When you ask someone where they were or what they were doing on September 11, 2001, as terrorists flew planes into the iconic twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center, they can usually recall those memories in vivid detail. It’s a date seared into the minds of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who witnessed the terror unfolding, both in person and on live television.
For this current generation, me included, October 7, 2023, is that date. I was too young to remember much about 9/11. Now, at the age of 30, I can recall where I was and what I was doing when the news first broke that Hamas terrorists had infiltrated Israel from land, air and sea in a savage, sadistic attack that is now the deadliest for Jews since the Holocaust.
For the sake of clarification, so readers who don’t know me aren’t left confused, I need to make mention that I’m not Jewish. I am an activist who supports the Jewish community and Israel. That has afforded me Jewish friends who I love dearly like family. The horrific events of October 7th don’t impact me the same way they do my Jewish friends. Many of you lost family or friends or know someone who has. Still, it has affected me on a personal level. That’s because an acquaintance whom I hadn’t spoken to in a few years was murdered at the music festival near Re’im alongside 259 other innocent lives taken from this world too soon. May their memories and the memories of all 1,400 killed be a blessing.
The World’s Reactions
In the days that followed the Hamas onslaught, the world has rightfully stood by Israel, aghast at the massacre of Israelis, both Jewish and Arab, foreign workers trying to provide for their families back home, and international students studying abroad in the Holy Land while more than 200 people have been taken hostage in Gaza. European leaders and President Joe Biden reaffirm Israel’s right to defend itself and respond to Hamas by all means necessary. Pro-Israel supporters flooded the streets of cities around the world standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with the Jewish diaspora and the Jewish state.
Simultaneously, other countries have sadly sided with Hamas and the Free Palestine movement has shown up in full force. While pro-Israel rallies have remained peaceful, pro-Palestine rallies have fostered an atmosphere of violence and outright Jew hatred. For example, at a rally in Sydney, Australia, the crowd chanted “Gas the Jews.” Other rallies from London to San Diego turned violent as people swarmed lone protestors waving Israeli flags and physically attacked them. At an anti-Israel rally in Philadelphia the day after Hamas attacked, a man identified as Michael C. Wilson said “I salute Hamas for a job well done! When I heard, I smiled! Every person that died yesterday was not innocent!” Those gathered around cheered and applauded his disgusting words. Others have further defined the terrorist attacks as a “justified resistance to the occupation.”
My Message to Hamas Supporters
I’m going on a little rant so bear with me these next few paragraphs.
Beheading babies is not “resistance.” Murdering entire families in their homes is not “resistance.” Raping and killing women and then parading their dead bodies around Gaza like war trophies is not “resistance.” Burning elderly, invalid men and women alive is not “resistance.” Killing young partygoers at a rave meant to promote peace is not “resistance.” Killing a 12-year-old girl with autism who loved Harry Potter and her grandmother is not “resistance. Killing a father and his disabled, wheelchair bound daughter who had cerebral palsy is not “resistance.”
If you consider any of the above to be “resistance,” frankly, I think you’re a terrorist in the same vein as Hamas. The same goes for Tayyip Erdogan, the authoritarian president of Turkey, who falsely said Hamas isn’t a terrorist organization but a liberation group fighting to protect their land. It also goes for those of you sick enough to deny the atrocities Hamas committed, even though they documented their war crimes and gleefully shared it all online for the world to see. I can’t forget you monsters tearing down posters of kidnapped Israeli children, men and women. Shame on all of you. None of you leftists seem to realize Hamas would kill you in a heartbeat because they don’t hold your so-called progressive values.
Now to those calling for a ceasefire. You’re a bunch of misguided, useful idiots. You naively assume Hamas will lay down their arms and embrace the prospect of peace with Israel. When you all held your little sit-in at the Cannon Rotunda the other week, you looked like petulant brats throwing a tantrum until you got your way. What do you seriously think a ceasefire will accomplish? It’s definitely not going to change the character of Hamas or how they treat their fellow Palestinians. All Hamas cares about is keeping absolute power and pursuing the destruction of Israel. Not until Hamas is completely defanged or destroyed and all hostages are released should a ceasefire be on the table.
My Message to Allies
Now that I’ve gotten that rant off my chest, I’m turning my attention to the people who have remained silent, think they aren’t informed enough to have an opinion or are afraid they’ll be ostracized for standing with the Jewish community.
In a previous blog post about a year ago, I made a call-to-action pleading with my peers – other non-Jews – to take a vociferous stance against antisemitism at a time when Jews needed allies more than ever. I repeat that demand for allyship even more urgently as Israel wages war with a genocidal adversary backed by Iran, the leading sponsor of terror in the Middle East; as Jewish students on American campuses and universities are threatened or assaulted by pro-Hamas demonstrators calling for a worldwide intifada; as Jewish businesses are vandalized in scenes reminiscent of Kristallnacht. Silence and neutrality are complicity. Speak up now. Don’t be scared to wear your solidarity on your sleeve. If people cut ties with you over it, the problem is them, not you.
I am inspired by the awesome displays of allyship but we can’t let the momentum die. Continue to show that Jewish lives matter. Continue to make your voices heard loudly and proudly in support of Jews everywhere. Be vigorous. Be obnoxious. Show strength and courage in the face of evil. We all have a moral obligation to make the words “Never Again” a reality. Just like we haven’t forgotten 9/11, let us never forget 8/7.
Shabbat shalom and may Israel achieve victory.