I am saddened and disappointed by the imbalance and inaccuracies in last week’s cover story on the Israel-Hamas conflict (not an “Israel-Gaza” conflict, as stated in the headline and first paragraph). The article begins and ends with information and quotes from two anti-Israel organizations and has six paragraphs on an Oct. 19 Muslim-American Community of Congregations panel. Just five paragraphs (about 20% of the story) and one quote address the Jewish-American response. The story is rather like a submarine sandwich with one thin slice of meat.

A panelist is quoted calling Israel’s military response a “genocide.” This is unfair and untrue. Israel was attacked by terrorists with appalling brutality. As a percentage of the population, its deaths are like losing 48,000 Americans. Hamas doesn’t confine itself to military bases. It operates in civilian areas and maintains many tunnels, including adjacent to hospitals. 

How is Israel to defend itself against an enemy like that? Does it not have a right to self-defense? Of course it also has a duty to minimize civilian casualties and suffering. Please know that most Jewish-Americans recognize this. We are horrified by civilian deaths and misery in Gaza as well as Israel. 

I also want to clarify that Israel hasn’t occupied Gaza since 2005. I fear that the Hamas attack will harden Israeli opinion against any future territorial concessions.

The story got one thing right. Jews and Moslems are indeed grieving about the conflict and the human suffering it has created. We’re also feeling frightened and alone. Antisemitic incidents were already rising rapidly before the current conflict. They have increased an astonishing 388% since Oct. 7, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Anti-Muslim incidents are up significantly as well, including the despicable attack on a little boy and his mother in Plainfield. 

Many if not most Jewish- and Palestinian-Americans have family and friends in Israel and Gaza. If your readers know anyone with ties to the area, I hope they will reach out to them as they would to anyone else who is grieving. It will be most appreciated.

Judith Alexander
Oak Park

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