Shabbat this previous Saturday, Oct. 7, marked the vacation of Simchat Torah, a joyous day on which Jews full our yearly studying of the Torah and start the sacred cycle of studying our holy e-book anew. Nevertheless, this yr, Jews who have been wanting ahead to celebrating within the vacation’s festivities awoke to the devastating information of a shock assault and a declaration of battle.
Heartbreaking photographs and movies have streamed our Israel since Hamas started its assault. As of Wednesday, Oct. 11, Hamas, in pursuance of its explicitly genocidal agenda in opposition to the Jewish folks, has launched over 5,000 rockets into Israel and despatched its armed fighters throughout the border for the aim of slaughtering civilians. Hamas rejects any distinction between Israeli civilians and troopers. They’ve murdered over 1,300 innocents (together with 22 Individuals) and injured no less than 3,300 extra. At a vacation music competition turned massacre, the place Hamas lower down 260 younger folks alone, a present Stanford pupil’s member of the family was amongst the various misplaced. In its wake, Hamas perpetrated the mass rape of Jewish girls beside the our bodies of their slaughtered associates. They’ve taken over 100 and fifty hostages — together with each the younger and the aged, in addition to residents of nations together with america, Canada, Mexico, Thailand and extra — whose family members concern they’ll by no means see them once more. They diminished properties in Tel Aviv to rubble.
These terrorist assaults are unacceptable. Hamas’ violence has unleashed the bloodiest battle between Israelis and Palestinians in almost fifty years, and their blatant transgression of authorized and ethical norms shocks the conscience. The Jewish folks have been persecuted for 3,000 years. Hamas’ actions this Saturday made it the bloodiest day in Jewish historical past because the Holocaust. By no means once more is now.
Like most Jews, I assist Palestinians’ aspirations for justice and independence. Nevertheless, that future won’t come underneath the banner of Hamas — a delegated terrorist group with a protracted historical past of torturing and killing not solely Jews however Palestineans (even together with one among their very own high commanders for alleged homosexuality). Whereas recognizing the reputable grievances of the Palestinian folks, terrorism and battle crimes can’t be condoned underneath any flag or trigger. Worldwide regulation gives no sanction for Hamas’ brutal actions — which, in reality, are flagrantly unlawful violations. Hostage-taking, assaults deliberately concentrating on civilians and rape are clearly proscribed underneath all circumstances throughout armed conflicts underneath Article III of the Fourth Geneva Conference (widespread article III of the 1949 Geneva Conventions), customary worldwide regulation on rape and Article VIII of the Rome Conference, to which Palestine is a signatory.
There’s nothing to have a good time in a mass slaughter of Jews. Hamas is aware of nicely that its motion will carry Palestinians no nearer towards attaining their reputable declare to self-determination, however will as a substitute tragically set that aim on a backward trajectory at the price of harmless lives. Hamas’ pursuit of genocide in opposition to the Jewish folks has come on the expense of the Palestinian folks, who’ve been their major victims. As Hamas makes clear in its personal phrases in Article 13 of its Covenant, it would by no means, ever make peace. To free Palestine requires liberating Palestinians from Hamas. Its radical tyranny over Gaza should finish.
As distressing because it already is to course of the trauma of a modern-day pogrom and grapple with concern for our family members in Israel that’s maintaining many people awake at evening, it’s doubly devastating to take action whereas additionally processing the extent to which many world wide and in our personal group are desensitized to Jewish bloodshed, with some even celebrating it. At the same time as we fear about Jews in Israel, Jews world wide are actually being compelled to query their very own security the place they dwell. The palpable risk of a former Hamas chief’s name for a worldwide ‘Day of Rage’ on Friday, Oct. 13, has led to synagogue and college closures and demanded an pressing enhance in safety for Jewish establishments going through concentrating on. In Britain alone, reviews of antisemitic incidents have shot up 300% because the battle broke out. On the steps of the Sydney Opera Home, protestors chanted “gasoline the Jews.” In Alexandria, Egypt, a police officer shot and killed two Jewish vacationers together with their Egyptian information. From Utah to Chicago, U.S. synagogues have confronted a flood of bomb threats. American universities too have been the scene of mounting antisemitism since Hamas’ assault. For instance, on Wednesday, an Israeli pupil at Columbia College was crushed with a stick in entrance of the library whereas placing up posters with the names and images of Hamas’ hostages.
Sadly, Stanford has been no exception to the devastating development. Too many college students right here have posted on social media websites corresponding to Fizz and Instagram, justifying Hamas’ mass homicide. As many college students feared family members being burned alive whereas watching Israeli properties and cities set alight by Hamas rocket fireplace, a banner was hung at Tresidder Union emblazoned with the phrases “The Phantasm of Israel is Burning.” The phrase selection felt like a calculated try to take advantage of that concern and trauma — because it reminded many Jewish college students of the picture of the mass burning of Jews in the course of the Holocaust, a scene which Hamas is now replicating. College students biking to class previous White Plaza on Wednesday morning have been topic to the merciless taunts of chalkings with messages lauding violence in opposition to Jews, together with “Viva Intifada” (which refers to 2 historic episodes of terrorist violence that claimed 1000’s of Israeli lives) and “Israel is Lifeless.”
Jewish first-years desperate to be taught of their required “Civil, Liberal and International Training” class have been singled out and harassed by their teacher based mostly on their identification in a disgraceful public shaming. The teacher, who has since been suspended, requested Jewish college students to establish themselves after which separated them from their belongings, claiming that this was what Jews have been doing to Palestinians. In keeping with what college students in contact with the focused first-years instructed the San Francisco Chronicle, after asking them how many individuals died within the Holocaust and receiving the correct reply of six million, the trainer responded “Sure. Solely six million,” earlier than including, “colonizers killed greater than six million. Israel is a colonizer.” Such incidents make many Jewish college students at Stanford afraid to return to class.
The Stanford Jewish group appreciates the braveness and ethical readability of those that have stood up as allies to the Jewish folks over previous days. President Joe Biden has rightly referred to as out Hamas’ assault as “an act of sheer evil” and brought necessary steps to defend the lives of Israelis and Jewish Individuals in these threatening instances. His management in uniting the world behind Israel’s protection and Hamas’ destruction sends a transparent message (see his letter, co-signed by Stanford alumnus Rishi Sunak, prime minister of the UK, together with the leaders of Germany, France and Italy). President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine has additionally expressed sturdy assist for Israel in response to Hamas’ assault, connecting his personal nation’s wrestle in opposition to Russia’s invasion to Israel’s protection in opposition to Hamas’ invasion (in addition to accusing Russia of supporting Hamas’ operations). Right here on campus, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice introduced consolation to many by taking the stage at Tuesday evening’s White Plaza group vigil to specific her assist for Israel and Stanford’s Jewish group.
Like most Jews, I search the peace and safety of Israel as a Jewish state within the indigenous homeland of the Jewish folks, a secure haven after millennia of persecution the place Jews can lastly declare management over their very own future. Likewise, like most Jews, I additionally dream of a way forward for dignity and freedom for the Palestinian folks, who, by the exact same rules of self-determination, deserve a state of their very own in a land that they too have referred to as residence for a lot of centuries.
Nevertheless, Hamas’ ideology of hate and strategies of terrorism are opposite to that imaginative and prescient. The wanton bloodshed and carnage that these previous days of terror have introduced are clearly not the trail to liberation; they’re as a substitute the harbinger of continued large-scale, pointless struggling for harmless Israelis and Palestinians alike. I fervently hope for a day when all Israelis, Palestinians and others dwelling between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea can dwell collectively in peace as neighbors. As we yearn for that future, please be part of me in praying for the reminiscence of two,000 civilians, Israeli, Palestinian and others, who’ve misplaced their lives prior to now 5 days of violence. For his or her sake, from the destruction of battle, we should construct a greater future.
“Could the Maker of peace in excessive locations make peace for all of us and for all of Israel.”
Matthew Wigler ’19 J.D. ’25
Co-President of the Jewish Legislation College students Affiliation