In the discourse we are having over the Israel-Hamas war, there is a glaring gap in the knowledge of the historical context surrounding it. Ali Velshi emphatically points out that there is no moving forward with solutions if we lack a basic understanding of history and facts.
Lamentably, a 2020 survey of American adults aged 18 to 39 (that would be Millennials and Gen Z) indicates a disturbingly deep ignorance about one of the darkest episodes in human history, the Holocaust. Why there are tensions in the region, how the nation of Israel was established, and why the struggle for a Palestinian state has continued are intrinsically tied to the systematic attempt to exterminate the Jewish people by Nazi Germany.
The survey results are alarming. Fifty-six percent of respondents were unable to identify Auschwitz-Birkenau, arguably the most infamous of concentration camps. More than a third assumed the number of Jews murdered was “two million or fewer,” and more disturbingly, 11 percent believe “Jews caused the Holocaust.”
“The Holocaust is one of humanity’s darkest historical moments. The Middle East is one of our most complex contemporary issues,” Velshi states. “We cannot find solutions to our toughest problems now if we cannot work from a shared set of basic documented facts. If two generations of Americans don’t know that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust … Where do we go from here?”
The survey may have also been prescient: “59 percent of the respondents say they believe something like the Holocaust could happen again.” It could, if these folks remain ignorant of the past.
LISTEN: ALI VELSHI ON HOW MANY YOUNG PEOPLE ARE IGNORANT OF THE HOLOCAUST
WATCH: THE NUMBERS OF AMERICANS LACKING BASIC HISTORICAL FACTS
MORE FROM MSNBC’S ALI VELSHIAli Velshi on the ignorance of young adults about The Holocaust