Over the past few months I have received quite a few emails in my city commission mailbox from local constituents with the subject line, ‘Reaffirm your commitment to America’s closest ally, Israel.‘
The content of the email is the same but from many different local folks concerned about the ongoing war in Israel. You can read it in its entirety here.
Here is a paragraph from the email:
“Israel is under constant threat, both from terrorists such as Iran’s proxies Hamas and Hezbollah, and from those who undermine Israel’s right to exist. The attacks of October 7 destroyed any assumptions that Hamas’ had a pragmatic interest in governing Gaza – its sole goal is the elimination of Israel and the Jewish people. As such, calling for a ceasefire gives Hamas credit and authority it no longer deserves. Calls for a ceasefire are not reasonable or realistic, nor is it the only way to guarantee that Palestinian civilians will be protected. Existing efforts to allow for food, water, medicine, and other essential assistance to flow into Gaza and to the people who need them must be bolstered.”
I agree with the sentiments expressed here – especially the point that a ceasefire is not “reasonable or realistic” given the circumstances.
So yes, I reaffirm my personal commitment to Israel and to our Jewish community in Great Falls. But I also recognize the horror of war and its hellish impact on all of the civilians caught in the crossfire.
And certainly I recognize that there are others in Great Falls who hold a different viewpoint from my own concerning calls for a ceasefire. One of them is Eamon Ormseth, who was invited by the Great Falls Public Library to give a presentation on Palestine. You can view the entire one hour talk, given on January 4th, here.
Ormseth is an activist with a group called “Montanans for Palestine” and he organized a rally in Great Falls the day after his talk at the library. The rally was covered by Joe Taylor at the Fairfield Sun Times and here is an excerpt from that reporting:
“I have friends whose friends have been killed in the Israeli airstrike on the church, the orthodox church in Gaza. Another friends’ relatives are sheltering in the catholic church in which Israeli snipers killed two of them, two people in that church recently. And a friend of a friend was just murdered by the Israeli army very close to where I live. So, it’s very personal. I have friends in Palestine and I just don’t see how the United States continues to support such a brutal occupation,” said Ormseth.
Around 8-10 people were at the rally at the Civic Center and chanted along side Ormseth, “Free Palestine” “Stop the Bombing” and “Cease Fire” were among the chants.
We live in a such a time that even far-flung controversies and wars can reach across the distance and touch us right here in Great Falls, Montana. Interesting times indeed.