I have been drafted into the war against misinformation. On October 7th, 2023, Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel, ruthlessly murdering, as reported by NPR, upwards of 1400 people. Over 240 people were taken hostage, many of them children or Holocaust survivors.
This was filmed in real-time by Hamas on cell phones and GoPros. The Israeli government was forced to screen this collected footage to international journalists to counter the denial of atrocities.
Over the past weeks, I’ve watched my classmates, peers, and people I used to call friends call the most brutal pogrom since the Holocaust as “decolonization.” During UNC SJP’s rally on October 12th, they aligned themselves with Hamas terrorists and promoted terrorist imagery.
Student organizations, such as UNC ASO , have vowed to “support Palestinian existence and resistance in all spheres.” When “Palestinian resistance” includes burning children—I’m sorry, “settler-colonialists”—alive, as reported by Zaka volunteers and Israeli official Gilad Barat, statements, it leads Jewish and Israeli students to wonder about our own safety on college campuses.
One example at UNC: I can no longer study Hebrew, the language of my people, in person due to my Israeli professor’s safety concerns. While this doesn’t compare to the atrocities Israelis have experienced in the past few weeks, the fact that events taking place on the other side of the world make Jews in America feel unsafe is horrifying.
My peers claim to prioritize human rights yet justify the actions of a terrorist organization that states in their charter that their mission is to rid the world of Jews.
Hamas is not fighting to liberate Palestinians. Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, and Hamas has governed the Strip since 2007. Hamas’s leaders live in “extravagant hotels in Doha,” whilst Gazans live in abject poverty.
The UN reported in 2009 that Hamas steals humanitarian aid intended for Gazans, and evidence suggests this has continued. Hamas uses hospitals, mosques, and other civilian infrastructure as terrorism strongholds, making them legitimate military targets, according to the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Intelligence. Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields.
This letter is not for those of you who have already made up your minds. There’s nothing I can say to convince you otherwise. This letter is for those of you who are unsure, those of you who have seen people talking about Israel and Palestine in the past few weeks and don’t understand why. This war may be taking place in the Middle East, but Jews are affected everywhere. We all know someone who lost someone on October 7th. Supporting organizations like SJP creates a hostile environment for Jews, and it makes us unsafe.
I’m not asking you to support Israel, but I am asking you to care about your Jewish peers. Research events in context before speaking up. Understand the implications of using weighted terms like “settler-colonialism.” Learn why anti-Israel rhetoric is harmful to Jews.
And please, condemn terrorist organizations for committing acts of terrorism.
A slightly edited version of the article was published in the Daily Tar Heel, the official campus paper of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.