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The Next Generation: Changing Attitudes Towards Israel Among Younger Americans (Part 1)

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This event was the first in a three-part series examining the attitudes of young people in the United States towards Israel.


Co-organized by the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History at UCLA, the USC Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life, and the Center for the Study of the United States at Tel Aviv University. Co-sponsored by the UCLA Political Science Department.


About the Discussion

A recent survey found that while 84% of American voters supported Israel in the current war between Israel and Hamas, roughly half of Gen Z respondents (those aged 18-24) sided with Hamas, with many believing that Hamas' killing of 1,200 Israeli civilians could be justified by the grievances of Palestinians. These startling findings, along with polling data gathered before October 7th, reveal a stark generational divide in American attitudes toward Israel and its policies. What is responsible for this generational divide? Why are younger Americans, including young American Jews, more critical of Israel? How does the campus climate regarding Israel and Zionism influence the attitudes of young Americans?

 

These questions and more were tackled during this timely online panel discussion, moderated by Dov Waxman (UCLA) and featuring two experts: Eitan Hersh (Tufts University) and Matthew Boxer (Brandeis University). This event is the first in a three-part series examining the attitudes of young people in the United States and Israel. The series is a collaboration between the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History at UCLA, the USC Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life, and the Center for the Study of the United States at Tel Aviv University.

 

About the Speakers

Eitan Hersh is a professor of political science at Tufts University. His research focuses on US elections, voting rights, and civic participation. Hersh is the author of Politics is for Power (Scribner, 2020), Hacking the Electorate (Cambridge UP 2015), as well as many scholarly articles. Hersh earned his PhD from Harvard in 2011 and served as assistant professor of political science at Yale University from 2011–2017. His public writings have appeared in venues such as the New York Times, USA Today, The Atlantic, POLITICO, and the Boston Globe. Hersh regularly testifies in voting rights court cases and has testified to the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary about the role of data analytics in political campaigns. In addition to work on elections and civic engagement, Hersh has written on topics ranging from antisemitism and the political consequences of terrorist attacks to politicization in healthcare delivery and the opioid crisis. His next book is about the civic role of business leaders.

Matthew Boxer is an assistant research professor at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis University, where he taught in the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program for ten years. He earned an MA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis and an MS and PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his doctoral dissertation focused on the effects of Jewish community size on Jewish identity. His research varies widely and includes the socio-demography and social psychology of the Jewish community, altruistic behaviors and preferences, Israel Studies, formal and informal Jewish education, and antisemitism. He is a member of the national advisory board of the Center for Small Town Jewish Life at Colby College and a fellow of the Anti-Defamation League's Center for Antisemitism Research. 

Dov Waxman (Moderator) is the director of the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. He is a professor of Political Science and The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Chair of Israel Studies at UCLA. Waxman's research focuses on the conflict over Israel–Palestine, Israeli politics and foreign policy, US–Israel relations, American Jewry’s relationship with Israel, Jewish politics, and anti-Semitism. He is the author of dozens of scholarly articles and four books, most recently The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2019).

 

  

DISCLAIMER: The views or opinions of our guest speakers and the content of their presentations do not necessarily reflect the views of the UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. Hosting speakers does not constitute an endorsement of the speaker's views or opinions.