Residents protest, speak out over both sides of war in Israel
LONGMEADOW/NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - As the war in Gaza continues on, local residents on both sides of the war are speaking out. While the war started more than a month ago, groups in both Longmeadow and Northampton took to the streets on Friday to protest what’s happening overseas and both sides now calling for change.
“We want a cease fire and we want a ceasefire now,” said Deborah Rosenstein with Jewish Vocies for Peace.
Hundreds of demonstrators in Northampton called for an end to the war in Israel.
“It’s a way to protect the hostages, it’s the way to protect human life. We want to save lives,” Rosenstein added.
Western Mass News spoke with some of Friday’s demonstrators who were upset at the number of innocent civilians victimized over the past month.
“Knowing what happened to my people during the Holocaust, I don’t want it to happen to anyone else and, right now, civilians are being massacred at a higher rate than any other war,” said Mare Burger.
Those in Northampton on Friday now calling for a cease fire.
“I can’t stay at home and have this go on. I’m helping to pay with my tax dollars what I consider a genocide and I can’t do enough and I can’t understand how calling for a ceasefire is a bad thing to do? How is asking for peace somehow weaponized?” said Sherrill Hogen.
However, many of the other side of the conflict said it’s not that simple.
“I don’t think there can be a cease fire until Hamas releases those hostages,” said Eric Berg of East Longmeadow. “A ceasefire only benefits Hamas. It’s lets the regroup, lets them rearm.”
Berg joined dozens of others for the second week in a row on a busy Longmeadow intersection where they waved flags and carried signs supporting Israel. The group said they’re angry at the number of innocent civilians who’ve been hurt, killed, and captured in Gaza.
“Hamas is a terrorist organization and what they did is unspeakable,” Berg noted. “Hamas uses their people as human shields, they don’t care about the Palestinians and we want people to know what is happening there.”
Part of their message also included speaking against the rise in antisemitism that has arisen since the conflict.
“We are against hate, we are against antisemitism, which is a form of hate,” said Bobby Naimark with the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. “We are against the barbarism that is taking place in Israel and against its people.”
Those at the pro-Israel rally in Longmeadow said they’ll continue to show up and rally until Hamas releases the last of the hostages.
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