Jewish leaders in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have been speaking out about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, as many people are still split over which side should be supported.
Many leaders in the metroplex are urging people to remain united in support of Israel following an unprecedented terrorist attack by Hamas on October 7 that left more than 1,400 Israelis and foreign nationals dead, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
Igor Alterman, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, told The Dallas Morning News that “there is no question that everyone feels hurt and scared and enraged because terrorism doesn’t really have a religious or political affiliation.”
Joel Schwitzer, regional director for the American Jewish Committee Dallas, echoed a similar sentiment, saying that regardless of their personal opinions, people can look at the conflict and “recognize that this is a time to stand shoulder to shoulder together, that right now Israel is under an existential threat.”
While Schwitzer said he believes that everyone should support Israel, he said he understands that does not mean “agreeing with every decision that the Israeli government makes.”
“Standing with Israel doesn’t mean that you can’t have differences of opinion in policy. Just like being a patriotic American doesn’t mean that you can’t criticize American policy,” he added, according to the DMN.
“I think standing with Israel means recognizing that Hamas needs to be driven from power — that we cannot live in a neighborhood where Hamas is perpetrating attacks of barbarism and brutality on Israeli people and on their own people,” he said.
In contrast to those who support Israel, others have voiced pro-Palestinian perspectives, with multiple anti-Israel protests being organized in Dallas in recent weeks.
One such protest took place on October 15. It was called “All Out for Palestine,” as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
The rally was hosted by multiple pro-Palestine groups. Attendees chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” among other slogans.
As many people across the metroplex are split regarding the topic, Rabbi Nancy Kasten said the last few weeks have “been incredibly hard, like, devastatingly hard,” and that people should come together to work through the tragic international events, per the DMN.
Kasten is the chief relationship officer of Faith Commons, the Dallas-based interfaith group whose goal is to “catalyze conversations and community partnerships that address emerging opportunities to break down systemic barriers to equity and human dignity.”
“My colleagues and I have been working for years and decades to build a shared society, to de-traumatize Palestinians and Israelis and Jews and Arabs, and to re-humanize each other,” she said, according to WFAA.
Despite the various opinions of those around the metroplex and across the country, President Joe Biden has allegedly remained steadfast in his support for Israel.
Biden spoke with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at a joint press conference on Wednesday. He said the United States “will ensure Israel has what it needs to defend itself against these terrorists.”
“We also have to remember that Hamas does not represent — let me say it again — Hamas does not represent the vast majority of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip or anywhere else,” clarified Biden.
“Israelis and Palestinians equally deserve to live side by side in safety, dignity, and peace. And there’s no going back to the status quo as it stood on October 6. That means ensuring Hamas can no longer terrorize Israel and use Palestinian civilians as human shields,” he said.