing Sides: How Britons are Navigating the Israel-Palestine Conflict
4 December 2023
People express a range of strong and passionate views on the Israel-Palestine conflict. But in contrast to heated debates in the media and online, most Britons haven’t taken a ‘side’ on the conflict. 16 per cent say they sympathise more with the Israeli side and 18 per cent with the Palestinian side. But far more people - two thirds of Britons - sympathise with neither side, both sides equally, or aren’t sure which side they sympathise with more. Rather than seeing the conflict through a pro-Palestine or pro-Israeli lens, most of the public approach the conflict from their shared starting point of disgust at terrorism and deep concern for civilians. The public are uncomfortable with the way that some have framed debates about the conflict as a binary issue, when they are more likely to talk about their shared concerns for civilians in both Israel and Gaza. Support for either side is equal in size, but not intensity. Those who sympathise more with the Palestinian side are much more likely to say this is an important cause to them than those who sympathise more with the Israeli side. They are more than twice as likely to have attended a protest about the conflict, more than five times as likely to have signed a petition relating to the conflict, and three times as likely to have posted on social media about the conflict, as compared to those who sympathise more with the Israeli side. This asymmetry can distort perceptions as to how ordinary Britons think about the conflict.