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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Stony Brook Hillel holds pro-Israel march

Stony Brook students marching around campus in support of Israel on Thursday, Nov. 12. The march was organized by Stony Brook Hillel and brought together the affected community. SKY CRABTREE/THE STATESMAN

On Thursday, Nov. 12, students and community members draped in Israeli flags and holding posters calling for the freedom of hostages taken by Hamas marched around the Stony Brook campus in support of Israel.

The march, organized by Stony Brook Hillel, was the fourth demonstration related to the Israel-Hamas war that has taken place on Stony Brook’s campus and the first one in support of Israel.

Guided by police officers and Stony Brook officials, demonstrators started behind the Union building before making their way towards East Side Dining. After marching past the library, the administration building, and the Charles B. Wang Center, attendees stopped in front of the Staller Center. There, organizers had set up chairs with posters taped to them honoring Israelis who were taken hostage by Hamas and held captive in the Gaza Strip since the war began on Oct. 7.

Executive Director of Stony Brook Hillel Jessica Lemons said that the purpose of the march was to bring attention to the suffering of people in Israel and to give support to Jewish students on campus.

“We were aiming to give solidarity to our students here. Many of them have family in Israel. An easy way to say it is that most Jews are not more than three degrees separated from people in Israel,” Lemons said. So we are aiming to show solidarity for those with families in Israel.”

Lemons also voiced concern about rising antisemitism across the country.

“Many of us have been feeling an insane wave of antisemitism in the states, many of which have been felt on [college campuses],” she said.

After arriving at the Staller Center, attendees listened to a speech given by Lemons. Other speakers included Rabbi Jeremy Perlow of the Stony Brook Hebrew Congregation, and David Lidner, the president of the student organization Seawolves for Israel.

After the speeches, Lemons held a prayer for the safe return of the hostages taken captive by Hamas, and the march ended shortly afterward.

Hamas and Israel have been at war since Oct. 7 when Hamas launched a full-scale attack on the country, killing 1400 and taking another 200 captive as hostages. Since then, Israel has killed an estimated 11,400 people in the Gaza Strip as they retaliate against the attack in an effort to eradicate Hamas.

Noah Gluck, a sophomore majoring in mathematics who participated in the demonstration, said that she and other students were simply trying to do what they could from Stony Brook.

“A lot of this hits home, it’s personal. And this is what we can do from here,” Gluck said. “You know, I have family and all I can say is I hope you’re okay. And so this is something that I can do to show that I care and we’re thinking about them.”

Roy Harel, a senior majoring in history and a student leader for Hillel, said that he decided to join the protest in order to support his Israeli family and friends.

“I came out today because I’m Israeli. My community is here,” Harel said. “We have Israelis and we have jews. And my brothers, my sisters, are out here in New York and in Israel fighting for their lives. With words, with guns, with everything that they have, in order to protect the country that we love and in order to bring everyone that we have represented in posters back home.”

The march also received attendance from those unaffiliated with Stony Brook University. Deborah Peretz, a resident of the hamlet of Stony Brook and a regional director for IsraelLINK also attended the march. IsraelLINK is a training program that works to elevate Jewish education in Jewish day and middle schools.

Just as students gathered to express their solidarity with Israel, others have been vocal about their pro-Palestine stance on the conflict.

“What is currently happening in Palestine is beyond distressing and saddening,” the Middle Eastern Student Association (MESA) said in an email statement to The Statesman. “Marked by the ongoing conflicts and complex geopolitical dynamics, Palestine has continuously suffered the loss of innocent lives.”

Peretz described the demonstration as successful, saying that she was pleased with the way the march went.

“I think it was beautiful,” Peretz said. “It was really peaceful. There was no violence. I want to thank all the police that are on campus protecting us and making sure that everything went well and the organizers, Hillel. I saw people from the community I haven’t seen in a very long time. It was really great to see just people from every type of denomination here.”

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About the Contributor
Sky Crabtree, Assistant News Editor
Sky Crabtree is an Assistant News Editor for The Statesman and a sophomore studying journalism and political science. He joined the paper in the spring of 2023 as a news reporter and was promoted at the end of the same semester. Outside of The Statesman, you can catch him reporting on WUSB's weekly news show and as a member of the Stony Brook Media Group.
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