The effort kicked off this last semester at six California campuses, including UCLA, UC Irvine and San Jose State University, and will expand to 20 more college campuses this fall.
The Adelsons and other supporters of Israel are alarmed by the precipitous growth in young Americans’ support for Palestinians. A Pew Research Center poll in May found that 27% of millennials now sympathize more with Palestinians, up from 9% in 2006 — while their generation’s support for Israel has declined in the same period from 51% to 43%.
A main cause, Israel supporters say, is the mushrooming BDS campus movement. In the last four years, student governments at eight of nine UC undergraduate campuses have voted to support the campaign.
“It’s the No. 1 nonmilitary threat to Israel and the Jewish people,” David Brog, executive director of the new Adelson-funded task force, said of BDS. “Our goal is to change the younger generation from neutral, if not opposed to, Israel to support of Israel.”