Perhaps the most important trend on antisemitism comes from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and NORC. Starting in 1964 they have examined antisemitism using a multi-question battery based on 11 negative tropes about Jews.
In 2022, the ADL found a sharp uptick in antisemitic beliefs. Twenty percent of those surveyed believed in six or more of the tropes, up from 11 percent in 2019. Three percent in 2022 believed in all 11. Perhaps most significant (foretelling responses we see today), more young people believed in the six tropes than in any prior ADL research. This is a stark departure from the ADL’s 1992 findings when they noted that the “steady influx of younger more tolerant Americans had led to an overall decrease in antisemitism.”
In 2022, the ADL introduced an Israel Sentiment Index. They found that young people were significantly more anti-Israel than older adults on these questions. Twenty-one percent of them, compared to 11 percent of older people, agreed with five or more of the anti-Israel statements.
In the polls since October 7, there are areas where young and old do not differ. But there are many where they do. Take these results from a January polls of registered voters conducted by Mark Penn, the Harvard Center for American Political Studies, and Harris.
Majorities of all groups said Hamas killings could not be justified by Palestinian grievances. But there was an age gap. Fifty-four percent of the youngest group in the survey compared to more than 75 percent of those 45 years and older gave this response. Majorities of all age groups said they supported Israel more than Hamas, but there was a stark age difference. Fifty-seven percent 18-24 year olds compared to 80 percent of those 45 and over gave this response.
In another question, majorities of all age groups said Hamas would like to commit genocide against the Jews in Israel, but younger people were more likely than older ones to say this isn’t a goal of Hamas.