Nov 16, 2023 - News

Examining the Israel-Hamas war's local impact

A group of protesters holds "Cleveland stands with Israel" signs and Israel flags

A group from Cleveland attends the March for Israel in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Tensions are running high as groups across Central Ohio react to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and push for local officials to take a side.

Why it matters: Our region's diverse population has connections across the globe, with many speaking out against Hamas' attack on Israel as well as the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The latest: Ohioans were among the tens of thousands who marched in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday in support of Israel's military campaign.

  • Several thousand Ohio students, clergy and community leaders participated, Ohio Jewish Communities president and CEO Howie Beigelman tells us, including over 500 people from Columbus.
  • While there, some met with U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown and J.D. Vance along with numerous House representatives to lobby for continued backing of Israel and to highlight antisemitism on college campuses.

Meanwhile, pro-Palestine protests are occurring weekly downtown.

Catch up quick: Columbus City Council faced pressure during its Monday meeting to collectively support a ceasefire in Gaza.

  • Council members Lourdes Barroso de Padilla and Shayla D. Favor jointly called for an "immediate ceasefire" last weekend.
  • Protesters supporting Palestine asked Council president Shannon Hardin to do the same.

What he's saying: Hardin declined to make an immediate comment on behalf of Council but said during the meeting he and other members would review the issue.

The big picture: The complexity of Americans' views about the Israel-Hamas war has been playing out at other city halls across the country, Axios' Emma Hurt reports.

  • Universities are also struggling with how to respond for fear of angering students, faculty, donors and alumni.

Zoom in: For the past few weeks, Ohio State students have been pushing the university to issue stronger statements regarding the war, per the Lantern.

Separately, the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations wrote to Ohio elected leaders yesterday about "alarming rise of anti-Muslim and Arab discrimination" since early October.

Go deeper: Axios Explains the Israel-Hamas war

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