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Jewish children in a Nazi extermination camp. Photo: public domain.

Young Americans more likely to deny Holocaust, criticize Israel, survey finds

The October 7 Hamas attack on Israel has exposed the extent of antisemitism in the United States, especially among young people. One in five Americans believe the Holocaust of the Jewish people is a myth, according to polling data published by YouGov/The Economist and reported by “The Jerusalem Post.”

When asked how much discrimination Jewish people face in America today, nearly three-fourths of the respondents said “a great deal” or “a fair amount.” Among respondents within the youngest age bracket (18-29) this fell to 61 percent. This same age bracket was on par with the general sentiment regarding discrimination against Muslims. Seventy-two percent of those aged 18 to 29 said Muslims face “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of discrimination in the United States today, similar to 73 percent of the total population that said the same.

It may come as no surprise in light of the onslaught of antisemitism in American entertainment and social media. One example is the influence of Taylor Swift who attended a fundraiser for Gaza sponsored by a controversial, antisemitic organization.

Anita Widaman, publisher of Metro Voice, is also director of VisionIsrael.org, an education non-profit aimed at educating young people about the Holocaust and antisemitism. She says the numbers are concerning but not unexpected. “Much of it stems from a lack of education in schools, whether public or private,” she says. “Curriculum devotes very little time to the Holocaust and the events and ideologies that led to it.”

Widaman says that some states, like Missouri, are taking steps to increase the educational component. “Hopefully, the next generation will have the knowledge to confront Holocaust denial and antisemitism.”

Until then, polls show a dire situation. Among the other findings:

  • When asked how serious of a problem hate crimes in the United States against Jews are, almost two-thirds responded that it was a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem. By comparison, only 56 percent of youngest cohort answered likewise.
  • In response to the question of how serious a problem antisemitism is in the United States, the younger generation was far closer to being in step with the general population of respondents than other cohorts. Some 63 percent of all respondents said it was a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem; among the youngest age bracket, 60 percent agreed.
  • Regarding whether opposition to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians was antisemitic, most respondents stated that they believed it was either not antisemitic (40 percent) or were unsure (40 percent).
  • Thirty percent said it was not antisemitic to boycott Israeli products in protest of Israeli government policy; one-third said it was, and the remaining 37 percent were unsure.
  • While 7 percent of the total population of respondents said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, almost three times as many of 18-29 year-old respondents (20 percent) said the same thing.
  • Asked if they agreed with a series of statements widely considered antisemitic, including “Jews have too much power in America,” “People should boycott Israeli goods and products,” “Israel exploits Holocaust victimhood for its own purposes,” “Israel has too much control over global affairs” and “the interests of Israelis are at odds with the interests of the rest of the world,” the youngest age bracket answered in the affirmative more than any other group.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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