Surveys show what people believe in any given place and time. Samuel Abrams’ article (May 14) does so regarding college students and Gaza. Surveys do not do such a good job of reflecting right and wrong in any given age, however. It is a commonplace of history that vast majorities rejected abolition of slavery (in the North before the Civil War), civil rights for all (in the early 1960s) and an end to the Vietnam War in the late 1960s. Today, however, these once-despised minority positions find nearly universal acceptance.

The Gaza war protesters represent an equally accurate, if unpopular, moral compass. Smearing pro-peace and pro-equal-rights activists with things we are not (naive, pro-Hamas, antisemitic) cannot change the fact that dropping American-made 2,000-pound bombs on apartment buildings does little to harm Hamas, does much to strengthen Hamas and also strengthens Hamas’ extremist “partners” on the Israeli side. Equal civil rights for all in Israel-Palestine is the only reasonable, realistic solution to this terrible conflict. Surveys are blind to all this. They are, unfortunately, little more than dressed-up popularity contests.

History will bear the activists out.

Brian Harmon

Eagle Mountain