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Linda Sadacka

Strategy for Hostage Families Moving Forward

The situation for families advocating for the hostages is not one of neglect, but rather of misguided efforts.

These families, desperate for assistance, are often hosted by well-meaning individuals who lack the expertise in activism or political navigation. It’s not a matter of ill intent; these hosts are compassionate people moved to help, but their goodwill alone is insufficient for the complexities at hand. While many hosts of these families are undoubtedly well-meaning, they must recognize that popularity in one realm does not equate to expertise in political strategy. without the necessary understanding of advocacy, their efforts lead to wasted time and lost opportunities – precious resources that cannot be reclaimed.

Guiding these families down a path without a clear, strategic political plan is not just unhelpful; it’s a detrimental misstep in a situation where every action and decision holds significant weight. This troubling circumstance is why I am compelled to address the issue in this article. My aim is not just to spotlight the problem but to provide actionable solutions. We must recognize that good intentions need to be paired with informed, effective strategies to truly support these families in their dire quest for justice and relief.

The plight of the hostages’ families extends beyond their hosts. They are often surrounded by “influencers” who, while well-intentioned, end up using their encounters to self-promote rather than drive effective action. These meetings become platforms for personal gain rather than rallying cries for change. Moreover, various gestures of solidarity, like symbolic walks or vigils, though heartfelt, fall short in creating tangible results. In a particularly disconcerting twist, families of the hostages are sometimes expected to provide solace to the very audiences they seek support from, a reversal of roles that is as baffling as it is disheartening. This misdirected effort highlights a profound disconnect between intention and impact.

Such instances reveal a troubling lack of understanding about the true needs of these families, a situation I find deeply shameful and urgently in need of correction. My goal in writing this article is not only to bring this issue to light but also to guide us towards meaningful, impactful support for those who are enduring unimaginable suffering.
Let us not lose sight of the harrowing reality facing our hostages for over 111 days as of now, they have been subjected to unspeakable acts of violence: rape, savage beatings, torture with electrical prods, and starvation, receiving just enough sustenance to survive but no more. The psychological torment they endure is relentless. Each day of captivity must feel like an eternity to our dear brethren and sisters.

They likely feel utterly abandoned, clinging to whatever shred of hope remains. They are voiceless in their agony, powerless to cry out for help. This is where our responsibility lies. We must become their voice, their strength, their eyes. We cannot forget, not even for a moment, the severity of their suffering. I know I am not alone in saying that since October 7, there has not been a single night of restful sleep, haunted by thoughts of their plight. This is precisely why the urgency to write this article is so pressing – we must raise awareness and spur action to end their nightmare.

What these families desperately need is a well-structured plan, a roadmap for advocacy that includes meetings with politicians sympathetic to their cause. These officials can be instrumental in advocating on their behalf, exerting pressure on the Biden administration to take decisive, effective action. And there is much that can be done. Remember, this is a matter of freedom, a cornerstone of democracy. In the following sections, I will delve deeper into the potential actions the Biden administration can undertake and why there is room for much more to be done in this critical fight for liberty and justice or the hostages’ families, the key to effective advocacy lies in meeting with influential policymakers who can actively champion their cause. These meetings should be strategically planned to maximize impact and visibility. Here’s an outline of who they should meet and the strategy behind these interactions:

Congressional Representatives and Senators: Meeting with members of Congress who represent the hostages’ home districts or states is crucial. When applicable. These officials have a vested interest in the well-being of their constituents and can raise concerns directly at the federal level. Additionally, engaging with senators, particularly those on key committees such as Foreign Relations or Armed Services, can be highly effective. These senators have more influence on foreign policy and defense matters.

State Department Officials: Engaging with officials from the State Department, particularly those specializing in human rights or specific regional affairs, can help escalate the issue within the executive branch, ensuring it receives the attention it merits at the highest levels of government.

Human Rights and Foreign Policy Advocates: Collaborating with established human rights organizations and foreign policy think tanks can amplify the issue. These groups often have existing networks and channels to influence policymakers and can provide valuable advice on navigating the political landscape.

Media and Public Appearances: Utilizing the media to share their story can create public pressure on elected officials to act. Public appearances, press conferences, and interviews should be geared towards drawing attention to the hostages’ plight and the need for urgent government intervention.

Strategy:

Preparation: Prior to these meetings, it’s essential that the families and their representatives are well-prepared with clear, concise messaging. This includes a detailed account of the hostages’ situation, specific requests for action, and an explanation of why these actions are necessary and feasible.

Coordination and Consistency: Efforts should be coordinated to ensure a consistent and persistent message across all meetings and public appearances. This includes aligning with human rights groups and advocates to present a united front.

Follow-up and Persistence: After initial meetings, continuous follow-up is vital. This includes regular communication with the officials’ offices, providing updates on the situation, and reiterating the need for action.

Public Engagement: Parallel to these efforts, a public awareness campaign can maintain and build pressure. This can involve social media campaigns, public petitions, and organized events to keep the issue in the public eye. Adding to the public engagement aspect, it’s critical to address the missed opportunities that have occurred repeatedly when these families were in front of thousands, either in person or via digital platforms like Zoom. They have shared the harrowing stories of their loved ones, yet, crucially, without any call to action.

This is a significant oversight.

Every meeting, every speech, every interaction must be leveraged for action. Whether addressing students, community members, or a wider audience, it should never end with just a story. Instead, it should include a direct, actionable request: urge attendees to call President Biden’s office, the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and provide them with a script highlighting the urgency of the situation, the need for the hostages’ freedom, and the imperative to prevent their physical and mental abuse.

As an activist, I have seen the power of such concerted efforts. In New York, for example, we’re currently pressuring council members to abstain from a vote, and our persistence has already led to one member relenting. This approach isn’t just effective; it’s a proven recipe for success time and again.

These families are unfortunately meeting people who are unaware of these tactics. It’s not just a waste of time; it’s dangerously counterproductive. Every second these hostages spend in captivity is a second too long. As the saying goes, “In the currency of human suffering, inaction is the most expensive debt.” We must instill in these families the knowledge that their voices, amplified and directed, can indeed move mountains and bring their loved ones home.

By following this multi-faceted strategy, the families can create a concerted push for action, bringing their plight to the forefront of political and public consciousness. It’s true that life goes on, with people attending gatherings and making plans for Pesach and vacations, often in large groups. While we can’t fault anyone for continuing with their lives, it’s critical that we don’t lose sight of the dire situation faced by the kidnapped girls and men suffering brutal torture and starvation every minute. In the midst of our activities, we must remember their ongoing Holocaust-like ordeal.

Every gathering, no matter how joyous, must include a spiritual and actionable call to action. People should be reminded and encouraged to take concrete steps – whether it’s prayer or reaching out via phone calls or emails to the relevant authorities and organizations. We must ensure that no large event passes without drawing attention to this crisis and mobilizing support. If we remain persistent in our efforts, I am confident that this continuous pressure will eventually yield results.

It’s crucial not just to invoke a call to action but to provide specific, actionable steps, including the necessary contact numbers. While people often have the best intentions, they can become complacent or forgetful. By supplying them with the exact details needed for action, we significantly increase the likelihood of their participation. Making the process as straightforward and accessible as possible removes barriers to action. When we hand them the tools – the numbers to call, the addresses to write to, the scripts to follow – we empower them to act efficiently and effectively. This approach ensures that our call to action translates into real, tangible results.

Many often speculate how they would have acted during the Holocaust, asserting they would have done more to help those in peril. Today, as we face our own crises, we are presented with the opportunity to fulfill that declaration. This is our moment to rise to the occasion, to become the agents of change we’ve always envisioned ourselves to be. In our daily lives and social interactions, let every action we take be a powerful testament to our commitment to those who are suffering. Our unity, prayers, and advocacy should converge to become a transformative force.

I hold a deep belief in the power of prayer. It’s our direct line to God, providing us with unwavering hope and strength. Prayer goes beyond mere words; it is the embodiment of our hopes, fears, and deepest yearnings. Whether we face personal challenges or tackle collective issues, prayer is foundational. Through prayer, we implore God for guidance, wisdom, and the blessing of success in our endeavors. More than a ritual, prayer is an act of faith, an affirmation of our dependence on the divine. In moments of doubt and hardship, our prayers ground us, constantly reminding us that God is our ultimate source of hope and protection. It is through our connection with the divine that we find the courage to confront our struggles, reassured that we are never alone.

As we confront the challenges of our time, this is our chance to prove that we are not mere bystanders. We are active participants in the pursuit of justice and freedom. Our actions, guided by our prayers and faith, are the embodiment of our resolve to make a meaningful difference. Let us embrace this opportunity with determination, knowing that our collective efforts, fueled by our spiritual conviction, have the power to enact real change. This is not just a moment in history; it is our time to shape history, to stand on the right side of it, and to be remembered as those who dared to make a difference when it mattered the most.

About the Author
Linda is a dedicated community activist, deeply motivated by personal tragedy following the murder of a close family friend to Hamas. This pivotal event galvanized her commitment to advocacy and community leadership. As the CEO of the New York Jewish Council, Linda plays a crucial role in addressing issues that impact the Jewish community both locally and beyond. In addition to this significant role, Linda is the founder and President of a 501(c)(3) organization, Moms on a Mitzvah, which focuses on charitable works and community support. This initiative reflects her deep commitment to positive action and communal responsibility. Linda is recognized as an influential voice. Linda leverages social media, particularly Instagram, to raise awareness and engage with a broader audience on critical social and community issues. This platform @lindaadvocate on Instagram serves as a powerful tool in her efforts to mobilize support, share insights, and advocate for meaningful change. Beyond these roles, Linda is a respected community leader and organizer, deeply involved in various initiatives that aim to strengthen and uplift both her local and the global Jewish community. Linda’s work is driven by a passion for justice, a commitment to community welfare, and a relentless pursuit of a more equitable and compassionate society.
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