Support those directly affected by the Israel-Hamas conflict

When Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, 2023, the Jewish community was in crisis, but our distress quickly transformed to fear. Yes, fear that our loved ones would be kidnapped, raped, and killed; yes, fear that Israel might cease to exist; yes, fear that antisemitic hate crimes would become even more common than before (they did, in fact, rise 388% between October 7-23 compared to the same period in 2022). 

The images and videos coming out of Israel of families being torn apart and children being kidnapped by armed soldiers were like remastered, high-definition films out of Poland in 1939. 

But my fear was not limited to that which permeated every Jewish community around the world—the fear that never leaves a community accustomed to oppression. No, my fear was that my own non-Jewish communities might react just like the countless student groups at colleges and universities around the country that proudly advertise their antisemitism. 

The Haverford community could have fully blamed Israel for Hamas’s terror attack, like the NYU Student Bar Association president did. Clubs could have signed a letter to the same effect, like 34 of Harvard University’s own campus groups, but neither of those things happened. 

Thank you.

And yet, our student body’s reaction also left much to be desired. For over a week, I barely slept. I fell into deep spirals reading virulent antisemitism in Instagram comment sections. I watched people I know reposting misinformation and antisemitic lies online. Now, that’s none of my Haverford peers’ faults, but we’re a community that loves to boast our support for each other. We’re a brotherhood. Where was that support when members of our community had friends and family hiding in bomb shelters?

As the days progressed after October 7, I grew less afraid that there would be an incident at school. I was less worried about the potential for antisemitism on campus. Luckily, our administration acted quickly to provide support, and our Jewish Student Union stood together. But soon, I began to wonder why nobody else seemed to care. This shouldn’t be a contentious issue. 

Terrorism is wrong. A group with an expressly stated mission to kill Jews is wrong.

Terrorism is wrong. A group with an expressly stated mission to kill Jews is wrong.

I don’t expect anyone not intimately connected to Israel to care as much as I do, but some semblance of regard should feel like a moral obligation. I reposted an image on my Instagram story that read, “Your Jewish friends are not okay.” 

I have 600 followers. 

I got two texts, and neither was from my Haverford brothers.

Every year, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day and Yom HaShoah (Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day), graphics circulate on social media acknowledging the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime. A few of my friends repost them. Of course, social media is not the only place for expressions of support; many people recognize the day and reflect in their own ways. Obviously, Holocaust remembrance is not personal for everyone. Jews make up 0.2% of the world’s population. Not everyone’s grandfather was a Holocaust survivor like mine. Not everyone has the State of Israel to thank for their family’s survival, but those remembrance graphics read, “#NeverAgain.”

Well, “never again” is now. 

Stores in Turkey have barred entrance for Jews. Protesters in Poland and New York have held signs reading, “Keep the world clean,” showing Jewish stars in trash cans.

Stores in Turkey have barred entrance for Jews. Protesters in Poland and New York have held signs reading, “Keep the world clean,” showing Jewish stars in trash cans. A professor at Cornell University remarked that he was “exhilarated” by Hamas’s attack—and, by extension, the attempted elimination of Israel and Jewish people. Homes in Berlin were marked with Jewish stars, just like they were during the Nazi regime.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful that our school campus is not an antisemitic cesspool. Perhaps it’s “good enough” that no one has made jokes about gassing Jews during a fire drill—an experience that a friend of mine from another school reported to me. 

But is it too much to ask to advocate for the safety of Jews in an increasingly antisemitic world? It’s not necessary to become the foremost leading expert on antisemitism, but now is the time to become educated about antisemitism and anti-Zionism. 

If we’re serious about preventing the genocide of the Jewish people, it’s time to prove it.

Author: Ian Rosenzweig '25

Ian Rosenzweig currently serves as Academics Editor and writer. He has also served as the editing director for The Foreign Policy Youth Collaborative, a youth nonprofit organization, for whom he has written content regarding international and domestic policy. His poem "Faithful Return" won the 2022 Berniece L. Fox Classics Writing Contest. In February 2023, three of his articles earned honorable mention recognition from the Philadelphia-area Scholastic Writing Awards.