While Indianapolis mourns with Israel, some students celebrate violence

About 800 people, including community members, legislators, and politicians, attended a community gathering on Monday to show support for Israel at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, an Indianapolis synagogue.

Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Oct. 7 that left more than 1300 dead in Israel, including at least 11 American citizens, and thousands more injured. Many community members at the gathering were horrified by videos that emerged amidst the violence, including one of a young German tattoo artist that appeared to be paraded through the streets naked by Hamas.

Mayor Joe Hogsett and his Republican challenger Jefferson Shreve were in attendance, as well as State Sen. J.D. Ford, Carmel mayoral candidate Sue Finkman, and others.

Students for Justice in Palestine at Butler University plan demonstration in support of Hamas

The Indianapolis Liberation Center announced on Sunday that they would be holding a demonstration in support of Hamas on Monument Circle on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 5:30 pm, along with the Students for Justice in Palestine – Butler University, Party for Socialism and Liberation Indianapolis, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Indiana. The Middle Eastern Student Association at IUPUI also endorsed the event on their social media.

“This is what it means to Free Palestine: not just slogans and rallies, but armed confrontation with the oppressors,” said the ANSWER Indiana through the Indy Liberation Center website, also calling the attack on Israel a “historic win for Palestinian resistance.”

The national Party for Socialism and Liberation released a statement praising the massacre here.

“The actions of the resistance over the course of the last day is a morally and legally legitimate response to occupation,” the statement said.

The Collegiate Commons reached out for comment, and the Students for Justice in Palestine referenced a statement on their social media. This statement mentioned the Palestinians killed by air strikes in the Israeli counterattack on Gaza, likely over ten-thousand, many of whom were civilians, but appeared to primarily blame Israel and the U.S. for the violence. The statement also referred to Hamas as “Palestinian fighters,” later saying that Palestinians had the “right to resist colonization.”

Pro-Palestine protestors in front of the White House in Washington D.C.

“We recognize that this Palestinian response is a direct result of over 75 years of Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine,” the statement said. “Unconditional US support of Israel’s apartheid regime has directly paved the way for this violence and the only way to end it is to address the root cause of it: Israel’s violent occupation.”

At the community gathering at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, The Collegiate Commons spoke to an individual of Jewish descent about her perspective on the protests in support of Hamas. She preferred to remain anonymous for security concerns.

“Never did I think that hundreds of Jews as well as people of other backgrounds would be killed while people in the United States of all places celebrated the terrorists as if they were heroes,” she said. “I pray everyday for peace between the two states.”

Jewish Voice for Peace was the only organization present at the rally willing to condemn Hamas and to state there was no justification for the violence committed by the group.

“The massacres committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians are horrific war crimes,” their national organization said. “There is no justification in international law for the indiscriminate killing of civilians or the holding of civilian hostages.”

A similar sentiment was echoed by two officers of the Indiana chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace at the protest. Their statement on social media, however, had an added point.

“The bloodshed of today and the past 75 years traces back directly to U.S. complicity in the oppression and horror caused by Israel’s military occupation,” their statement said.

Saadeh chants “resistance is justified when people are occupied”

There have been numerous other demonstrations with organizers that explicitly supported Hamas in urban centers across the country, including one in Times Square that was condemned by New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer and another in front of the White House on Sunday.

The Students for Justice in Palestine at Butler University, Party for Socialism and Liberation – Indianapolis, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Indy Liberation Center held a second protest on Sunday, Oct. 15.

“Resistance is justified when people are occupied,” chanted Yaquob Saadeh, president of the Middle Eastern Student Association at IUPUI at the protest, leading the rest of the group.

The Collegiate Commons asked Saadeh if the chant referred to the actions of Hamas, but Saadeh claimed it referred to Palestinians in general. When asked about the end goal of the movement, Saadeh said it was to “hold Israel accountable” and “if you want to learn more, you can listen to the speakers.”

The speakers did not provide any clarification.

The Middle Eastern Student Association at IUPUI and UNICEF at IUPUI held a third protest on Friday, Oct. 20. More interspersed protests were planned afterwards.

Read the editorial response to criticism of this article here.

This is an ongoing story. Stay tuned for more updates. The context of this story is the current violence, and not historical background for the conflict or policy positions, as that is above the pay grade of our writers. The contributors and editors of The Collegiate Commons have a variety of opinions on how to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and as such The Collegiate Commons does not take a stance as an organization.

UPDATES: The death toll of the conflict was updated as of Nov. 8. Further clarification on a statement made by Jewish Voice for Peace was also added.

3 thoughts on “While Indianapolis mourns with Israel, some students celebrate violence

  1. After reading this article, it doesn’t seem fair to claim there is no editorial position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This appears to be a clear case of selective reporting, with loaded language used, and there is a notable absence of information about the current violence faced by Palestinians at the hands of Israeli forces. While it’s acceptable for this text to lean towards a specific perspective, it’s unethical to pretend to be non-partisan and non-sectarian. Upon reviewing other articles from this outlet, this appears to be a recurring issue.

    1. I appreciate the respectful criticism, that’s certainly a rare thing these days. That being said, simply quoting the organizers of a protest and recognizing that what they said is pro-Hamas (some justified Hamas, some endorsed their actions explicitly) is not taking a partisan position or using “loaded language.”

      We have taken an editorial stance on the conflict, which you can find here https://thecollegiatecommons.com/editorial-we-want-peace-in-the-middle-east-and-on-campus/. When we say we are non-partisan, that doesn’t mean we don’t take positions on things. It just means we don’t support any particular political party or candidate. We also do not editorialize our news either. On our about page we emphasize our editorial perspective is rooted in Christian social teaching.

      You’ll notice this article does mention the death toll on both sides, and that count was even updated on Nov. 8. “This statement mentioned the Palestinians killed by air strikes in the Israeli counterattack on Gaza, likely over ten-thousand, many of whom were civilians.”

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