By Dafna Horowitz
On October 7th 2023, the internationally recognized terrorist group Hamas, invaded Israel, brutally attacking homes, families, individuals and IDF military bases. Among those who have been murdered or taken as hostages include citizens of the United States, Ukraine, Russia, France, Britain, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Thailand, Tanzania, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia, Mexico, China, Canada, Brazil, Italy, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka.
Hamas has publicized these atrocities as a means of propaganda and psychological warfare. This means that every person who has seen an image or a video publicized or filmed by Hamas has been terrorized by this war.
Hamas attacked Israel on Simchat Torah. A very joyous Jewish holiday, it is the Jewish celebration of finishing the cycle of Torah readings. 50 years and one day before this invasion, Egypt similarly attacked Israel. This was on Yom Kippur, another important Jewish holiday.
Unfortunately, Israel has faced attacks like this since the UN declared approval of the proposed two state solution in 1948. Palestinians did not approve of sharing the land with Israel, and attacked. This resulted in Israel winning the Independence Day War. Yet Israel was unprepared for this invasion, perhaps due to the current Israeli government’s focus on territories in the West Bank and other internal affairs, and their lack of focus on Gaza. This attack is seen as a failure of the Israeli government and the Israeli Defence Force.
As a Jewish Israeli-American, I can say that this war has shaken me to my core. I never expected to witness such heinous attacks on the Israeli people in my lifetime. However, I can’t say that I am surprised. I can not say that I’m shocked that Hamas can be so evil. I grew up understanding that the Jewish people have never been safe. No matter if they were in Israel, America, Libya, Morocco, Germany, Russia; no matter if it was the twenty-first century or 586 BC. However, this is the first time I have seen so many news outlets stand with Israel. This is the first time I have seen so many people fight against organizations, and college students who have denounced Israel. However, it’s not enough.
It’s not enough to denounce Hamas and their terrorism. To do this is the bare minimum. I believe that the world needs to start supporting Israel in a way we have never seen before.
On Thursday, October 12, there was an SJP protest against Israel on the Binghamton campus. There was a call to denounce terrorism, followed by a call to support and bring about an Intifada in Israel. This saw cheers and applause. I question how many students on campus know what an “Intifada” means for Israel. It would mean hundreds and thousands of people in Israel murdered by stabbings and shootings and bombings. It means aiding Hamas to terrorize the state of Israel, and everyone within it. It means that once they’re done terrorizing and killing everyone in Israel they will want to terrorize and murder everyone around the world.
Hamas did not check the nationalities of the people they murdered and took hostage. They do not even care that their own people have died. This attack has harmed the lives of innocent Palestinians. This, again, is not surprising. I remember the first time I learned that Hamas uses schools and children as human shields. I pictured thousands of little kids just like me being put on the roof of my school, waiting for a bomb to hit them. Many like to deny this fact, or try to talk around it. However, the UN has confirmed this to be true: Palestinian authorities use schools and hospitals as human shields. They ensure that civilians are unsafe and to postpone attacks from the IDF. The IDF tries to avoid hitting schools and hospitals, and they warn civilians of their attacks in order to save them. Hamas, meanwhile, encourages Palestinian civilians to stay within Gaza and not escape. When Israel sends ambulances into Gaza they are sent back out. Hamas doesn’t care about the wellbeing of their people. Hamas doesn’t care about the wellbeing of anyone.
Regardless of anyone’s opinions of Israel there is no justifying or excusing the terrorism that occurred this past weekend. This is not the time to advocate against Israel or advocate for “decolonization.” In the SJP protest on Thursday there was a motion supporting resistance “by any means necessary.” There is no excuse for supporting any form of violence on this level. This war is not an excuse to advocate for anti-Zionist ideals. By agreeing with what is happening, or excusing this violence and blaming Israel for this war, you are aiding and supporting Hamas.
This war is about real people. On Monday night, all the Jewish organizations on campus came together to hold a vigil in honor of those who have been murdered, gone missing, and those fighting to protect everyone under attack. The vigil included an open forum in which students were able to share anything they wanted with the support of the community. An Israeli mother approached the stage. She explained to the crowd that she had come to Binghamton before the weekend to visit her father. She looked out on the crowd and told them of her three children she had left with her husband, who was redrafted into the army. She left her children behind. Three kids who don’t know when they will see their mother again. If they will see their father again. And that is only one story.
This war has been so heartbreaking because of the sheer loss of innocent lives: both Palestinian and Israeli. The amount of people quick to denounce terrorism while aiding the perpetuation of a terrorist organization—the perpetuation of ignorance is likewise heartbreaking.
I only hope that this will lead people to understand that Israel is in need of support. Innocent lives of all peoples are threatened. Israel will need to strike back against Hamas decisively in order to protect these innocent lives. The way to support those who have died, and those in danger is to support Israel. The right thing is to support and stand with Israel. Understand that Israel is the country fighting to protect innocent lives. Please have compassion for anyone upset by the situation and come together in support of one another, and in support of Israel.