How Have 10/7 And The Israel-Hamas War Changed Your Priorities And Activism?

By | Nov 29, 2023

We asked participants on /r/Jewish, a discussion forum on the social media platform Reddit, about how 10/7 and the Israel-Hamas war have changed their priorities and activism. We were struck by the authenticity and thoughtfulness of the responses. Here are a few.

From /u/baby_shoes: I understand more concretely the need for a Jewish state. While my parents emigrated west to escape antisemitism, and while their parents were Holocaust survivors, I’ve still always felt uncomfortable with the concept of an ethnostate in the modern world. The last two weeks have shown me that Jewish lives and dignity are very conditional everywhere else. I might have the “right politics” at the moment, but I don’t want my right to exist to be contingent on that.

I’ve decided to stop copping to bullshit for the sake of getting along. It is perfectly fine to criticize Israel for things they’ve done, but I will no longer “compromise” on lies and disinformation just to avoid interpersonal conflict, and I’m done coming up with or accepting excuses for antisemites.

From /u/OneBadJoke: I went from an anti-Zionist to a Zionist in the span of 48 hours, so that’s a big change.

From /u/FrenchFryLovar: Personally it’s just been a great reminder to stay loving and appreciate the freedom and safety I am so lucky to enjoy as a Jewish American. My family came here not so long ago deeply traumatized and with nothing, to escape violence and death. Their blood is mine, and if they could find the strength to move forward without losing their faith, so can I. It’s humbling to remember this. Any personal or professional problems I might be fretting over, any anger I might have or prejudice we face…we remain so blessed. Hate is a deficit of experience and empathy. We should never forget that.

From /u/califa42: I am an American-born secular “half-Jew” whose mother is Jewish and father is not. I have relatives in Israel. Though I’ve always described myself as Jewish when asked, I am feeling more aligned with my Jewish community now, and have returned to learning Hebrew. I am tending to want to be around my Jewish friends more at this point, too tired to engage in political arguments about Israel with non-Jewish friends.

From u/hihihi373: Thinking of getting a masters in Jewish studies. It’s been a weird pivot.

From /u/chitowngirl12: I’m contributing financially to the different protest groups in Israel because I’ve been impressed with civil society’s response and I know that the money will be put to good use. I don’t trust the money contributed to the big U.S. Jewish organizations won’t end up lining the pockets of some Likud-linked businessmen or in bots and PR to keep Bibi in power instead of going for recovery and to the victims.

And I’m advocating for the hostages. My sense is that the Israeli government doesn’t care about them, thinks they are a “nuisance” that they have to provide only lip service to, and is fine with them being tortured and killed in Gaza. The only way there is even a remote chance that any of the hostages will be freed is through outside pressure and diplomacy by the Americans, EU, and the Arab countries. It’s really important for us to pressure our Congresscritters and others and insist that freeing the hostages be a top priority.

From /u/classyfemme: Personally it has made me very aware of how much suffering the Palestinian people go through. I hope Hamas is eradicated and the people are able to move forward with a more effective government in Gaza and build a real country for themselves. I hope Israel doesn’t take more of their land. I hope Israel stops the occupation and illegal settling in the West Bank. Both territories need their own space and for that space to be respected if any peace is to come in the region. I worry about Bibi stirring up a regional war that destroys Israel. The methods of the last 70 years haven’t worked. Time to try something different.

From /u/TemperatureOk5123: I am open about advocating for Israel and expressing my Jewish identity and interest in our culture. Especially as a queer trans woman, finding a space that accommodates all of me, not just part of me, has been my goal.

From /u/Persianx6: I have long held that both Israel and Hamas are to blame for the situation and nothing I’ve seen in the past two weeks would make me think either side is worthy of more attention, money or care. Free the hostages and free Palestine. Yes, both can happen. Perhaps only one will.

From /u/lurch940: I’m not Jewish but my wife and children are, and it’s been difficult trying to support them all through this. My wife has lost many friends for supporting Israel, and some of my son’s Arab friends have been making things awkward for him. Our neighborhood is primarily Muslim, and we’ve all heard a lot of chatter about the situation whenever we go to the corner store, etc. No one is wearing their star necklaces for the time being so that they won’t be harassed. We’re essentially living on the DL in regards to being Jewish. It’s sad and scary, and everyone has felt very isolated. My wife has turned to her online Jewish community for support but my kids don’t really have a good pathway to that, so they just don’t have anyone but our immediate family to talk to about this unfortunately.

From u/iamreallycold: I’ve been wearing my star earrings and necklace. I started having lots of problems with Muslim cabbies in Europe after 10/7. No problem until they saw my star earrings. One even kicked me out. I’ve always worn my hair up since I got married, and I started wearing my grandmother’s hair pins. I am now looking at starting to cover more. I have also started learning the old Ladino songs she and my aunts would sing. I also have become a Zionist. I used to believe in two states, no longer.

From /u/Purple150: Deactivated Twitter and Instagram. Actively seeking out Jewish spaces. Wearing Magen David openly and sadly had to report an incident of antisemitism. It made me much more aware that as a Jew, the people who really understand what I am about are mostly other Jews. Because there are a whole lot of people who seem worryingly indifferent to our death.

From u/icomplimentassholes: Immediately renewed my CCW [concealed carry] license and started a Jewish gun club. Never again.

From u/Beneficial_Love_5433: It hasn’t changed my thinking. As an analytical chemist, I distill everything down to the simplest terms. It goes like this: If taking land by force is ok, Jews own Israel. If taking lands by force is not ok, Jews own from the Nile to the Euphrates.

From u/ArtVanbago: I’ve been reading more of Alan Dershowitz’s books presenting arguments in favor of Israel and my sense of pride as a Jew along with loyalty to and solidarity with my fellow Jews has deepened. My hatred has deepened toward all the ignorant people blindly supporting Palestine and holding Israel to a standard that no one else would be held to. Holding Israel accountable for everything is just garbage.

From u/Nursingstudent0911: I find myself caring less about public opinion, as it’s evident that the world will somehow always fall for propaganda when it’s targeted at Jews. As long as Israel does what it needs to do to get rid of the terrorists, I don’t care about what the world thinks. We just have to look out for ourselves, because nobody else ever will. I mean people really take what Hamas officials say at face value and then require Israel, a fricken democracy, to prove every single thing and have independent verifiers and blah blah blah, and even when proof is produced, the world is like, not enough. So yeah, at this point, I am done having conversations with people about why Israel has a right to defend itself.

From u/VogonPoetry19: It made me reevaluate my plan to leave Israel… On one hand, the massacre happened on Israel’s land, but on the other hand—seeing the so-called “liberals” in Europe and Australia celebrating the death of Jews made me think maybe we better stick together?

From u/Menemsha4: I am going to be moving to a city to be closer to a Jewish community. I actually looked at my first house there today.

Opening picture: Photo credit:  Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.