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The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Fight antisemitism amid Hamas war


It was a Saturday morning in Venice Beach. I sat in a chair at the front of Scissors hair salon. Across the street, two women stood below a sign picturing a young girl kidnapped by Hamas in Israel. She looked to be about the age I was when I first started coming to Scissors, with the same long brown hair I saw in the mirror facing me. One woman tore the poster off the street post. The other ripped it down the center. People in the salon yelled in protest, but the women only stared at us as they dropped each half of the missing girl’s photo into a nearby trashcan and walked away.

Hamas — the terrorist organization currently in control of the Gaza Strip — attacked Israel, firing rockets and sending militants into Israeli territory on Oct. 7. Hamas terrorists killed hundreds of young Israelis at a concert and shot parents at point-blank range in front of their terrified children. They killed and burned forty babies, blockaded and set fire to elderly housing units and paraded female corpses through streets of cheering crowds. By the end of the day, 1,200 people were killed in Israel’s deadliest attack since 1948, according to Reuters. 

Israel responded to the attack with a promise to destroy Hamas, blockading Gaza and sending in the Israeli Defense Forces in retaliation. It is entirely reasonable to find problems with the Israeli government’s actions but inexcusable to use the conflict to promote strong antisemitic rhetoric across America. Supporting the Palestinian people is just as important as supporting Israelis, as both suffer greatly from the conflict. That “support,” though, should not involve murdering a pro-Israel protestor in Los Angeles or actively supporting a terrorist organization whose goal is to rid the world of Jewish people. 

Hamas indoctrinates their youth to hate the Jewish people. The Hamas Charter claims that Jews have fomented all historical wars and were even behind World War II. Its antisemitic roots make clear Hamas’ mission in Israel is not a fight for freedom against its so-called oppressors or colonizers, but an opportunity to kill off a race their publications describe as “blood suckers” and “human pigs.” 

The worldwide response for most previous cases of terrorist organizations killing citizens is an overwhelming support for the peoples attacked. Following the violence, however, demonstrators across the country joined pro-Palestine rallies, and at Harvard, thirty student groups signed a statement holding Israel responsible for all of the violence. Jewish students were verbally and physically harassed by pro-Palestinian protestors. At New York University, Jewish students had to be barricaded in a library as protestors pounded on the doors and shouted. One can protest against war and the loss of civilian life, but when that protest turns into attacking and calling for the death of Jewish people, it is no longer protest. It is active hatred of equally innocent human beings. Jewish protestors fill the streets to call for the protection of their homeland’s citizens and fight against overt terrorism. To commit violence against them is to further silence and scapegoat a people who have for so long been blamed for the world’s problems.

A swastika was found spray painted on the side of a truck in St. Louis, Missouri. A protester in New York at a pro-Hamas rally wove a swastika flag. A group of protestors outside the Sydney Opera House were caught on video chanting “gas the Jews.” Many are using the incident in the Middle East as an opportunity to deepen worldwide antagonism of the Jewish people rather than as a chance to destroy a terrorist group harming its own citizens and neighbors. This is not a debate over Palestine and Israel. Hamas has made clear their ultimate goal is not to “free Palestine” by using their civilians as human shields and refusing to release 150 captives to give their people access to food, water and electricity again. This is a reminder that protest is a platform to express objection, not extermination of an entire people. There should never be another day where supporting a cause means tearing down a sign spreading awareness for a toddler held captive by a terrorist organization. Whatever political side one leans toward, the world needs to come together in the face of hatred against a people. That little Jewish girl who sits waiting for rescue in Israel and the one who prays for her at Scissors from across the globe cannot do it alone. 

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Eden Conner, Assistant Opinion Editor

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  • A

    AmyNov 16, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    Your writing is so eloquent and descriptive. I can feel the emotion and the pain. Thanks for sharing your views. Amy

  • C

    Chevonne silvermanNov 15, 2023 at 10:11 pm

    Beautifully written Eden!! Bravo.