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‘From the river to the sea’ … but students don’t even know which ones

Outright ignorance and indoctrination have led to a scary percentage of college-aged Americans thinking the Holocaust never happened.

That’s right, 20 percent of those between the ages of 18-29 say the systematic slaughter of Jews by the Nazis during World War II is a myth.

Meanwhile, much attention has been given of late to college activists chanting “from the river to the sea” in support of the Palestinians, a slogan historically associated with the annihilation of Israel.

Allegedly educated people know this (but concerns over “oppression” take precedent), but, again, young people have shown their ignorance. They have no idea which river … and which sea.

UC Berkeley Professor Ron Hassner notes in the Wall Street Journal he hired a firm to conduct a poll of “250 students from a variety of backgrounds across the U.S.” … and found less than half  knew the phrase references the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea.

“There’s no shame in being ignorant,” Hassner says, “unless one is screaming for the extermination of millions.”

Some of the alternative answers were the Nile and the Euphrates, the Caribbean, the Dead Sea (which is a lake) and the Atlantic. Less than a quarter of these students knew who Yasser Arafat was (12 of them, or more than 10%, thought he was the first prime minister of Israel). Asked in what decade Israelis and Palestinians had signed the Oslo Accords, more than a quarter of the chant’s supporters claimed that no such peace agreements had ever been signed. …

Would learning basic political facts about the conflict moderate students’ opinions? A Latino engineering student from a southern university reported “definitely” supporting “from the river to the sea” because “Palestinians and Israelis should live in two separate countries, side by side.” Shown on a map of the region that a Palestinian state would stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, leaving no room for Israel, he downgraded his enthusiasm for the mantra to “probably not.” Of the 80 students who saw the map, 75% similarly changed their view.

When informed of the facts behind “from the river to the sea,” almost 68 percent of the students polled went from supporting it … to rejecting it.

IMAGE: Khairul Effendi/Shutterstock.com

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