Janna Tusa
The Inconsolable New Yorker

The Inconsolable New Yorker: Combating Anti-Israel Sentiment

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators burn an Israeli flag during a march calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, November 10, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez).
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators burn an Israeli flag during a march calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, November 10, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez).

It’s rare for anything in life to render me speechless. However, the events of October 7th, the surge in anti-Semitism and anti-Israel protests, and the callous disregard for the atrocities committed against women and children in Israel have left me stunned and heartbroken. It’s as though the world has been turned upside down, challenging all my beliefs and values. The anti-Israel protests that inundated the streets of Manhattan during the early days of the war were particularly disheartening. I couldn’t help but wonder who these protesters were, whether they were adequately informed about October 7th, and if they had seen the same footage as I had.

Palestinian solidarity demonstrations came as the United States quickly affirmed its support for Israel, with US President Joe Biden ordering US ships and warplanes closer to its ally and sending fresh military aid © Bryan R. Smith / AFP

The New York City protests for a ceasefire rapidly escalated to burning the Israeli flag, calling for genocide against Jews, violent crimes against innocent students, college campus protests, hate speech confused for freedom of speech, censorship of hostage support, boycotting of Israeli goods and services including proper grain names on a café menu, all in the name of what? The hatred and ignorance is spreading like the plagues of the 17th century into elementary schools, poisoning the minds of innocent youth. The ideology of the anti-Israel propaganda is to dictate how Israel should defend itself. I can’t imagine any other country in the world being rallied against when it vows to protect its people and eradicate one of the most savage militant movements that has murdered over 1,200 Israelis, committed sexual war crimes against women and children, and took over 200 people hostages, one as young as 10 months old.

Is it safe to say, I often feel dazed and confused? By no means am I discrediting the fact that the casualties of war are unfortunate. However, I can’t sit back quietly while day after day we are allowing the public dehumanization of Israel and Israelis. Where are the protests demanding justice for the women who were raped and murdered? Where are my fellow child advocates and their voices? The betrayal from practically every global women’s right’s organization should have incited a universal movement in which women came together as women to seek justice. As a mother to two daughters, I ask myself, what if it were my daughters? I often question if it’s the deafening silence or the blaring ignorance that leaves me inconsolable each night. What once was the greatest city in the world, my home, where I am born and raised, has become my greatest disappointment. As soon as I was old enough to understand politics and what it meant to be an American, I was always proud. I come from a long line of veterans who served to keep this country free. While I am proud that we are continuing to support Israel as a nation, for the first time in forty-three years, I feel ashamed each time I turn on the news or scroll through social media. Our moral compass needs a reset.

In my immediate circle, I am recognized as the vocal, dauntless, and impassioned individual when it comes to Israel and October 7th. However, I am the only one within my network who has encountered difficulties in the last 82 days due to my unwavering dedication. Although my friends and family appreciate and respect my advocacy work, they do not share the same commitment to stand against the dehumanization of Israel, protests, and atrocities, to aid in freeing hostages, to support children, and to offer my expertise physically to make a difference. I am incredibly fortunate to be a life-long delegate of the America-Israel Friendship League, which has connected me with like-minded individuals who share my deep-rooted connections to Israel. Their support and encouragement set me on this path in 1996, which transformed my life forever. As we enter the new year, I am confident that we will continue to strengthen the relationship between the US and Israel through grassroots support, which gives me hope for a brighter future.

AIFL’s “An Evening of Friendship & Solidarity”. The occasion aimed to recognize the invaluable contributions of individuals and organizations tirelessly championing the enduring friendship between the United States and Israel, featuring renowned guests (from left to right) Yohanan Plesner, Ambassador Dan Gillerman, and Thomas Friedman, The New York Times Foreign Affairs Columnist. Photo Credit: Shahar Azran

As the war continues, anti-Israel backlash continues. Protests in the name of ceasefire continue to escalate as far as blocking roads, disrupting major events, and making life incredibly difficult for the Jewish community. The comparison of Netanyahu to Hitler and the causalities to genocide render me completely astounded. My anxiety escalates because I understand there is no timeline nor magic wand to defeat Hamas. I know the impact the war is having on the Israeli economy. I know the risks to its agriculture. I understand the mental and physical toll October 7th has taken on Israeli society. The release of the remaining hostages still weighs heavily on every Israeli’s heart. The 360,000 reservists who left their families, businesses, jobs – will they come home? The current business owners who are working 14–16-hour workdays, how long can they sustain? As resilient as Israelis are, there comes a time when they too will need a break from the constant pressures. They aren’t deaf to those who have turned their backs on them. The difference is, they don’t divide and conform to the status quo. They believe in their right to protect their freedom from terror and have faith in the IDF, an army that operates with integrity and morality. Israelis are special people. I know because I have firsthand experience.

There is no question that Israel has support from its American ally. The dismal anti-Israel protests, calls for the destruction of Israel, and lack of empathy towards the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7th are coming from the younger generations especially those of the elite college campuses which have been indoctrinated by ignorance, division through tunnel vision, and lack of worldly experience. When I see student group call the October 7th attacks a “historic win”, I wonder how many of them have been to Israel. I wonder if they would feel differently if they were face to face with Hamas militants. It is challenging living prepared to go into battle daily in this big, bold, city but it doesn’t stop me from standing my ground in what I believe in. I encourage others who are hiding in the shadows and in fear to come forward and stand tall against the ignorance. It is not enough to support in silence. Without enough voices and actions to convey unwavering support for Israel, we allow our Israeli brothers and sisters to fall prey to the dehumanization Hamas seeks. My heart breaks with every word, action, and forethought in regard to the destruction of Israel and its people. This inconsolable New Yorker will never turn her back on you, beautiful Israel. I will work to mend both our hearts until we are both free.


Edited by: S. Brooke Berkowitz

About the Author
I am a native New Yorker that experienced the deep connection to Israel at the young age of 16. I always believe that Israel chose me when I was selected to represent America and immerse myself into the amazing culture. I am now forty-three and my unparalleled love remains the same if not stronger as we stand tall against the dehumanization of all Israeli's. I studied the Holocaust while battling theologians on the theory if God was responsible in my early 20's, attained my degrees in social work to help children of trauma, moved on to become a financial executive, a mother to three awesome children, a semi-professional opera singer, currently a sales and operations executive for a national private education company, and still here working for my purpose.
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