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Blacks Led Whites in Supporting Cease-Fire Between Israel and Hamas

Christopher Shell (PHOTO: Sharon Farmer)

In a survey nearly three weeks after the Hamas terror attack against Israel, one in four Blacks said the U.S. should play no role in the conflict. Forty-three percent of Black Americans were supporting some form of a cease-fire, versus 35 percent of White Americans. Ninety-five percent of Blacks rejected the idea of unwavering support for Israel while only 77 percent of Whites did.

After an international clamor, such a pause is now in effect. “Hamas released a second group of hostages on Saturday night, the Israeli military said, after an hours long delay raised fears that a fragile truce in Gaza could collapse altogether.

Israel was expected to release Palestinians prisoners within hours,” The New York Times reported Saturday evening, Nov. 25.

The figures on attitudes toward a cease-fire were part of a preview of a survey by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace presented Sunday, Nov. 26, at the Journal-isms Roundtable. They were delivered by Christopher Shell a fellow in Carnegie’s American Statecraft program, who introduced himself as having “done extensive surveys looking at Black American opinion on some pressing foreign policy issues like the war in Ukraine, looking at opinion on issues like US.-China relations, so on and so forth.”

At the end of the survey, taken Oct. 20-25 among 800 Black and 800 White respondents, was this question, Shell said: “How would you rate the media’s coverage” of the Israeli-Hamas conflict?

“And what’s quite interesting is equal shares of Black and white Americans. . . . 30% say that they’re not sure,” he continued. “They’re very unsure about how the media is covering the conflict. So I’m trying to think through this; whether it means that they don’t know they can trust the media and they don’t, maybe they’re not watching the media at all. . . .But what was also quite interesting as well was that Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to think that the media is providing fair coverage to both sides.

“So, 29 percent of Black Americans said the media is providing fair coverage of both sides. 19 percent of white Americans said so.”

However, the survey also showed, “Black Americans are slightly more likely, 35 percent, to believe that the media is providing more coverage in favor of Israel versus 31% of white Americans, and then, on the question of Palestine, only 7 percent of Black Americans think that the media is providing coverage favorable of Palestine versus 20 percent of white Americans.” Forty people attended the Journal-isms Roundtable by Zoom, with 60 more having watched on Facebook by Thanksgiving day, and 85 more saw it on YouTube before the video was taken down temporarily on Tuesday for editing.

Sunday’s primary speaker was Malcolm Nance, the former counterintelligence agent, author and former MSNBC commentator. Toasts were raised to the new NABJ-Philadelphia chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, and to Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, new president of the Society of Professional Journalists, the first Black woman in the role. NABJ-Philadelphia was represented by chapter president Michael Days, vice president Melanie Burney and other chapter leaders.

In other survey findings, Shell said 24 percent of Black Americans told survey-takers that the United States should not be involved in any way in the Israeli conflict, versus about 19 percent of White Americans.

Also, 65 percent of Black Americans said, “I pretty much feel the same about [President] Biden,” after the president’s initially unequivocal support for Israel, but 20 percent of independent Black voters and young voters said they felt worse about Biden in the wake of the attack.


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