" "

Divergent sentiments emerge among Jewish New Yorkers in wake of Israel-Hamas conflict

0 166

The recent wave of violence in the Middle East has sparked a multitude of opinions among Jewish New Yorkers, as they grapple with their feelings of shared grief and differing perspectives on Israel’s response to the Hamas attack.

New York, home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, boasts 1.6 million residents with a wide range of political views regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the wake of the bloody assault by Hamas and the subsequent Israeli bombing campaign, these diverse views have come to the forefront.

As tensions escalate and Palestinians in northern Gaza attempt to flee in anticipation of an Israeli ground invasion, aid agencies have raised concerns about a growing humanitarian crisis in the blockaded enclave. The situation is exacerbated by the lack of electricity, water, and fuel supplies due to Israeli restrictions.

On a recent Friday evening, hundreds of New Yorkers gathered in Brooklyn to express their solidarity against Israel’s offensive. Wielding a banner that read “Jews Say Stop Genocide Against Palestinians,” the protestors urged the United States Congress to demand a ceasefire and reconsider the billions in funding for Israel. This rally, organized by the left-wing organization Jewish Voice for Peace, culminated with demonstrators marching to the home of prominent U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, who was preparing to lead a delegation of senators to Israel as a show of support.

Jay Saper of Jewish Voice for Peace stated, “There is only one way to end violence, and that is to address the root causes of everything happening: 75 years of Israeli military occupation and apartheid, and end U.S. complicity in this systemic oppression.”

However, some Jewish New Yorkers have taken a different stance, emphasizing the horrors of the Hamas attacks that claimed more than 1,300 Israeli lives. Philip Wolf, who didn’t grow up religious, emphasized the importance of a flourishing Jewish state, especially in the wake of recent events.

Prominent Jewish organizations, such as the American Jewish Committee and United Jewish Appeal, have backed pro-Israel demonstrations that drew thousands of supporters. Local authorities, including New York State’s Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams, have shown staunch support for Israel.

While public opinion in the United States, and particularly among American Jews, has traditionally leaned toward support for Israel, the past decade has seen an increase in criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and its right-leaning government.

The opinions on Israel’s actions are divided, with some American Jews expressing concern about the Israeli government’s moves and its treatment of Palestinians. In a 2021 poll by the Jewish Electorate Institute, 25% of Jewish voters labeled Israel as an “apartheid state.”

Despite differing opinions, the unwavering support for Israel from U.S. leaders, including President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, remains a central point of contention. Humanitarian organizations and rights observers, along with groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, have condemned the unequivocal backing from American leaders.

For Alex Kane, a senior writer at Jewish Currents, it’s vital to acknowledge the suffering of Israeli civilians while also recognizing the suffering in Gaza. He emphasizes the importance of critical thinking during times of grief to prevent the cycle of hatred and destructive actions. “We have to be able to hold all these things at once,” he concludes.

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *