Sherri Mandell

Dear Eric Clapton

You know the heartbreak of losing a child. Your son died in an accident in an apartment in Manhattan, falling out of a window on the 53rd floor that was accidentally left open. Connor was 4. You wrote a song about him called “Tears in Heaven.”

I also lost a child, but my son’s death was not accidental. Koby and his friend Yosef Ish Ran were murdered when they were 13 and 14, beaten to death with rocks the size of bowling balls. Beaten to death face to face by Palestinian terrorists near our home in Israel.

This was in 2001, 23 years ago, Mr. Clapton.

There were no songs written for my son. No songs written for Israeli victims of terror.

No songs then. And no songs now for the 1,200+ Israelis who were killed when Hamas invaded and massacred Israelis near the Gaza border on October 7. No songs about Hamas invading a music festival, a rave, and shooting and beheading Israelis. Brutal and personal and intentional. Targeted for one reason—they were Jews living in Israel. No song for the hostages that were taken, over 200 of them, many of them children.

Imagine you were at the festival, Mr. Clapton. Or your children were. You might have been killed. Imagine that your children were taken hostage. Or your wife. Or your grandmother.

Imagine you were a peace activist like Vivian Silver who was taken captive. That you had driven Palestinians for medical treatment in Israel. Imagine that those people you helped were the ones who came back and murdered you.

Imagine that those murderers would be free to come back again and kill you and your family, if you didn’t stop them. Imagine that the whole Gaza Strip was sworn to your extinction. Imagine that missiles had rained down on your home in Israel for years. What would you do?

I don’t think you would write a song of praise for Hamas called Voice of A Child, about the damage that Israel has inflicted on Gaza. I don’t think you would write a song of praise for Hamas which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and all of its children.

What about Israeli’s children’s voices?

Did you think to include a bit of context? October 7 — for example, when, I remind you,  Hamas, a force that is sworn to Israeli’s destruction, purposefully killed, raped and beheaded children, babies, Holocaust survivors, and pregnant women — and took others hostage.

Mr. Clapton, if the choice was between protecting your child or protecting a child whose parents were coming to murder you, which choice would you make?

Because Israelis don’t belong in heaven.

Gaza is not getting bombed because Israelis want to kill children.

Gaza is getting bombed because Israelis have to protect our children, our people.

You do not hear our voice, Mr. Clapton.

Otherwise, you would not in good conscience, present a song and video where the only damage done is done by the Jewish people. Where the only children who are hurt are Palestinian children. Where the only blame is on Israel.

About the Author
Sherri Mandell is co-director of the Koby Mandell Foundation which runs programs for bereaved families in Israel. She is the author of the book "The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration." Her book, "The Blessing of a Broken Heart," won a National Jewish Book Award in 2004. She can be reached at
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