OpinionIsrael at War

Most 18- to 24-year-olds believe Oct. 7 was ‘genocidal’ and ‘justified’

Sixty percent believe it can be justified "by the grievances of Palestinians."

A pro-Palestinian rally in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 12, 2023. Credit: Becker1999 via Wikimedia Commons.
A pro-Palestinian rally in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 12, 2023. Credit: Becker1999 via Wikimedia Commons.
Daniel Greenfield
Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli-born journalist who writes for conservative publications.

This comes from the Harvard-Harris poll that everyone is talking about. Polls in general should be taken with a grain of salt and the HH polls have had horrific numbers lately. Still, this is reflective of a generational trend.

The numbers may not be this bad in real life, but they’re bad.

Seventy-three percent of respondents agreed that the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7 were “genocidal” and could not be justified. The numbers get worse though as the respondents’ age gets lower.

Forty percent of those between the ages of 35 and 44 believe that the attacks could be justified, and in the 18-24 bracket, 60% believe that they were justified.

Sixty-six percent of those between 18 and 24 say that the attack was genocidal and 60% believe that it can be justified “by the grievances of Palestinians.”

Fifty percent of respondents in this age group support Hamas. Fifty-three percent believe people should feel free to call for the genocide of Jews.

Important caveat

There are a number of reasons these numbers are so bad. The educational system has become particularly toxic. Gen Z tends to get its information from the worse flavors of social media. It’s also the most diverse, therefore the most antisemitic.

But one reason these numbers are so awful is that Harvard-Harris only polled registered voters. Less than half of 18-24-year-olds are registered voters, and those who are tend to be far left and from lefty areas in the country. So these numbers are less reflective of that age bracket than of any other.

They’re reflective of a quarter of 18-24-year-olds from a population that is much more political and much more leftist. (It doesn’t make them any less horrific.)

What we’re seeing here is not simply generational, but educational. This is a population that is much more likely to have been processed through the university system, that is politically active and will take important governmental and business roles. Even if we’re talking about a quarter of the 18-24 population, this is the quarter that will be running things 10-20 years from now.

Second caveat

I’ve pointed this out about previous Harvard-Harris polls on Hamas and Israel. If you study the results closely, the 18-24-year-old numbers don’t maintain ideological consistency. They do reflect growing extremism and hostility, but in some cases also moral ambiguity.

For example, 70% of 18-24-year-olds say that Israel is trying to avoid civilian casualties and 60% say that Israel is trying to commit genocide.

Fifty-eight percent believe that Hamas is trying to commit genocide and 76% believe that Hamas can be negotiated with.

Eighty percent agree that Israel has a “right to defend itself against terror attacks by launching airstrikes on targets in heavily populated Palestinian areas with warnings to those citizens.”

The moral of the story is that 18-24-year-olds are also dumb, and more likely not to have a consistent position on some of these issues and to agree with whatever they’re being asked. That’s not the whole answer here, but it’s a factor.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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