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The Wingspan

The official student news site of Norristown Area High School

The Wingspan

The official student news site of Norristown Area High School

The Wingspan

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We Must Choose People, Not Politics, in the Palestine-Israel War

Abigail Carsner

With war now ravaging the Gaza Strip and much of western Isreal due to the ongoing conflict between Hamas and the Jewish State, political tension has been on the rise, sprouting discourse between people who pick either of the sides or simply don’t side with one at all. 

It feels almost like a cultural taboo to speak about it, as people who voice their opinions publicly have lost their jobs like the 76rs basketball reporter or Artforum magazine editor-in-chief both of whom advocated for a cease-fire while aligning more towards Palestinians. Although those in support of Israel also receive much backlash. However, the situation does not just affect those within the media; recently, the presidents of Harvard and Penn both resigned due to pressures regarding the war and antisemitism found on their campus.

In light of a protest in support of a Palestinian state, antisemitic acts, and remarks on school grounds, Ivy League school presidents were called to testify before U.S. Congress. Much was said throughout the 5 hour-long hearing, but the final nail in the coffin, came when Havard’s previous president stated that “Depending on the context.” calling for the genocide of Jews did not necessarily violate the school’s rules and may not be punishable. 

 Trying to tip-toe through the minefield of a situation only ends up putting you in the crosshairs of one of the sides. Former presidents of both Harvard and Penn tried to stay as neutral as possible, openly condemning the hate speech and attacks against Jewish people and students on campus while maneuvering around questions directed at Pro-Palestinians, but it all came crashing down anyway.

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If it’s wrong to be in support of either Palestine or Israel and potentially lose your job because of it, what can one do?

 First of all, a major issue that has been prevalent throughout this global conflict is that some people undermine or simply don’t understand that the civilians who live under the rule of a country or militant organization do not always stand for the beliefs or ideals of those in power. Someone can be in support of Palestinians without applauding the acts of Hamas. People can retaliate against the bombardment of the Gaza Strip but still be in defense of Israelis and Jewish people.

On the other hand, the senseless defacing of Jewish-owned businesses like a Falafel shop or an after-school center does anything but progress the movement advocating for peace between nations. These protests should not have sparked a Congressional hearing. Part of the reason Palestinian supporters are being branded as antisemitic is because of these antisemitic actions. Attacking a religion, and the people of that religion, because of the actions of a country is nonsensical and is counter-productive to those hoping to liberate Palestinians.

The reaches of this issue even knock on the doors of NAHS.  Students and teachers alike have opinions about this conflict; however, many did not want to go on record to discuss this topic.  

One student was willing to go on record. Ghita Hameddine, emphasized how “dystopian” it all feels, “When I talk to people, it’s like we’re not all living in the same world,” said Hameddine. “We’re not all superheroes, we can’t just end the war. We can take certain steps to support one another, [even] just spreading awareness helps.” 

Hameddine determined that part of the tension comes from people who avoid the topic altogether, “If it doesn’t concern them, they don’t care-and I get that-but at the same time, where is our empathy, our passion for dying people?” She paused. “There is a crisis going on, and it feels like we aren’t doing anything about it.”  

The students and faculty of Norristown must embrace our core values and recognize we are part of the larger community” and  “diversity is a valued strength to be affirmed and celebrated”.  We must be able to have civil and meaningful discussions where we learn from each other, disagree, and choose to make a meaningful difference that doesn’t harm other people.  We do not need to agree, but we do need to show respect.  

We can take the side of both, both bodies of people who are suffering, who are and were persecuted. The backing of Palestinians should not be considered a blanket statement that commends the murder of innocent civilians by Hamas; reinforcing the defense of Israelis and Jews should not translate to praise of Israel’s bombings in Gaza. Ultimately, regardless of what “side” you are on, we can all be on the side of humanity.

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About the Contributors
Zach Zanders
Zach Zanders, Staff Writer
Zach is very interested in traveling the world, seeing new places, and meeting new people. He wants to become a movie director after high school and pursue his dream of writing fiction stories. 2022 is Zach's very first year on the Wingspan.
Abigail Carsner
Abigail Carsner, Graphics Editor
Abigail has always had a talent for writing. From a young age, Abigail could write like there was no tomorrow. She loves it. This is her second year on the Wingspan. She is a fan of film, art, literature, and music. She enjoys writing music-related articles, either it being about a certain genre or music news. Abigail also likes to write creative works, play guitar, and draw. When she is older, Abigail either wants to be a musician or a writer.

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