How is it possible that one-third of young adults, ages 18-24, do not believe that Hamas terrorists killed 1,400 Israeli citizens in a rampage of shooting, stabbing and beheading on Oct. 7? How could it be that nearly half of 18- to 24-year-olds still believe that an Israeli airstrike caused the explosion at Gaza’s Al-Ahli Arab Hospital on Oct. 17?
And why do 48% of the same young voters side with Hamas over Israel in the current conflict?
These statistics confound us. Haven’t these people seen and read about the revolting, yet conclusive evidence of Hamas’ Oct. 7 brutality drawn from Hamas’ depraved videos and the clear conclusions regarding responsibility for the hospital strike from multiple independent government and press reports?
The statistics are drawn from the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll. They reflect a worrisome reality that helps explain some of the mass pro-Hamas demonstrations that are surging in popularity around the world. They also provide insight into the threatening developments on an increasing number of college campuses, where Jewish students are feeling threatened and unsafe as pro-Hamas sentiment grows in intensity, conviction and reach.
The simple answer seems to be that young voters, like everyone else, tend to alter facts to align with their agendas and perspective. So, a murder spree and hostage-taking become part of the “resistance” to “wrongful occupation and displacement by Israel.” They reason that resistance to oppression is justified, and sometimes resistance gets messy.
Similarly, casting blame for an errant terrorist rocket and inflating the number of dead and injured is all part of the fog of war. And, if it wasn’t Israel’s bomb that did the damage at the hospital, they argue that Israel’s bombs have killed many other innocent Palestinians in Gaza.
It is disturbingly clear that a significant portion of young voters don’t want someone else’s version of the facts to interfere with their notions of oppression and unfairness. They believe that in every conflict there are oppressors (bad people) and oppressed (good people). The oppressed need to fight back. This tracks the newfound theory of intersectionality, a much-hyped concept of the woke mindset that all struggles are part of the same struggle between the oppressors and the oppressed. Israel is the oppressor. Palestinians are the oppressed. So, Israel, and its citizenry, had it coming.
We wonder how many of those polled were aware of the closing words of Article Seven of the Hamas Charter that provides: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews. When the Jew will hide behind stones and trees, the stones and trees will say ‘Oh Muslims, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’” We worry what percentage of young voters embrace that sickening view.
We know what Israel needs to do in its war with Hamas. And much thought is being given to what needs to be done to build a government that can rule Gaza after Hamas is crushed. But we also have a lot of work to do on our shores.
We need to connect with younger voters in ways that resonate with them on issues of morality, humanity and conflict resolution. One message needs to be: The ends do not always justify the means – especially when the means are amoral, blood-soaked and barbaric.
We have a lot of work to do.