Eric Danis

Note to Etan Thomas

A note to former NBA player and political activist Etan Thomas, who is very busy trying to “#FreePalestine.”


You wrote a book called Fatherhood: Rising to the Ultimate Challenge. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to read it someday. My own parenting challenges have recently gotten more difficult. My three beautiful young children are sleeping together in a small, fortified room in our apartment here in Modi’in, Israel (maybe you would call it “occupied Palestine”?), because the terrorists from Hamas are indiscriminately lobbing countless rockets and missiles in an attempt to kill as many Israeli Jews as possible. They are even hoping for a nuclear meltdown in their own backyard (I guess it’s worth it if they manage to kill lots of Jews).

Thankfully, in our city we’ve “only” suffered through 4 or 5 sirens alerting us to the fact that we have 90 seconds to seal ourselves in a fortified room or shelter because missiles are on the way. The South of Israel has of course suffered through YEARS of endless rounds of such shelling, resulting in deaths, infrastructure damage and psychologically damaged children (and adults).

My oldest, a seven-year-old, asked me while we huddled in the fortified room the other day, “Abba (Dad), why do they hate us so much?” Perhaps you can suggest an answer. Based on your Twitter feed, a steady stream of Palestinian propaganda lacking even basic sympathy towards Israelis, the noble Hamas fighters are merely trying to #FreePalestine (a hashtag you use often).

One thing I don’t understand: what does “#FreePalestine” really mean? When Hamas talks about “freeing” Palestine, they are talking about eliminating the country of Israel in its entirety. Hamas‘ 1988 charter states that Hamas “strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.” How will they do that, Etan? According to the charter:

The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.

So that’s the meaning of “#FreePalestine” for Hamas, the group driving this current conflict. What does the term mean for you?

It seems you are too concerned with the actions of the Israeli government to consider these types of complex questions. You seem to believe that all human beings are morally compelled to disagree with the actions of the Israeli government. Apparently those of us who don’t are less than human (and maybe deserve to run to our bomb shelters and fortified rooms).

Your Twitter account is full of accounts of Palestinian suffering and statistics supporting the Palestinian narrative, etc. But there are a few things I can’t find on your Twitter feed:

  • I can’t find any reason why Hamas and other terrorist groups responded violently when Israel withdrew from Gaza many years ago. Do you know of one?
  • I can’t find any expressions of concern or sympathy for the YEARS that Israeli civilians were shelled by rockets. In fact, I find very little sympathy for any Israelis (except generic calls for “peace”)
  • Why don’t you mention that Israel accepted a ceasefire, but Hamas rejected it? Why did they reject it, Etan?
  • What about Hamas storing missiles in schools and using human shields?

Sorry Etan, I don’t have time for a longer letter. I have a job to attend to and soon I will be picking up my children from summer camp. Don’t worry about them (you don’t seem too worried about Israeli children, but still…), they have been instructed how to act in case a siren goes off while they are at camp, and some of the more risky activities (like swimming outside in large groups) have been canceled. They know Hamas hates Jews, but luckily they are still too young to know that people like you are working day and night from far away lands to disseminate the anti-Israel narrative.

I’ll encourage people to reach out to you on Twitter. After all, sometimes father doesn’t know best.

About the Author
Eric Danis lives in Modi'in, Israel with his wife and three cute kids. Whenever possible, he tries to dispel misconceptions and stereotypes about Israel and Judaism.