Letters to the Editor: Is Holocaust amnesia behind Americans’ declining support for Israel?
To the editor: Your articles on the increasing share of Americans, particularly young Americans, who are supportive of the Palestinians omit one important historical fact: Israel was created in the aftermath of the Holocaust, in which two-thirds of European Jews were murdered by the Nazis, and many of those who survived had no homes or families to return to. (“Biden confronts shifting U.S. views of Israel, Palestinians,” May 21, and “Pro-Palestinian activists are building a broad progressive coalition in the U.S.,” May 25)
These facts are well-known to the vast majority of Americans who lived through World War II and their children. In contrast, a recent survey of 11,000 American adults under the age of 40 found that more than half thought the death toll of the Holocaust was under 2 million, nearly half could not name a single concentration camp, and 10% were unsure the Holocaust even happened or denied that it did.
In this context, it is not surprising that support for Israel is relatively low among younger Americans. What is more alarming, though, is that less than a century after the Nazis’ organized murder of 6 million Jews and millions of others, this horror has become virtually irrelevant to so many among us.
Mark Haas, Sherman Oaks
To the editor: A corollary to the story about a coalition of Black, Palestinian and some Jewish activists — the majority of whom are on the left side of the political spectrum — sympathizing with Palestinian aspirations was a report in the English-language Times of Israel about a University of North Carolina at Pembroke survey of 700 young evangelical Christians.
Among this group of 18- to 29-year-olds, support for Israel has dropped from 75% to 33% over the last three years.
Ron Dermer, Israel’s former ambassador to the United States, recently suggested that Israel should look to evangelicals for “passionate and unequivocal support.” The decline in younger evangelicals’ support should be a wake-up call for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his uncompromising right-wing followers.
Harold N. Bass, Porter Ranch
To the editor: The key sentence in one of your articles on public opinion regarding Israel is, “In 2019, Pew found that while majorities of Democrats and Republicans have a favorable view of the Israeli people, Democrats were much more critical of the Israeli government.”
If Pew asked, it might find that many of the Americans who sympathize with the Palestinian people also disapprove of Palestinian leadership, particularly Hamas. We shouldn’t confuse support for people with support for their governments.
Many Americans would become more supportive of Israel and less supportive of movements perceived to be anti-Israeli or antisemitic if its government were less hostile to the Palestinians.
Gary Thorne, Yorba Linda
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