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Lately with Layne: Islamophobia, antisemitism are not solutions

The Israel-Hamas war is a long-standing and complicated conflict that cannot be addressed with hateful generalizations of antisemitism and Islamophobia. With both reactions on the rise in the U.S., curating understanding and solutions for this conflict is moving even further out of reach. 

Antisemitism, or hostility and discrimination against Jewish people, has had an upward trend since the war began. Israel and Judaism-based hate is not only inappropriate but also incorrect. Ordinary Jewish citizens are not the ones fueling the fire. 

In fact, there have been plenty of protests in Israel and protesters — who one might assume would side with Israel — demanding a ceasefire in Gaza. During one protest in Washington, D.C., Jewish protestors wore T-shirts that read “Jews Say Cease-fire Now.”

This demonstrates Jewish and people of Israeli culture’s ability to separate themselves from the actions of Israel’s government. Outsiders should make the same separation and not flock toward antisemitism. 

Antisemitism as a result of the war in Gaza has additional implications beyond those borders. 

For example, the New York Police Department reported that about 70% of recorded hate crimes in the last month have been directed toward Jewish people. Also, the Anti-Defamation League received reports of 312 antisemitic incidents between Oct. 7 and Oct. 23. Of those, 190 were said to be linked to the Israel-Hamas war. 

Condemning the Israeli government, its actions and the history of apartheid is the proper way to promote ideas of progress without generalizing against and harming innocent people. 

Islamophobia, or prejudice against Muslim people, has deep roots in U.S. history. The reactions to the Israel-Hamas war have deepened generalizations that need to be unlearned in order for productive conversation and speech to take place. 

Hamas is the organization that is holding hostages and killing Israeli people, not Palestinians or Muslims. It is an incorrect generalization. 

More than 100 law firms in the U.S. sent a letter to top universities as a warning to suppress antisemitic happenings on campus. Several Muslim bar associations, along with others, found their lack of acknowledgment of anti-Arab and Islamophobic sentiments’ presence on the same campuses to be blatantly hateful — and it is. 

Acknowledging Israeli lives lost without acknowledging Palestinian lives lost is offensive and perpetuates Islamophobia in places as diverse as law firms and universities, which makes it seem inherently normal. That is completely dangerous for the state of our country, for Gaza and for every Palestinian and Muslim. 

Palestinian American Congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib, was recently censured for her comments on the Israel-Hamas war by House Republicans. No one, especially not government representatives, should be allowed to perpetuate Islamophobic and hateful speech, especially in this setting. As the sole Palestinian with a family living in the occupied West Bank, Tlaib is a rare voice in Congress who offers a perspective like no other. 

Recognizing the hateful generalizations stemming from the Israel-Hamas war and counteracting them with educated, empathetic speech during wartime is the only way that ordinary Palestinian, Muslim, Israeli and Jewish people will not be wrongfully targeted. 

Layne Rey is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Let Layne know by tweeting her @laynerey12.

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