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The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

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Israel-Palestine conflict spurs discussions at home

Israel+has+engaged+in+a+month-long+conflict+with+Palestine%2C+causing+division+between+pro-Palestinian+and+pro-Israeli+students+in+the+United+States+and+other+countries.
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Israel has engaged in a month-long conflict with Palestine, causing division between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli students in the United States and other countries.

On October 7, 2023, the Palestinian militia group Hamas led attacks on Israeli military bases and towns, killing 1,200 Israeli citizens and military personnel as reported by Israeli officials.
In response to this, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) launched a ground assault with bombing runs on the Palestinian occupied Gaza strip and West Bank areas. Roughly 16,000 Palestinians have been killed in air and artillery strikes since October 7.
Hospitals and refugee camps are among the alleged targets.
“We have had very limited contact with our friends and family in Israel, but the first night that everything spun out of control, I was with my bubby and she got a call from her best friend who was in tears,” Hayes junior Rosemary Blitzstein said. “She hated what was happening.”
These attacks have been condemned by human rights groups as they affect mainly civilian occupied areas, yet U.S. and Israeli officials claimed that Hamas has built an extensive network of tunnels underneath civilian infrastructure, justifying the bombings.
The Biden administration has come out in support of Israel’s actions and urged Congress to send aid to Israeli defense initiatives.
“Yes, Hamas is in Gaza. But they also [have been] subject to a brutal 16-year blockade, and Gaza has been under siege where they can’t really easily access the basic necessities that we have such as water, gas and electricity,” said Michelle Pham, a member of the Columbus Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL). “As it currently stands, [Palestinians] have very little say in what happens in their society.”
Israel has historically taken ownership over Palestinian territories, often relying on violent action such as the Nakba during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, to establish Israeli rule.
Since the conflict reignited on October 7, tensions within Palestinian and Israeli groups in the U.S. have also risen.
Groups like the Anti-Defamation League, who did not respond to the Talisman’s requests to comment, have urged Jewish Americans to stand with Israel.
“Israel is the biggest recipient of U.S. aid in the world. So because of that, the ideas of the country are also in that direction. Which is, if you criticize Israel, you’re being antisemitic,” said Jani Pranav, PhD, Associate Professor at The Ohio State University and faculty adviser for Students for Justice in Palestine. “I would say historically, the fight against racism, the fight against colonialism and the fight against antisemitism are actually linked together.”
At Hayes and other high schools, students have taken to social media and other outlets in order to express their viewpoints.
“TikTok just put out a statement saying that ‘we’re not pro Palestine, but a lot of teenagers are,’” Pranav said. “On a lot of these issues, politicians say ‘we’re speaking for the people,’ and we’re seeing a lot of people, especially youth, kind of say, ‘no, you’re not’ … I think there’s a generational shift going on in terms of how you think about social justice. And I think that dynamic is going to shape Ohio in the next 10 years.”
Among Gen Z, pro-Palestine sentiment holds a slight majority.
“I think standing against Palestine would be standing with genocide, which I [won’t do] by any means. Simultaneously, I do have family in Israel. I do have friends in Israel who are not pro anything that’s going on,” Blitzstein said. “I, as a Jewish American, actually have no control over the Israeli government. Neither do most Israeli citizens.”
At some colleges and universities nationwide, pro-Israel and pro-Palestine demonstrations have made national news.
The number of hate crimes and violent threats on campuses, against both Jewish and Muslim individuals, have also spiked since the attacks.
“In Columbus, we have done a lot of support work for Palestinian led organizations, including Students for Justice in Palestine, as well as the Palestinian Liberation Movement,” Pham said. “That includes having street actions or attending city council meetings.”
PSL, and organizations like it, have said that these demonstrations began in order to raise awareness for and encourage action against Israel’s claim over the Gaza and West Bank territories.
“I think when we look at the state of Israel, we see a classic example of settler colonialism just like the United States and Native Americans,” Pranav said.
At OSU, the campus’ Hillel group, a part of an international network of Jewish campus organizations, has led marches in support of Israel and advocated for the university’s administration to take a firm stance against Hamas’ attacks.
The university obliged, issuing a statement condemning Hamas and encouraging students to show respect and compassion for their peers. The statement also included a promise to uphold free speech principles, even if the views expressed do not align with the university’s.
OSU Hillel did not respond to the Talisman’s requests for comment.
Meanwhile, the majority of the U.S. House of Representatives has come out in support of Israel’s actions and called on others to do the same.
Since then, the House has approved billions in funding for Israel’s defense and humanitarian initiatives.
However, these views are not universal. The fate of the bills remain in the hands of the Senate and support for Israel is steadily dropping among all Americans.
“I think this is time to really learn and really put into practice the values we have around diversity,” Pranav said. “This is an issue where all of a sudden, Republicans and Democrats seem to be on the same page. That should lead to a lot of questions and a lot of healthy discussion and debate from people to figure out where our tax dollars are going and if we support that.”

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Grace Metz, Editor-In-Chief
Grace Metz (she/her) is a senior at Hayes. This is her second year on staff. She is involved with the central Ohio creative writing scene. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, volunteering in her community, and spending time with friends and family.
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