Hamas’ unprovoked and unprecedented attack was the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust and among the deadliest terror attacks in modern history. In targeting civilians with medieval barbarity, Hamas demonstrated its intent to not only destroy Israel, but also inflict another genocide on the Jewish people.
Given the seriousness and immediacy of this threat, Israel must destroy Hamas. The coming war will be grim, but necessary, and will test our commitment to the oft-stated post-Holocaust proposition of “never again”.
“Never again” is a reminder to remain vigilant against the threat of genocide. The American Jewish establishment, Holocaust commemoration institutions and political leaders regularly evoke it to warn about looming or present dangers to the Jewish people or other groups.
All-too-often, however, “never again” happens again and again. No one averted the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda, or came to the defense of the Yazidis in Iraq, or is protecting the Uyghurs in China.
And no one prevented Nazi Germany from slaughtering Europe’s Jews.
Today, Israel guarantees “never again” for the Jewish people because it is the one country whose expressed purpose is to be a state for the Jews.
Israel was not established in 1948 because of the Holocaust; the Holocaust happened because Israel did not exist in 1938. After nearly two millennia of living under foreign rule and enduring expulsions, pogroms and massacres – the Holocaust being only the latest and most horrific instance – the Jewish people now govern and defend themselves. While history may have cheapened Jewish blood, Israel can exact a heavy price on those who threaten Jews.
Today, Hamas is that threat.
An Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization, Hamas’ charter calls for the “obliteration” of Israel. Established in the late 1980s, it seized control of the Gaza Strip in a bloody civil war with the Palestinian Authority following Israel’s withdrawal in 2005 and turned the territory into a terror enclave.
Over its nearly two-decade rule, Hamas has indiscriminately fired tens of thousands of rockets into Israeli towns, with some falling in Gaza and killing Palestinians. It uses its own Palestinian population as human shields by storing weapons in UN-run schools, establishing command centers in hospitals and sending families to rooftops during Israeli airstrikes. It has confiscated humanitarian supplies sent by the international community to build an expansive underground network of terror tunnels, from which it smuggles in weapons from Egypt and abducts Israeli soldiers and civilians.
In response, Israel pursued a policy of containment: it developed the Iron Dome air defense system to protect its civilians from incoming missiles, conducted occasional military operations to degrade Hamas’ capabilities and spent over a billion dollars on a sophisticated above- and below-ground barrier system. Though this policy would never permanently end the threat, it kept the devil outside the house.
Until October 7.
In its shockingly evil attack, Hamas showed the world what Israel already knows: it pursues a genocide against the Jewish people at any cost and with any means available.
And with Iran pulling the strings, this war can quickly escalate. Its proxy Hezbollah, in southern Lebanon, possesses the region’s largest arsenal of missiles; Lebanese civilians are already fleeing north in expectation of war. It has spent the past decade establishing a base of operations in Syria, opposite the Golan Heights from Israel. Within Israel’s borders, the West Bank remains a hotbed of terrorist activity from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Over the years, Hamas and Hezbollah have attacked Israelis and Jews outside Israel.
Hamas’ actions shattered Israel’s feeling of security and have shaken Jews’ hope in this “never again” era. With worldwide antisemitism already on the rise, the sense of vulnerability overcoming the global Jewish community is hard to overstate.
The game has changed, and this seemingly localized conflict has global ramifications.
Therefore, Israel’s offensive must have one purpose in mind: the total and utter destruction of Hamas. The costs are too high for Israel – and the Jewish people – to achieve anything less.
Make no mistake: this promises to be a long and costly war with a high body count and widespread destruction.
But this is Hamas’ price for Israel – and the world – to ensure “never again” for the Jewish people. Israel is ready to pay that price. Are you?
Today, support for Israel is widespread and formidable. But soon, when Israel initiates its offensive and images circulate of the grisly reality of war, you will face a choice: call for restraint or continue standing by Israel?
In that moment, remember why Israel was forced to enter Gaza and eviscerate Hamas. Remember that this is a war against pure evil and there are no “two sides”; evil cannot be allowed to survive.
If Israel is prevented from achieving its objective, then, as history teaches us, it is only a matter of time until we will have to say, “never again”, again.
Stay strong. Stand with Israel. Make sure “never” is now.