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In Zionists vs. progressives narrative, there are gray areas

Gideon Klionsky, of Somerville, displayed counter views on the Israel-Hamas war as people rallied outside of the John F. Kennedy Federal Building in Boston on Oct. 18.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Many Jews feel compelled to condemn killings of Palestinian and Israeli civilians

Shira Schoenberg’s Nov. 13 op-ed, “Is there a future for Jewish progressivism after Oct. 7?” paints a narrative of progressive Jews feeling alienated from others on the left who criticize Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Left out of this narrative are the many progressive Jews who have spoken out against the human toll of Israel’s military campaign as well as against the apartheid conditions Palestinians have lived under for decades. Indeed, some of the largest recent US protests against Israeli military actions have been led by Jewish groups.

Last month, I joined hundreds of Jewish protesters outside Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office. Speakers, including a rabbi and a descendant of Holocaust survivors, drew on the shared values of those assembled to condemn the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians and to demand a cease-fire and negotiated return of hostages. Together, we mourned the lives lost and called for “Never again” to be applied to all people, not just Jews.

Jews calling for justice in the Palestinian territories do not fit into the narrative of Zionists vs. progressives. But there are too many of us to leave out. We are here, we are Jewish, and our values compel us to speak out against oppression, including in Gaza.


Ben Allen


Israel’s response to Hamas attack is morally reprehensible

I read Shira Schoenberg’s opinion piece with great interest. Having taken two pilgrimages to the Holy Land, I have come to love the Palestinian territories and Israel. My compassion toward Israel is not inconsistent with my outrage about its occupation of the territories, which dictates how Palestinians live every aspect of their daily lives.

While many Israelis want better conditions for the Palestinians, Israel’s government seems bent on denying Palestinians their basic rights and any real say-so over their lives. Hamas’s brutal murders and kidnappings on Oct. 7 were an unconscionable attempt to gain some kind of power. Israel’s response — the bombing of families and the blockage of humanitarian aid — is morally reprehensible. It goes far beyond self-defense. It will not make Israel safer. It will only add to the harm done, intensify the conflict, and take Israel and the Palestinians farther from a peaceful and viable solution.


On the Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City, there is a church in the shape of a teardrop, representing the tears Jesus wept for Jerusalem. Looking across the city, one can see symbols representing the three Abrahamic faiths, looking distinct, beautiful, and aligned. This is the image I hold for the future of the Holy Land.

Janet Fritz


This Jewish liberal has been disgusted by progressives’ excusal of Hamas barbarity

As a 72-year-old Jewish liberal, I found that Shira Schoenberg’s “Is there a future for Jewish progressivism after Oct. 7?” very effectively articulated the pain many of my friends and I feel. As Jews, we believe we have a moral responsibility to fight for ethical behavior, which included supporting protests against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last summer. Since Oct. 7 we have been saddened and disgusted by the hypocrisy of progressives who have ignored, if not celebrated, the barbaric actions of Hamas. The sad reality is that some of the anti-Zionist rhetoric today is no different from Nazi propaganda of the 1930s and ’40s or the chants by angry townspeople prior to pogroms.

Ken Bruss