Half of American Young People Believe Israel Should be ‘Ended’ in Contradictory Poll Results

Do America’s young people stand with Israel? Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

A majority of Americans aged 18-to-24-years-old believe that Israel should be “ended and given to Hamas and the Palestinians” according to a new poll—which also implies that at least one out of four American young people believe genocide of Jews by Palestinians can be “justified.” However, the young people’s answers to the monthly Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, which was conducted on December 13-14, repeatedly contradicted themselves as the results alternated between support for Jews and shocking anti-Semitism. Despite the young persons’ opinions, the poll showed 81 percent of Americans overall continue to support Israel against Hamas.

The poll, which was published to the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll website, reported 66 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds say that the attacks on Jews—presumably referencing the October 7 terror onslaught— were “genocidal in nature”, while 60 percent believe that Hamas’ killing of over 1,000 Israeli civilians on October 7 “can be justified by the grievances of Palestinians.” The implication of the polling result is that at least 26 percent of those young persons polled would call the October 7 attack a form of genocide and yet say that it was justified.

However, other polling results called into question the level of understanding by the young Americans as majorities repeatedly gave confusing or even incompatible answers, despite more than 80 percent of the group saying they are paying at least “somewhat” close attention to the Israel-Hamas conflict. For example, 70 percent say Israel is “trying to avoid” civilian casualties in Gaza, and yet 60 percent claim Israel is “committing genocide” against Gazans and not just engaging in self-defense. Similarly, 58 percent believe Hamas “would like to commit genocide” against Israeli Jews, and yet 76 percent also believed Hamas can be negotiated with for peace.

The largest plurality of young people, 45 percent, believe that Israel—instead of the Palestinian Authority—should administer Gaza if Hamas is removed from power, and 69 percent believe Israel has a right to exist. Despite that, 51 percent believe Israel should be eliminated and given to the Palestinians. Just 32 percent still back a two-state solution with an Israel and a “Palestine”.

Despite majorities of 60 percent or more who believe Hamas uses Gaza civilians as human shields and committed rapes and “other crimes” against women on October 7—and another 80 percent who believe Israel has a right to self-defense against terrorism—the young people are split 50-50 on whether they support Israel or Hamas in the conflict.

On anti-Semitism at universities, young persons again expressed conflicting views. 18-to-24-year-olds, which is the typical ages of undergraduate college students in America, overwhelmingly agreed that calling for genocide of Jews is “hate speech” and “harassment”, and yet a majority also said students should be free to call for genocide rather than face “actions” for violating rules at universities. Two-thirds of those young persons polled also believe that Jews are “oppressors” and should be treated as such.

The issue of anti-Semitism on college campuses has become a national issue in the United States, with Congress questioning major university presidents about the concerns. The Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel said in a press release they were “appalled” and “extremely alarmed” when the presidents of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania refused to say that calls for genocide of Jews violated school policy and instead said it depended on the context.

“Any university, institution or society that can ‘contextualize’ and excuse calls for genocide is doomed,” Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan was quoted in the press release as saying. “I call upon university administrations to empower and train their faculty and students to better understand the dangers of antisemitism.”

Noting that calls for Jewish genocide in the past led to the Holocaust, Dayan said that “Never Again must begin with education.”

A poll sponsored in November by Hillel International, the world’s largest Jewish college campuses group, found that more than a third of Jewish students said there were acts of hate or violence against Jews on their college campus. The November 14-15 poll, reported in a press release on the Hillel website, added that a third of those students polled said they had to hide their Jewish identity.

“The hate that fueled Hamas’ attack on Israel has rapidly spread to college campuses, leaving Jewish students feeling both unsupported and unsafe,” Adam Lehman, president and CEO of Hillel International, said in the Hillel press release. “And the data show that it’s getting worse.” 

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, December 17, 2023)

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