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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Letter to the Editor: A response to former UP Editor-in-Chief Gideon Grudo’s letter to the editor

Because of my connection and knowledge of the history of the conflict as president of Students Supporting Israel at FAU and the disappointment I felt when reading former UP Editor-in-Chief Gideon Grudo’s letter to the editor, I felt it was important to answer some of the questions he raised.

Editor’s Note: This letter has been edited for length, clarity and accuracy as of 12/13/23.

I am Ariana Hoblin, the Founder and President of Students Supporting Israel and a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow. At 11 years old, I had to learn about the extreme hatred for my people. I was physically, verbally and cyber-attacked for the simple fact that I was a proud Jew. I was afraid to go to school or to wear my Jewish star, so in high school, I got involved in any way I could. I am here now after being an intern, leader, public speaker, advocate and, most importantly, a proud Jew. 

Because of my connection and knowledge of the history of the conflict and the disappointment I felt when reading former UP Editor-in-Chief Gideon Grudo’s letter to the editor, I felt it was important to answer some of the questions he raised.

Oct. 7, 2023 is the deadliest day in Jewish history since the Holocaust. Hamas terrorists invaded southern Israel, killing, raping, beheading and burning 1,200 innocent babies, children, women, men, the elderly and animals. While also taking about 240 innocent hostages, which grew when a woman gave birth while in terrorist captivity. Since Friday, Hamas has released 69 hostages, 50 of them being Israeli. The rest are Thai nationals, one Filipino man and one Russian man. For the 50 Israelis, Israel released 150 Palestinian prisoners. That’s 3 prisoners for every single hostage. The prisoners have all been accused of violent crimes, including attempted murder and bombings. The release of hostages has been extended to Wednesday, being 20 for two days.

Oct. 7, 2023 did not only affect the people of Israel but also every single Jew in the diaspora. Diaspora is the dispersion of people from their homeland, which is what the Jews have been in for almost all of history. Jewish students across the United States have been living in fear for their safety since this horrific day. 

To answer the question, “Did he feel unsafe on campus since Oct. 7? Why? Where?”. I am not Rotem; I am Ariana. I will tell you, as an American Jew, I have not felt safe once since Oct. 7. At FAU, pro-Palestine, or who I see as pro-Hamas, protestors, marched through our campus with Taliban flags. The sentiment of the protest was in support of the Hamas massacre. They screamed the genocidal phrase, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” This phrase calls for the genocide of the Jewish people from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea — the land that is known as Israel, as Israel sits in between the river and the sea. This genocidal phrase was screamed on our campus. Imagine being at school, which is supposed to be a safe place, and hearing other students chant for the death of your people. What happened at FAU is one incident out of many that would cause any Jewish or Israeli student to feel unsafe. 

Paul Kessler was a 69-year-old man. He was KILLED by a pro-Hamas protestor for the simple fact he was Jewish and supported Israel. Jewish students at The Cooper Union, a private school in New York, barricaded themselves inside their library as pro-Hamas protestors tried to break in and reach the Jewish students. What if they did? Would there be another death announcement like Mr. Kessler? The students were obviously afraid for their safety if they barricaded themselves in the library. (Editor’s note: CBS reported a quote from the New York Police Department claiming students were not barricaded.)

“Who assailed whom? When? Was it hostile, and how so? Was the decrying public? Where? When? By whom?” This is also answered above. Three people were arrested. One of the pro-Hamas protestors physically attacked a Jewish girl. Another pro-Hamas student tried to punch a pro-Israel student before a police officer intervened. Again, they screamed genocidal phrases while holding the Taliban flag. In September of 2022, the Taliban committed “a suicide attack on ethnic Hazara students [that] targeted female students in Kabul who were sitting for a practice university entrance exam.” This terrorist organization was supported on our campus proudly by the pro-Hamas protestors. 

“Why does she feel that it’s justified? And why does she feel Israel is protecting itself from possible genocide?  What does justified even mean in this context? What does genocide mean?”

“’The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: ‘O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’ (Article 7)” Who said this? Hitler? Nope. Hamas. This is Article 7 of the Hamas Charter. In their charter, they do not hide their genocidal intentions. They want to commit a genocide of the Jews in Israel and then all the Jews in the diaspora. This is a possible genocide, and we are seeing it start to happen. Oct.7 was the deadliest day in Jewish history since the Holocaust. Hamas set out on a plan to kill as many as they possibly could. Hamas leaders have since said that they will repeat Oct. 7 over and over again. They didn’t stop there either. Days after, they called for a global jihad— a war against non- Muslims to help bring Islam everywhere. Every Jewish Community Center, Federation, Jewish School, and any Jewish establishment upped security and prayed their community would be okay. The ​​ADL Center on Extremism reported a 400% increase in antisemitic attacks. This is a possible genocide, and you cannot ignore this. Israel has the right to defend herself against terrorism. Israel does everything in its power not to put Palestinian civilians in harm’s way. They drop flyers, send texts, individual calls, or anything to get civilians away from the area they are hitting, which are almost always civilian areas because this is where Hamas operates. The Israeli Defense Forces, USA, and Egypt agreed to open the border to Egypt for Palestinian civilians to go. Hamas terrorists actively prevented civilians from heading south and even blew up one of the roads heading south. There is no genocide in Gaza. The World Population Review reports a growth rate of about 2% in 2023. This also shows a constant increase in the Palestinian population, with a net increase of one person roughly every four minutes. 

I am no expert in journalism and will never claim to be. But this story was about one person. One Israeli soccer player. This story was not about anyone but him and his experience as an Israeli soccer player at FAU. This outrage itself is biased. Would all the former UP EICs be outraged if this was another person with a different background? As a Jewish student, seeing Rotem wear his flag proudly and represent my people gave me a sense of belonging and hope. 

Throughout my years of leadership, advocacy, public speaking and more, I have learned to love my Jewish pride and history and to love my homeland. But I have also learned to hear the other side and the Palestinian narrative. I hurt for the innocent Palestinian civilians who have lost their lives. Hamas, a terrorist organization, uses its people as human shields. They place rockets and weapons in civilian areas. Al-Shifa Hospital has recently been in the news. Hamas used this hospital for military operations and weapons storage. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) gave warning after warning that the continued military use of this hospital would no longer protect it under international law. Did Hamas remove their civilians out of harm’s way? NO, the IDF did. The IDF worked with hospital staff to evacuate the hospital and supply aid such as baby incubators—the same hospital staff who has now been revealed to have been holding hostages. I hurt for the innocent Palestinian civilians who are used as human shields by Hamas. 

The Jewish people, our ancestors, remained strong for thousands of years. Through diaspora, persecution, the Holocaust and more, the Jewish people were not people with trembling knees. We remained strong despite our enemies’ desire to kill us. That is the same for the Jewish students not only on FAU’s campus but also on campuses across our nation. Am Yisrael Chai. 

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    #🟦Nov 28, 2023 at 10:40 pm

    Thank you Ariana for being the voice of reason here and for standing up for the Jewish community. I do not know why Gideon’s article was allowed to be published. All it does is exposes him for his radical anti-Semitic views and hopefully it will have consequences when employers find that gem. He saw an article that expressed hope for a community that is being massacred and decided that he was going to support the beheading of children under the guise of “providing an educated voice.” He never should have been editor in chief nor should he hold any role that have any level of responsibility to it as he’s shown his genocidal beliefs.

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    AmyNov 28, 2023 at 5:06 pm


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    LisaNov 28, 2023 at 2:33 pm

    If you want to make a more reasonable case, I would suggest taking an earnest angle at this discussion. There’s so much pathos in this article. I hope that with time, you understand how both sides of this issue (including the racism in this article) contribute to islamophobic sentiments on our campus. Be safe.

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    LisaNov 28, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    This article doesn’t really cover what the issue really is, it only covers a Zionist angle of the conflict. Is this really university journalism?

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    AaronNov 28, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    South Africa also had a population increase as well, and they were living under apartheid.
    Doesn’t really make the point you think it does.