The criminal U.S.-backed Israeli assault on Gaza has caused outrage all around the world. For progressive people, the level of popular support Israel enjoys in the United States can be maddening, but a recent opinion poll has some good news. Only 25 percent of people aged 18-29 think Israel’s actions in Gaza are justified, with 51 percent considering their actions unjustified (according to polling company Gallup).
The survey revealed a dramatic generational divide—for those in the 50-64 and 65+ age brackets the numbers are inverted, with slight majorities thinking Israel’s actions are justified and about 30 percent believing they are unjustified. What could explain this growing solidarity with Palestine among young people, especially given the barrage of pro-Zionist lies repeated endlessly by corporate news outlets?
For one thing, I think the work of campus groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and Muslim Student Association has had a big impact. Support for Israel is in one way or another built into most of the institutions we interact with, the only way to counter that is through organizations of our own.
I think it’s also clear that young people have progressive instincts (virtually every opinion poll that provides data shows this) and have had formative experiences that have made us naturally skeptical of the system. Why would we trust the people who lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, left thousands of people to die during Hurricane Katrina and bailed out the bankers? A bombed school is a bombed school, no matter what they say about “human shields.”
But it’s not enough to just be angry—we have to turn it into action. On Aug. 2, people from across the country are converging on Washington, D.C., for a national march to demand an end to the massacre in Gaza. Everyone needs to be there.