Local Jewish and Palestinian communities condemn increasing hate toward them after war erupted

Local members of the Jewish and Palestinian communities are speaking out about hateful messages they’ve received since Hamas launched an attack on Israel.

Sara Mahmoud, a member of the Jacksonville Palestine Solidarity Network, described some of the recent backlash and hate that members of her community have experienced lately.

“Even just yesterday when we were leaving city council somebody was being discriminatory towards one of the women we had with us because she was wearing a hijab,” Mahmoud said. “This unfortunately is the real-life experience of Palestinians and Arabs everywhere.”

This hate is increasing following Hamas’ attack on Israel.

The executive director of the American Arab Discrimination Committee spoke out about this increasing hate in a message on social media.

The level of anti-Arab hate and rhetoric hasn’t been this high since the aftermath of 9/11. It is far worse than the Trump years.

We’ve received many calls for assistance in dealing with threats and intimidation. Schools across the country are vilifying Palestinians, and…

— Abed A. Ayoub (@aayoub) October 10, 2023

“I’m very happy this conversation is being started because the way that islamophobia and xenophobia fuels a lot of narratives surrounding Palestine is something that can’t be dismissed,” Mahmoud said.

This hate isn’t only happening to the Palestinian Community. The Jewish Community is experiencing it as well.

Mariam Feist, the CEO of the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Northeast Florida, said antisemitism is nothing new. However, they are trying to take a different approach.

“Don’t try to counter, don’t try to engage in whether it’s online or in-person any type of confrontation. That’s what they’re looking for. We don’t have the energy or time,” Feist said.

Jacksonville’s Mayor Donna Deegan shared a message about anyone who wants to spew hate towards either group in our community.

“I think it’s important to recognize that we have large communities of both Jewish and Palestinians in this community and we are with them both,” Deegan said.

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