A letter to a ‘pro-Palestinian protester’

Credit: Shmulik Almany
Credit: Shmulik Almany

Dear ‘pro-Palestinian protester,’

How we rallied for Israel in DC says everything you need to know about who is on the side of justice, freedom, and human rights…and who is not.

Our gathering for Israel in DC was one of unity, of celebrating life, of longing for peace, of urging for dignity. At our gathering, we lifted each other up.

Our gathering was Christians holding hands with gay rights activists, religious Jews holding hands with secular Jews, all wrapped in Israeli flags, all singing HaTikvah in unison. 

Credit: Lilia Gaufberg

At our gathering, we held up posters of those savagely taken hostage by Hamas, posters of Israeli Jews, of Thai nationals, of Bedouin Muslims. It didn’t matter who was on our posters. We were desperate for ALL of them to return home. 

At our gathering, those who refer to themselves as feminists and those who don’t cried together for the women and girls violated by Hamas terrorists on October 7th, that nightmare of a day. 

At our gathering, we said their names, the names of those babies, children, sisters, brothers, mothers, and fathers ruthlessly slain by Hamas terrorists. 

At our gathering, we called for justice for Palestinians in Gaza, because eradicating Hamas would mean breaking the chains with which they’ve been held captive for close to 20 years. 

At our gathering, there was not even a semblance of hate in the air, not even towards those who hate us, like you, not even after being faced with such an exorbitant amount of sheer evil by Hamas terrorists. There was barely even anger at our gathering, although if there had been, it would’ve been beyond justified. 

At our gathering, there was only grief, only desperation, only unity, only humanity, only love. At our gathering, we smiled at every stranger we passed, because, after all, nobody was a stranger. We were all bonded by the depth of our values, by the understanding that history has sides, and we were on the right one.

Credit: Valeria Bugaev

Many major media outlets have been referring to our gathering as the largest ‘pro-Israel’ rally in history. While this is technically true, the term pro-Israel is something I am wary of using because it legitimizes the ‘anti’ side of that coin. Our gathering was not anti-anything except for anti-evil. 

Throughout our gathering in DC, I couldn’t stop thinking about the way you protest. There is no love in your gatherings, no dignity, no celebration of life, no longing for peace. 

Credit: Shutterstock

At your gatherings, all I’ve witnessed is sheer hatred, rage, and violence. You don’t lift anything, or anyone, up at your gatherings; you tear down, just as you tear down our posters of the innocent civilians being held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza. At your gatherings, there is no rationale behind your empty slogans, your toxic chants, your venom; only unfounded – or at best, misdirected – fury. 

At your gatherings, there is no standing up for anyone – not even the Palestinians you purport to care about. You are not pro-Palestinian. You are actually inherently anti-Palestinian, because if you cared for innocent Palestinian lives, you would speak out against Hamas, plain and simple. You take one look at the death toll in Gaza and you refuse to acknowledge why innocent people are dying in the first place, thus doing a grave injustice to those who have lost their lives in Gaza. You call for a ceasefire, but there was a ceasefire on October 6th which Hamas broke. 

At your gatherings, you refuse to equally apply the liberal values which so many of you claim to cherish. You #BelieveAllWomen…unless they are Jewish women raped by Hamas. You stand up for LGBTQ+ rights…unless they are LGBTQ+ Palestinians scared for their lives under Hamas rule in Gaza. #BlackLivesMatter…except for the black lives being held in Hamas captivity. 

Your gatherings are hypocritical. They are cruel. Although you claim to be calling for justice, your gatherings are the antithesis of just. Innocent Palestinian civilians are crying out, and you are silencing them even more by ignoring their desperate calls to be rid of Hamas. Innocent Israelis and Jews are crying out, and you tear down their posters, spit in their faces, and scream your empty, hateful words. Your gatherings make people feel scared and unsafe. Ours make people feel welcomed and safe.

Credit: Shutterstock

There is a reason that people often say ‘Israel is losing the PR war.’ We – Israelis, Jews, and Israel supporters – are not as loud as you, but not because we have nothing legitimate to fight for; in fact, the opposite is true. We are not as loud as you simply because we don’t need to scream in order to overpower any core truth as you do, the core truth being that in the case of Hamas’ war against Israel, there is a side that wants peace and there is a side that wants destruction.

How you protest is how you live. I refuse to live angrily like you, with hatred in my heart, enabling those forces that seek to destroy rather than to build. I am determined to live like we protested in DC: with values of love, humanity, unity, and dignity. 


A ‘pro-Israel protester’

About the Author
Lilia Gaufberg is an artist and a Digital Research Analyst at the international and non-partisan Israel education organization StandWithUs. She grew up in Boston, MA, and made Aliyah in 2018. She served in the Israel Defense Forces' COGAT unit as a lone soldier. She recently moved back to the United States, and currently resides in New York.
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