On October 18, 2023, President Joe Biden (he/him) visited Tel Aviv to express support for Israel’s ongoing war efforts against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. During the visit, Biden indicated concern for the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, warning Israel to not be “consumed” by rage and stating the U.S. made “mistakes” in its response following the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York (CNN). Around 20 Egyptian humanitarian aid trucks were approved to arrive in Gaza amid the crisis, but the struggle to arrange a ceasefire continues. The UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire, 120 in favor, 14 against, and 45 abstentions. The U.S. voted against after a Canadian amendment that condemned Hamas’s actions on October 7 as terrorist attacks failed to pass (UN Press).
Israeli officials have called for UN Secretary-General, António Guterres (he/him) to resign after he commented during a UN Security Council meeting on October 25 that Israel remains responsible for “clear violations of international law,” and that the October 7 Hamas attacks “did not happen in a vacuum,” (CNBC). As of October 29, Israel has begun its plan to carry out a large-scale ground operation in the Gaza strip. This came in the wake of an increased number of airstrikes and subsequent collapse of phone and internet access in Gaza (AP).
In response to the ongoing crisis, protests have broken out across the U.S. after President Biden has spoken on the White House’s support for Israel. October 28 witnessed one of the largest protests in response; thousands of New York protestors took to the Brooklyn Bridge chanting, “free Palestine” (NYT). Hundreds of protestors in support of Palestinians also gathered at a rally in Boston’s Copley Square on October 22, according to the Boston Herald.
At Bridgewater State University, a vigil was held for students, faculty, and staff to attend, creating a space for students to mourn the tragedies of the ongoing war. When asked why they were at the vigil, members of the campus community shared unique perspectives. Rachel (she/her), explained she wanted to “gain more perspective on the situation, and pray for peace for everyone [involved].” Matthew (he/him), has “family over there and family friends who serve in the IDF.” He stated that he “wants to attend these events to know [he] is safe on campus and to know what is going on.” Meanwhile, Dr. Margaret Lowe of the BSU History Department read out a quote from the International Plum Village (a Buddhist tradition), urging to “not allow hatred to take over.” Dr. Lowe expressed that there is pain on either side, and that the solution to the crisis is not more violence and pain, but compassion and understanding.