Young people are anti-Semitic.
Not all of them, of course. But, these days, too many.
Polling done since the massacres of October 7 tell a deeply disturbing story: vast swaths of Generation Z (who are 18 to 26) and Millennials (who are 27 to 42) in Canada meet the dictionary definition of anti-Semitic. A third support “targeting” Jews. A quarter want Israel destroyed.
In the U.S., it’s just as bad. A Harvard poll found a majority of younger Americans felt Hamas’ campaign of rape and murder was “justified.” Twenty per cent of them think the Holocaust is a myth.
How did so many young people come to embrace points of view that are so clearly historically and morally wrong?
Gary Wexler has an answer. Wexler is a brilliant and gifted American writer. Recently, he authored a piece for the Jewish Journal titled: “The Inside Story of How Palestinians Took Over the World.” The headline was a deliberate overstatement, of course, designed to draw the reader in.
But once you’re drawn in to Gary Wexler’s argument, it’s very hard to dispute. Because it’s true.
Thirty years ago, when peace was breaking out between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Wexler was hired by a human rights foundation to interview Palestinian and Israeli organizations seeking funding and support. The Israelis, Wexler recalled, were “almost giddy with hope.”
The Palestinians weren’t. In fact, he said, none of them would even utter the word “peace.” And all of them told Wexler he needed to meet with Ameer Makhoul, a man who would years later be convicted of acting as an agent for Hezbollah, a listed terrorist entity in Canada. Makhoul would serve nine years in prison.
When Wexler met Makhoul in Haifa, however, he was still a free man. And the Palestinian leader had a message deliver:
“We will create, over the next years, Palestinian campus activists in America and all over the world. Bigger and better than any Zionist activists. Just like you spent your summers on the kibbutz, we will bring college students to spend their Summers in refugee camps and work with our people. Just like you have been part of creating global pro-Israel organizations, we will create global pro-Palestinian organizations. Just like you today help create PR campaigns and events for Israel, so will we, but we will get more coverage than you ever have.”
And that, of course, is exactly what has happened in the intervening years. In the streets, in the corridors of academe, online – wherever young North Americans and Europeans gather, these days, the stench of Jew Hatred dominates. Young people, more than any other demographic, have been captivated by the “pro-Palestinian” movement – a movement that is, when you distill it down to its base elements, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish.
Wexler is aware of the work this newspaper has done exposing that anti-Israel protestors are being paid to protest. Asked where he thinks the money is coming from, Wexler says: “Makhoul said to me: You know where we are going to get the money for this? It will come from Arab countries and the European Union.” And that is what has happened, Wexler says in an interview from his California home.
But how can we know the campaign is coordinated, and not just happening organically? Says Wexler: “Because it is all just too similar. As soon as BDS started to rise, and I started to see real similarities in language and tone across the board. It was coordinated. It was directed.”
He adds: “These people have been brilliant. It’s very coordinated. It’s not just some people who happened to get organized on their own.”
Is the anti-Israel campaign working? Says Wexler: “As I started to see all these things starting to happen – BDS, Apartheid Week, both of which started in Toronto, by the way – I started thinking: My God, this is what Ameer Makhoul said was going to happen. I started to see the hand of Ameer Makhoul everywhere.”
The anti-Israel campaigners have pursued “a brilliant, brilliant strategy,” Wexler says, forging alliances with Black Lives Matter, Indigenous and anti-colonial groups. The minds behind the anti-Semitic campaign have also been very active online, he agrees. “They’re using influencers who they have working on these campuses. Their online effort isn’t just messaging. It’s bringing people to events, it’s community organizing.”
“They have been so, so successful. The curtain needs to be pulled back, to see where the money is coming from. We need to know why and how this is happening – and we’ll see that they have billions of dollars behind this effort.”
Gary Wexler is right. We in the West need to wake up, and start fighting back against a propaganda campaign that is reaching, and converting, millions.
And we need to do that before it’s too late.