Jon Keller at CBS Boston:

You’ve seen the crowds and heard the rhetoric. But what impact is all the campus turmoil over the war in Gaza having on public opinion? Not much, according to Dritan Nesho, co-director of the nationwide Harvard Center for American Political Studies (CAPS)/Harris poll, where monthly surveys have found “support for Israel has been fairly consistent.” Among the striking findings of their April survey:

  • While 59% think Muslim students face Islamophobia on campus, the 69% who see antisemitism there has come on strong. “That number wouldn’t have been stratospherically high, and it is very high, even as recently as one year ago,” said Nesho.
  • Two-thirds of voters today believe that it’s not safe to be openly Jewish on university campuses, and a huge majority favor suspension for students or teachers who call for violence against Jews, which is what many onlookers hear in common protestor chants. “The majority of the public, and the majority of voters, are not with the protestors,” Nesho said.
  • Among the 64% who believe there’s a “problem” with what higher ed institutions are teaching students these days, 40 percent identified racially divisive theories, 34 percent cited a lack of political diversity, 33 percent deplored the promotion of anti-Americanism, and 27% cited teachings that promote antisemitism.

Even if they’re isolated incidents, says Nesho, every time a protestor praises or excuses Hamas, it’s a public relations disaster. “Public opinion is pro-Israel, and public opinion is pro-Palestinian, but public opinion is anti-Hamas,” he noted. Remember the old Beatles song “Revolution”? There was a line in it: “If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao/You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow.”