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Poll: 20% of Young People Say Holocaust is “Myth,” TikTok Users More Likely to be Antisemitic

Railroad tracks lead into Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. ALAMY
Railroad tracks lead into Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. ALAMY

Last week, a new Economist/YouGov poll found one in five young Americans stated that the Holocaust is a myth and around 30% expressing anti-Semitic views.

According to the poll, 20% of Americans ages 18 to 29 agreed with the statement, "The Holocaust is a myth," while a greater percentage agreed with the statement that the Holocaust "has been exaggerated."

Thirty percent of respondents said they “did not know whether the Holocaust is a myth," while 28% adopted the anti-Semitic statement that Jews "wield too much power in America."

The poll noted that Holocaust denial spanned throughout "all levels of education" while noting that "social media might play a role" in worsening antisemitism. The findings from the poll noted a recent Generation Lab survey, which found that "young adults who used TikTok were more likely to hold anti-Semitic beliefs."

"It is a perfect storm out there," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of Global Social Action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Cooper explained to The Foreign Desk the various factors at play regarding the spread of antisemitism among young Americans: "A state's policy that promotes Holocaust denial and denigration of the 6 million Jewish victims (Iranian regime); A generation brought up on social media—including and especially Tik Tok which leads to Shoah (Holocaust) denial and misappropriation of the Shoah, including by politicians—seems everyone is compared to Hitler. A generation with information glut but little perspective; no online librarian, no filters, little collective memory back to the 20th Century."

The Economist/YouGov poll found that Holocaust denial decreased among Americans older than 29. Around 10% of Americans ages 30 to 44 say that the Holocaust is a myth or exaggerated. The poll found antisemitism prevalent in other demographic groups. Twenty-seven percent of black respondents and 19% of Hispanics agreed with the statement that "Jews have too much power in America," while 13% of white respondents expressed such sentiments.

"The fact that we are losing the witnesses with an unassailable moral GPS--the last of the Shoah survivors, their liberators, and bystanders are leaving the world stage every day. The 24/7 drumbeat of the lurid lie online that what Nazi Germany did to the Jews in the 1930s and 40s Israel is doing to Palestinians today. The failure of academic elites to acknowledge and teach there is evil in the world—with the Nazi Holocaust as a paradigm," Cooper told The Foreign Desk.

The Economist/YouGov poll comes as antisemitism in elite college campuses throughout the United States has drastically increased. Last week, House Republicans confronted presidents from MIT, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), who provided lawmakers with inadequate answers on dealing with antisemitism on campus and protecting American Jewish students.

During the hearing, all three university presidents said that organizations and students who called for the genocide of Jews don't necessarily violate university codes of conduct.

Following the hearing, the president of UPenn resigned over the weekend after facing incredible backlash from members of Congress, students, and faculty. Private donors to these elite universities have pulled millions of dollars in donations and gifts.

Since the Oct. 7 massacre, various progressive groups on college campuses have rallied behind Hamas’s attack, calling for violence against Israel and Jews while chanting slogans such as "Globalize the Intifada" and "Long live the Intifada."

Cooper notes that for many young Americans, "historical facts don't mean as much as feelings, influencers."

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), antisemitic incidents in the U.S. rose by about 400% in slightly over two weeks since the war occurred. Jewish students have reported instances where they have felt unsafe in their dorms, classes, and campuses, facing death threats from antisemitic speech on campus.

“Society cannot afford to repeat the tragedies of the past. Simon Wiesenthal, the late Holocaust Survivor and Nazi hunter said this back in 1980 (way before the internet) when asked if the Holocaust could happen again said: 'If you have a crisis in society+ organized hate+ technology----Anything is possible! Seems like we have arrived at a crossroads,” he added.

Related Story: Doomed to Repeat It? Millennials & Zoomers Aren’t Learning Holocaust History

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