JCRC Blog: Shedding Light on the Israel-Hamas War and Antisemitism

By Linda Geller-Schwartz
Chair, Jewish Community Relations Council
Published June 26, 2024

JCRC Blog: Shedding Light on the Israel-Hamas War and Antisemitism

The Jewish Community Relations Council has been charged with the mission of promoting the importance of combating antisemitism and supporting a secure Jewish democratic state of Israel. As antisemitism and hostility toward Israel continue to be driven by mis- and disinformation, education, information and advocacy are crucial to our mission.

Recently, Josephine Gon, Federation’s Executive Director of Community Affairs, had an engaging and thoughtful conversation on The Quill podcast with Dr. Robert Lloyd, Executive Director of the LeMieux Center for Public Policy.

Their discussion shed some much-needed light on a broad range of issues, including:

  • The impact on Israel of the Oct. 7 attack and the ongoing conflict
  • What it feels like to be a Jew in 2024 America
  • The demonization and double standards that the world is imposing on Israel
  • The surge in antisemitism, its definition and how one can recognize it
  • Why anti-Zionism is antisemitism

But why are important conversations like these so vital to our mission and our Jewish community?

JCRC’s mission is even more crucial and certainly more difficult during the ongoing conflict in Israel.

During the savage Hamas terrorist attack of October 7, approximately 1,200 people were brutally killed in Israel, and about 250 people were taken as hostages. Yet, it is Israel, not Hamas, that is sitting in the world’s hot seat.  Within days of Oct. 7, we saw protestors minimizing the nature of the attack by Hamas or even denying that it ever happened at all.

Since then, the world has turned on Israel. Some countries (e.g., Canada, Netherlands, Japan, Spain and Belgium) have refused to sell weapons to Israel. Others supported South Africa’s hauling of Israel before the International Court of Justice, claiming that Israel is committing genocidal acts. The Maldives has even banned Israelis from visiting the country altogether earlier this month.

Israel finds itself under obsessive scrutiny by the United Nations and other international organizations that look for ways to blame Israel, not Hamas, for the war. They promote the false, misleading and harmful narrative that Israel is malevolent and engaged in war crimes.

This harmful narrative correlates to the alarming rise of Antisemitism at home.

At the same time, antisemitism is undeniably surging in America. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), there were a total of 8,873 antisemitic incidents in 2023, including assaults, harassment and vandalism. This was the highest level of incidents in the United States recorded by the ADL since they started tracking data in 1979.

The media have not been neutral parties in this surge of antisemitism. Many have unquestioningly broadcast Hamas’ narrative of the war, including inaccurate casualty figures. The lazy (or hostile) attitude of the press becomes clear in the data assembled by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA). For example, in May 2024 alone, news organizations had to make 75 corrections to their reporting on Israel!

How can we continue to combat harmful disinformation surrounding Israel and the Jewish people?

There are not enough of us to fight this alone…we need other people to stand with us and say that this is not the America we want to live in.

Jo concluded the podcast with a vitally important message that all must take to heart. As history has repeatedly shown, it is not good for any society to pillory the Jews, since the hate never stops with the Jews. As she says, “We need Americans to realize that the liberal democracy of America is at stake when this sort of hate is allowed to run rampant.”  “But,” as she added, “there are not enough of us to fight this alone…we need other people to stand with us and say that this is not the America we want to live in.” After you listen to the podcast, I am sure you will agree.

As we continue to create an informed public, we extend our gratitude to The Quill podcast, Dr. Robert Lloyd and the Palm Beach Atlantic University’s LeMieux Center for Public Policy for hosting this timely conversation. We are also incredibly thankful to Jo Gon for discussing several issues in an accessible and easily understandable manner.

The episode is available to listen to on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.


Linda Geller-Schwartz is the Chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County. Prior to her retirement, Dr. Geller-Schwartz taught in the Women’s Studies and Sociology Departments at Florida Atlantic University. She earned her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Toronto and her M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science.