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The Daily Tar Heel

Op-ed: An open letter to my fellow Tar Heels


Editor’s Note: This op-ed is part of a series of contributions related to the Israel-Gaza war. Letters and op-eds are sent in by community members and do not represent the beliefs of The Daily Tar Heel. The other op-eds related to this conflict can be found here

Submit your own op-ed or letter to the editor to More information about submissions can be found here.

I have been drafted into the war against misinformation. 

On Oct. 7, Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel, murdering upwards of 1,400 people. More than 240 people were taken hostage.

This was filmed in real-time on cell phones and GoPros. The Israeli government screened this collected footage to international journalists to “counter denial of atrocities."

Over the past weeks, I’ve watched my classmates, peers and people I used to call friends call the most brutal pogrom since the Holocaust “decolonization.” 

Before UNC Students for Justice in Palestine's rally on Oct. 12, it promoted imagery of Hamas paragliders. 

Student organizations, such as the Arab Student Organization, have vowed to “support Palestinian existence and resistance in all spheres.” 

When Palestinian resistance includes burning children alive, according to ZAKA volunteers interviewed by Reuters, it leads Jewish and Israeli students to wonder about our own safety on college campuses. 

Just one example at UNC: I can no longer study Hebrew, the language of my people, in person due to safety concerns held by my Israeli professor.

While this doesn’t compare to the atrocities Israelis have experienced in the past few weeks, the fact that events taking place on the other side of the world make Jews in America feel unsafe is horrifying.

My peers claim to prioritize human rights, yet justify the actions of a terrorist organization that states in its charter that its mission is to rid the world of Jews. Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, and Hamas has governed the Strip since 2007. Hamas’s leaders live “in luxury," as accused by some officials, while Gazans live in abject poverty. 

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency said in 2009 that Hamas stole humanitarian aid intended for Gazans. Hamas uses hospitals, mosques and other civilian infrastructure, according to NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Intelligence, making them legitimate military targets. 

This letter is not for those of you who have already made up your minds. There’s nothing I can say to convince you otherwise. This letter is for those of you who are unsure, those of you who have seen people talking about Israel and Palestine in the past few weeks and don’t understand why. This war may be taking place in the Middle East, but Jews are affected everywhere. Many of us know someone who lost someone on Oct. 7. I’ve found that support for organizations like SJP makes many Jewish students feel unsafe and that we are in a hostile environment.

I’m not asking you to support Israel, but I am asking you to care about your Jewish peers. Research events in context before speaking up. Understand the implications of using weighted terms like “settler-colonialism.” Learn why anti-Israel rhetoric is harmful to Jews.  

And please, condemn terrorist organizations for committing acts of terrorism. 

— Alana Goldman, UNC class of 2024

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