Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Hate related crimes spike after Israel-Hamas War

As the world is drawn into the generations-long battle between Israel and Palestine, waves of unrest have spread. Even US citizens are taking out their frustrations on each other.

Three Palestinian college students in Vermont were shot on Nov. 25 while going for a walk before dinner. Pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protestors in California got into a physical altercation, resulting in the death of a Jewish man on Nov. 5. 

Local citizens are finding ways to show their support for the lives lost. The death count has surpassed 15,000 according to CNN, and this number continues to climb. The Fort Worth Jewish Federation hosted a vigil on Oct. 9 in response to the conflict. Similarly, people of Denton came together at the County Courthouse for a candlelight vigil in support of Palestine on Nov. 24. 

This current war began on Oct. 7 after Hamas, one of the ruling parties in Palestine, launched an attack at an Israeli music festival and border communities, taking hundreds of hostages. 

A multitude of opinions have erupted over this conflict. However, understanding the complicated context for this war is critical.

The Marquee interviewed local residents affected by this conflict.  


As people witness the loss of life in this war, some have begun to pick sides. The deaths of so many civilians, including children and entire families, has shocked those that live in our community, even so far away from the conflict.  

 Local Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis said his synagogue, Congregation Kol Ami, is grieving over the Jews killed in Israel on Oct. 7. The global Jewish population is made up of about 15 million, and almost half living in Israel. Rabbi Dennis said almost every Jew has some kind of familial connection to Israelis. 

“We feel this very personally,” Dennis said.

It’s perfectly all right to be heartbroken for two people, even if they’re adversaries.

— Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis

The unrest is mainly due to the Palestinian people’s ancestral land being occupied. Palestine has two areas of majority Arab population called the West Bank and Gaza. The West Bank is controlled by the Palestinian government — the Palestinian National Authority. Gaza, however, has been controlled by Hamas since 2007.

“Hamas is a horrible organization, I call it a terrorist organization,” Dennis said. “It’s a government who sets its goal of destruction of Israel and killing all Jews.”

Hamas is labeled a terrorist organization by the UN as well, and it is backed by Iran. The assault on Oct. 7 targeted Israel on a Jewish holiday. Over 300 people celebrating a music festival were killed. Another 900 people were killed in the surrounding kibbutzim, Jewish communities in Israel. This became the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust. 

Hamas also took about 240 hostages and held them in underground tunnels to remain undetected. 

“A massive, massive atrocity was committed,” Dennis said. “It was a reign of terror, so the Israeli government reacted by saying ‘We’re going to war.’”

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas, dismissing recommendations from the U.N. chief to call for a cease-fire. Israel launched a ground invasion and split Gaza in half using their military troops on Oct. 27. Israel then continued their raid by attacking Gaza’s largest hospital, claiming it was because they had evidence Hamas was operating from underground tunnels there. 

As Israel and Hamas met in Qatar, they formed a cease-fire deal starting Nov. 24. Over 100 Israeli hostages, and Israel also released about 240 of the Palestinian people they had imprisoned for allegedly being involved with militant groups.

Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis and his wife Robin stand at the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. (Photo submitted by Geoffrey Dennis)

Israel is America’s closest ally in the Middle East. President Biden said he feels heartbroken by the loss of life on both sides, but “as long as the United States stands — and we will stand forever — we will not let [Israel] ever be alone.” He said it was not an exaggeration to say that Hamas “slaughtered” Israelis. The US Department of Defense confirmed that they were sending systems to Israel to help with air defense and protect citizens from rocket attacks. 

However, US officials have also stated that Biden does not support a reoccupation by Israeli forces in Gaza. Anthony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, said that Israel “is capable of neutralizing the threat posed by Hamas while minimizing harm to innocent men, women and children. And it has an obligation to do so.” 

While the US does side with Israel over Hamas, Blinken asks that Israel complies with international law and stops harming civilians in its fights.

“We know that we have the government on our side, but that doesn’t make it any less sad because we want to have good relationships with everybody,” Dennis said.

This issue has become so contentious that thousands of students at college campuses are risking suspension and harm to defend their beliefs. Pro-Palestinian protestors at Harvard University laid on the ground during a “die-in” rally to represent civilians killed in Gaza, according to NBC. Three students at Tulane University were assaulted at a staged rally with people defending each side. A student at Cornell University is under investigation for making violent antisemitic statements online. Strong opinions on both sides have led to an escalation in hate crimes. 

“I approve of all nonviolent protests,” Dennis said. “In America, you’re entitled to express your opinion. What disappoints me is when people are making outrageous claims that have no basis in fact, and they present it as if it’s fact.”

Rabbi Dennis said that Jewish populations in America have begun to feel unsafe again as they see more negativity towards their people. 

“For a long time, American Jews really felt like we had escaped the long, long history of hatred of Jews in America,” Dennis said. “We thought that was done, but it’s not, and people easily fall into habits of hate.”

I think that the crimes against Jewish people, the crimes against Muslim people, each one is an offense and betrayal of America.

— Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis

The number of hate crimes towards Jews rose by 37% in 2022, and it has increased further this year, according to the FBI. Similarly, a spike in Islamaphobic hate crimes is evident for Muslim Americans. The Council on American-Islamic Relations reported a 300% increase in help requests and bias incidents from Oct. 8 to Nov. 8.

“I think that the crimes against Jewish people, the crimes against Muslim people, each one is an offense and a betrayal of America,” Dennis said. “Whatever is going on on another continent should not turn one American against another.” 

Rabbi Dennis said he stands with the Israeli people, the people he used to live with, not the Israeli government. 

“I’m not a fan of the Israeli government, but I understand why they’re making the decisions they’re making,” Dennis said. “I happen to support the state of Israel, but as you can see from the news, there are hundreds of thousands of people who disagree with me.”

He feels for his people but also for the Palestinians and the people they have lost too. 

“It’s perfectly all right  to be heartbroken for two people, even if they’re adversaries,” Dennis said. “I think this whole thing was unnecessary, and I blame Hamas for triggering this. But my heart goes out to both populations.”

Rabbi Dennis said there are no clean hands in this war. What he wants is for Hamas to surrender and return all the Israeli hostages.

“When the fighting is finally over, we can create some kind of new government or regime for Gaza that will prevent this crime from happening in the future,” Dennis said. “I would like to see a productive, functional government in Gaza that doesn’t use Gaza as a military base.”

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Raksha Jayakumar
Raksha Jayakumar, Managing Editor
Raksha (she/her) is excited for her second year on staff as Managing Editor! She is a huge swiftie, meaning she has good taste (reputation is top-tier). She loves everybody on staff and is super duper excited to work with them all. <3 
Jennifer Banh
Jennifer Banh, Editor-in-Chief
Jennifer (she/her) is the editor-in-chief of the Marquee and is excited for this year’s as this staff is pretty cool. Her hobbies include long afterschool naps, binge watching Youtube commentary channels, and scrolling through Twitter (she is never gonna call it X). She is ready to help other designers improve their designer eye!

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