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Letters: Responses to op-ed from anti-occupation Jewish students

Editors’ note: In the days following the Nov. 7 publication of “An open letter from Jewish students,” written by a collective of anti-occupation Jews, The Herald received many letters responding to the piece. Here is a small representative collection of them:  

Dear Jews for Ceasefire,


As a Jewish alumnus of Brown, I was incredibly proud to read your Nov. 7 open letter in The Herald. I genuinely think it’s the single piece of writing or commentary that has most resonated with me since October 7th. I’m so glad it was written and published. Keep doing what you all are doing.

All the best,
Alex Ostroff ’14

To the Editor:

I applaud the bravery and brilliance of the collective of anti-occupation Jews that wrote the open letter. I too am an anti-occupation Jew who went to Brown. Keep it up. 

Emily Martin ’11 


To the Editor:

I am not a student at Brown. I am a parent of two children: one who went to Wesleyan College and another who attended Oberlin College. Although I've known Brown for decades, I have never been more impressed. As a 73-year-old Jew, I am heartbroken by both the brutal attack on Israel and the killing of thousands of innocents in the search to eradicate Hamas. Perhaps most of all, I am angry and terrified by the McCarthyite tactics supported by mainstream Jewish organizations — silencing any calls for ceasefire and protection of the lives and human rights of Palestinians. The money going into defeating those in Congress who supported a call for a ceasefire, the doxxing of students, the fear of speaking one's mind if one opposes the state of Israel's actions — this is all very frightening to me. I applaud the nuanced ways in which the students talked about the issues and their particular relationship to what is going on. I am awed by their courage and wisdom. And I am relieved to see the “rachamim” that is infused in every sentence.  

Thank you,
Nancy Feinstein

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Dear Jews for Ceasefire,

I am also in favor of a ceasefire and an end to the bloodshed. 

Hamas can bring a ceasefire instantly by surrendering and releasing the Israeli hostages who have been kidnapped. 

The Israeli military assault would end. And through Egyptian and Qatari intermediaries, the Hamas leadership would depart Gaza —with their hateful ideology — for Iran and free the Palestinian residents to an international force that would begin to rebuild. 

The rebuilding needs to begin with the health, education and welfare systems in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians should leverage their social autonomy (which they have had since Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005) and the billions of dollars that have been and will be directed towards Gaza to build a better future for themselves. Victimhood is a popular religion. It provides an easy excuse for inaction or, worse, revenge and misdirected energy. This is the time for Palestinians to build a just and pluralistic society that accepts Sunnis and Shiites, Catholics and Protestants, LGBTQ+ and straight individuals, and those who accept the existence of the State of Israel and the right of the Jewish people for self-determination in their historical homeland. Focus on the positive. Leave grievances behind.

I look forward to Students for Justice in Palestine and the Palestine Solidarity Caucus voicing the same level of empathy and understanding to the Jewish population in the Middle East as they have towards the Palestinian population. It would show a moral backbone and diversity of thought that would be refreshing.

Ron Sacher

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