Students urge Rider to raise awareness for Israel-Hamas war

By Jay Roberson

Rider Socialist-Leftist Union has consistently discussed and educated the Rider community on the latest Israel-Hamas war at club meetings since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, but decided it was time to take action by raising money for Palestine on April 1 and 3.

Some of the last events held by the university on the war was the Israel-Hamas teach-in on Oct. 12, and a vigil on Oct. 18. Since then, some clubs and organizations on campus have held events. 

Executive board members of the RSLU agreed that there has not been much awareness at Rider surrounding the most recent war.

Adrienne Bishop, president of RSLU and freshman psychology major, said, “In the weeks following Oct. 7, there were one or two events hosted by the school. Then administration kind of moved on. We didn’t like that…we just want to keep awareness up.”

According to Libby Newman, the chair for the department of government, politics and law and facilitator of the October Israel-Hamas teach-in, there are no more events surrounding the war planned for the rest of the semester. 

Students at universities across the nation, even as local as Princeton University, have staged protests calling out administrators for their lack of attention to the war. 

Professor of political science and facilitator for the Israel-Hamas teach-in Jonathan Mendilow explained that there is very low interest from students at Rider regarding the war, which has led to alack of conversation surrounding the topic.

“We are near two big universities, one of them an Ivy League and the other a state university. Both of them have a large Arab and Israeli population…You can join [protests], it’s not closed,” said Mendilow. 

Vice president of RSLU junior psychology major Lex Wright, who uses they/them pronouns, stated the club has been planning the fundraiser for months. 

“We decided if we wanted to help, we could just set up a table with different links and QR codes to organizations which you can donate to help citizens in Palestine,” said Wright.

RSLU fundraised for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, American Near East Refugee Aid, Palestine Children’s Relief Fund and Muslim Aid USA.

Public relations manager of the club and sophomore graphic design major Spencer Nelson said, “We’re advocating for change, even if that’s just in our community right now. We want to do our best to educate people and get on top of subjects that are happening right now and how to get people involved in that.”

Mendilow feels that because the U.S. declared a war on terrorism in 2001, the country owes support to its ally Israel in their war against the terrorist organization Hamas. 

  “The interesting thing is we’re [Rider] not involved as partners or as people who are engaged in the actual conflict. We’re very interested bystanders. If we’re intelligent enough, we’re looking in that mirror saying, ‘Here is a problem that needs a solution’,” said Mendilow. 

Though most members of the Rider community are not directly involved in the war, Bishop said that there should still be events held to educate the Rider community. 

“The university has not offered enough support and it’s really shameful,” said Bishop.“We expect better from an institution that we pay hundreds of thousands to go to.” 

RSLU members said they hope that the university will make an effort to educate the Rider community on the Israel-Hamas war amidst a confusing and scary time. 

Nelson said, “They could advocate for a lot more resources…This is taking a toll on people’s mental health because people don’t know what’s going on and it’s stressing them out, because they don’t know how to help.”

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