By KATHERINE GOLUB and STACEY SEXTON, Greenfield Recorder, January 4, 2024

As elected officials representing the people of Greenfield, we face the very real needs of ouFourteen percent of Greenfielders live below the poverty line. Our schools face an untenable fiscal situation leading to cuts in programs including music and arts. Climate change and flooding threaten the health of our rivers and drinking water. We lack sufficient funds for things like roads, sidewalks, and pipes.r community every day.

Many Greenfielders struggle to pay for child care, college, housing, health care and other necessities. Imagine what we could do as individuals and as a community if our basic needs were met.

It can be easy to get stuck thinking that we don’t have enough money to meet our needs. But we start to see a different story when we consider that Massachusetts residents contribute over $134 billion annually in federal income taxes.

So where is our money going?

Most years, over half of the federal government’s discretionary budget is allocated towards military spending, even though the U.S. military has never passed an audit and is regularly unable to account for hundreds of billions of dollars it spends.

One of the biggest recipients of U.S. military funding is the Israel Defense Forces. According to the US News and World Report, “The United States has given Israel more than $260 billion in combined military and economic aid since World War II, plus about $10 billion more in contributions for missile defense systems like the Iron Dome. That’s the most granted to any country throughout that time frame.”

That figure includes nearly $130 million from Massachusetts taxpayers.

For over 75 years, these funds have been used to impose apartheid conditions on Palestinians — strictly surveilling Palestinians’ movement, decimating industries upon which Palestinians relied for sustenance, and blocking food, water and medicine imports.

And since Oct. 7, U.S. tax dollars have been used to fund Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

We understand that the Israeli state’s actions do not reflect the will of all Israelis or Jewish people. Similarly, Hamas does not reflect the will of all Palestinians, the majority of whom had not even been born yet when Hamas took over in the Gaza Strip in 2006. We are appalled by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks and the continued holding of Israeli hostages.

This is not about choosing sides between Hamas and the Israeli government. We choose the side of the hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Gaza whose lives are being destroyed at this very moment, using our tax dollars.

So, what to do?

We believe that U.S. taxpayers have a responsibility to stand in solidarity with any group experiencing oppression funded by U.S. tax dollars and advocate for stopping the flow of money and materials to Israel, pressuring Israel to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, putting conditions on future aid to the Israeli government, and ending this genocide.

We believe that U.S. citizens have a responsibility to advocate for the humane appropriation of our tax dollars.

If you agree, we invite you to join us in action:

1. Urge Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey to call for a permanent cease-fire. You can reach Warren’s office at (202) 224-4543 and Markey at (202) 224-2742.

2. Attend a protest. You can find announcements about local protests on the Jewish Voice for Peace Facebook page:

3. Educate yourself about the history and current relationship between Palestine, Israel, and the United States. For instance, listen to Ezra Klein’s podcast coverage of the issue, check out the digital action toolkit from the Palestinian Feminist Collective, or watch the documentary “Israelism.”

4. Vote with your wallet. Boycott companies like Starbucks, which profit for Israeli apartheid, and join calls for divestment from weapons manufacturers and companies benefiting form genocide. Learn more at .

Imagine what might be possible if we all worked to invest our resources in our communities rather than in killing.

Stacey Sexton is a Greenfield School Committee member, and Katherine Golub is the Precinct 1 Greenfield city councilor.