Federation in the news: The Greenfield Recorder 10/29/23

Guest columnist Frank Roberts: Protests against Israel sow hatred, dread

As the conflict in Israel enters its fourth week, I find myself thinking more about the future than the past.

Initially I was angry. I found my thoughts drifting from outrage to sadness to revenge. I have constantly imagined what I would do if it were my family murdered or held hostage. For many Americans, Israel is very far away, a distant and strange land, full of history and conflict. But for American Jews, it feels much closer. Most American Jews I know have only one to two degrees of separation from someone intimately mired in this conflict.

While I have not found much rest in those thoughts since then, I find myself thinking about what comes next. We all know what makes America great — a democracy that values and promotes free speech. A society thrives when people with opposing viewpoints can amicably engage in dialogue and discussion about the best path forward. But when protest groups immediately side with Hamas and align against Israel, without any empathy toward the innocent Jews who were slaughtered because they were Jewish, it promotes hatred in a way that becomes all too real and close.