Dec 9, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Pro-Palestinian protests on the rise across the U.S.

Israel-Palestine protests in the U.S.
Data: ACLED; Graphic: Rahul Mukherjee and Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Cities across the U.S. have seen hundreds of protests since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, according to a tracker from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).

The big picture: As Israel's military operations in the Gaza Strip have ramped up and the death toll has increased, a growing proportion of the demonstrations have been in support of Palestinians.

  • Opinion polling shows that younger Americans in particular have grown more sympathetic to Palestinians since the start of the conflict.
  • More than 16,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its military campaign, according to the Ministry of Health in Hamas-run Gaza. Around 1,200 people were killed in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel.

Details: ACLED defines protests as three or more participants in a non-violent demonstration. Protests are added to the dataset if they are reported from a list of news and NGO reports. ACLED groups the demonstrations into three categories.

  • Protests are categorized as pro-Israel when the messaging supports Israeli civilians targeted by Hamas, supports the Israeli government's operations in Gaza, or condemns the Hamas attack.
  • Protests are categorized as pro-Palestinian when the messaging supports the Palestinian governments and its civilians, or condemns the Israeli government's actions in Gaza and settlements in the West Bank.
  • Neutral protests call for peace and don't mention support or condemnation of either party to the conflict.

The trend: Initially after the Oct. 7 attack, most of the demonstrations in the U.S. were in solidarity with Israel. Within a week, with the Israeli military response underway, pro-Palestinian protests began to outnumber pro-Israeli protests, according to the data.

  • Nonetheless, nearly half of all pro-Israel protests worldwide included in ACLED's tracker have taken place in the U.S., far more than in any other country.

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