One-fifth of young Americans believe Holocaust is a myth – poll


One in five Americans believe the Holocaust of the Jewish people is a myth, according to polling data published by YouGov/The Economist on Thursday.

The poll, which surveyed 1,500 adult US citizens, asked respondents about their thoughts on a wide range of issues including Jewish people, Israel, and the Holocaust.

For each question the survey recorded, in addition to the percentage of the total population that gave each provided response, the breakdown of how individuals from various demographic groups responded.

Information on how respondents answered questions according to their gender, race, age, income level, and political affiliation, among other demographic groups, was recorded by the poll.  

Of the categories that revealed the most striking differences between the demographics recorded, perhaps the most dramatic was the differences in belief among the various age groups.

THE ENTRANCE to Porto’s newly inaugurated Holocaust Museum mirrors arriving at Auschwitz by train (credit: GIL ZOHAR)

Asked how much discrimination Jewish people face in America today, nearly a third of the 1,500 respondents, (72%) responded “a great deal” or “a fair amount.”

Antisemitism somewhat less important than Islamophobia for young Americans

Among respondents within the youngest age bracket, those aged 18-29, this fell to 61%.


This same age bracket was on par with the general sentiment in regard to discrimination against Muslims as 72% of those aged 18-29 said Muslims face “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of discrimination in the US today compared to 73% of the total population that said the same.

Asked how serious of a problem are hate crimes in the US against Jews was, 65% responded that it was a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem. In comparison, 56% of young respondents answered likewise.

In response to the question of how serious a problem antisemitism is in the US, the younger generation was far closer to being in step with the general population of respondents. In total, 63% of respondents said it was a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem. Among the youngest age bracket, 60% provided the same response.

Representing a mild difference, 64% of 18-29 year-old respondents, compared to the 56% of the aggregated total, said that discrimination against Muslims was a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem. 

Next, most respondents stated that they believed it was either not antisemitic (40%) or were unsure (40%) if opposing Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians was antisemitic.

A further 30% said it was not antisemitic to boycott Israeli products in protest of Israeli government policy. Another 37% were unsure. The final 33% said it was.

A full two thirds 67% then said it was indeed antisemitic to deny that the Holocaust happened. Another 9% said that it wasn’t and the rest were unsure.

This figure drastically changes when the 18-29 year-old age bracket is isolated. Among this group, less than half (46%) said that to deny that the Holocaust happened is antisemitic and 17% said it was not. The rest were unsure.

There was, however, one area where the results were reversed. The youngest age bracket was slightly more likely than the aggregated total (38% compared to 34%) to believe it was antisemitic to believe American Jews are more loyal to Israel than they are to the US. T

Still, the youngest group of respondents was less likely than the sum total (31% compared to 37%) to say it was antisemitic to cut off academic ties between American universities and Israeli universities in protest of Israeli government policy. 

Young Americans disbelieve in the Holocaust more than any other group polled

In a subsection entitled “Agreement with Statements about Israel,” while 7% of the total population of respondents said they believed the holocaust was a myth, 20% of 18-29 year-old respondents said the same. In fact, compared to 77% of the total population who actively said that they disagreed with the statement “they Holocaust is a myth,” only just above half (51%), of the youngest age bracket answered likewise. The proportion of respondents said they were unsure.

Slightly larger proportions of the aggregate population and 18-29 year-old age group (9% and 23% respectively) said they believed the Holocaust was exaggerated.

Asked if they agreed with a slew of statements widely considered antisemitic including “Jews have too much power in America,” “People should boycott Israeli goods and products,” “Israel exploits Holocaust victimhood for its own purposes,” “Israel has too much control over global affairs,” and “the interests of Israelis are at odds with the interests of the rest of the world,” the youngest age bracket answered in the affirmative more so than any other group.

A significant proportion of this age group also believed that Israel is an apartheid state (32%) and that Israel is deliberately trying to wipe out the Palestinian population (40%). Again, these proportions were higher than among any other group accounted for in the polling.

Additionally, the proportion of the youngest age bracket that agreed that American Jews make a positive contribution to American society (52%) was smaller than any other group accounted for in the polling.

Meanwhile, this age group had the largest proportion of respondents who disagreed with the statement that Israel has a right to exist.

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