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Perspective: The Conflict


On October 7, the Palestinian group Hamas led a surprise attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip. It has been called the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust, with nearly 2,000 Jews being killed in the attack, and another 240 taken hostage. The attack was quickly followed by an aggressive military response from the Israel Defense Forces. According to multiple sources, more than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed, many of them women and children, surpassing the total number of Palestinian deaths in the last 15 years of conflicts with Israel. Many international organizations have declared this a humanitarian crisis.

I usually have an opinion on current events, but on this I am vexed. I have a number of close friends who are Jewish, and a number of close friends who are Palestinian. I have tried to do my due diligence and learn more about the history of this conflict, but I just don’t know.

But what has troubled me most is how we issue blanket statements about what we think people want simply by a label applied to them. All Israelis want to exterminate Palestinians. All Palestinians want to exterminate Israelis. But that is not what my Jewish friends tell me, and it is not what my Palestinian friends tell me. Maybe narrow-minded, opportunistic government officials do, but the people? All of them?

I pray that both sides recognize that as we continue down the path of unfettered violence the light of humanity is extinguished. I pray that my Palestinian and Jewish friends know how much I love them. And I pray for an end to both the bloodshed and gross stereotyping so that we may always see the humanity of others.

I am Joseph Flynn and that is my perspective.

Joseph Flynn is the executive director for equity and inclusion in the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and an associate professor of curriculum and instruction.