Lamar High School's Student-Run News Publication

LAMAR LIFE

Lamar High School's Student-Run News Publication

LAMAR LIFE

Lamar High School's Student-Run News Publication

LAMAR LIFE

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The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Reflections on the events and its discussion
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It’s been several weeks since the Hamas attacks on Israel led them to declare war on the organization leading to 40 days of chaos, violence and concern, not just in Israel and Palestine but here in the States. For many, it’s probably very easy to ignore, maybe you see a post or two on Instagram. For the most part, it may seem very hard to fit something happening 7,000 miles away into your brain, especially something so contested and something people are very careful around. However, if you’re Jewish or Palestinian, what’s been happening this past month has been impossible to ignore.

It’s been a very complicated month to be Jewish, and while I’m not Palestinian, I know how heartbreaking this must have been for them as well. One thing I, a Jewish person, want people to understand about this conflict, and its place in the States is that it’s not about Jewish people versus Palestinian people. Though there has been evidence to the contrary on both sides, there is a great deal of unity, and there is a shared desire for peace. One thing that stands in the way of this is the frustrating lack of nuance present in so many debates on the subject and the assumptions people make that turn into hurtful rhetoric.

The first assumption I should clear out of the way, is that because I’m Jewish I have complete loyalty to the Israeli government. This couldn’t be further from the truth for me and many other Jews. The truth is that the Israeli government has been very unpopular among many Jewish and Israeli people for a very long time, and their disproportionate response to the events of Oct. 7 do not reflect the views of every Jew. Since the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, 11,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s airstrikes and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, a piece of Palestinian land home to 2 million Palestinians. Five thousand of those killed were children.

What is happening in Gaza is an urgent humanitarian crisis, one that demands an immediate, prolonged ceasefire, and brokering of peace. Regardless of your thoughts on what should be made of the land, which nation should have what, this is a crisis in desperate need of addressing. I can both unequivocally believe this and believe that the Oct. 7 attacks, which saw the most Jews killed in a single day since the Holocaust, is a tragedy and any attempts to justify it are in poor taste. The 400% increase in antisemitic incidents in America since Oct. 7 is a terrible reflection of the tragic assumptions that I have been referring to. 

In so many discussions of the crisis in Gaza I am maddened, and I am bewildered into other dimensions by this complete false dichotomy. It’s not sports, it’s not a team versus another team. The wish for the safety of Palestinian people is not contrary to the condemnation of attacks on Jewish people. It’s a poor, poor reflection on our capacity for thoughtfulness that so many can’t see that. 

I don’t believe this article is going to bring peace to the Middle East, and I don’t think just because I’m writing that I hope for peace between Israel and Palestine that peace will come. I just hope Jews and Palestinians both understand that we are not each other’s enemy and I hope peace comes. But I know that peace will not come if we refuse to open our eyes to the tragedy in Gaza and it will not come if we refuse to fully condemn antisemitism. 

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Ben Newman, Podcast Host

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