On Oct. 7, Hamas waged a savage invasion of Israel, displaying a level of barbarism not seen in modern history. Having no regard for innocent life, Hamas targeted soldiers and civilians alike with the stated goal of destroying the Jewish people and the state of Israel.
Armed Hamas militants stormed into the country, dragging families from their homes, beheading children, raping women, and abducting hostages – including women, children, and the elderly. In one Israeli community near the Gaza border, Hamas murdered 40 babies and young children.
Harrowing videos emerged of concert-goers at a music festival in southern Israel – unaware of the impending danger – as Hamas paratroopers descended from the sky. Not long after, video footage showed festival attendees running for their lives.
The reports, images, and videos showing Hamas’s brutality can only be described as pure evil.
Shortly after the initial attacks on Oct. 7, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, “Israel is at war.” He asserted, “This is not a so-called military operation, not another round of fighting, but war.”
Make no mistake: Israel is now fighting a war for its survival.
The Hamas Covenant, issued in 1988, will dispel any doubt that the terrorist group’s aim is anything short of total annihilation.
Consider the savagery of the Covenant’s preamble, which states, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
While Article 7 states, “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: ‘O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.”
At the time of this writing, at least 1,300 people have been killed by Hamas forces in Israel, including 27 Americans, and more than 3,000 others have been injured.
The Israeli military has mobilized 360,000 reservists, totaling nearly 4 percent of the population, to defend their country. Many of the brave Israeli men and women who are standing on the frontlines of this war are young adults.
At the age of 18, eligible men and women are drafted into the Israeli Defense Forces, serving for three years and two years, respectively. Soldiers receive a reserve unit assignment after the period of compulsory service is complete. Most Israeli students don’t enter college until they are in their 20s as a result of military conscription and duty to their country.
While young adults in the IDF stare into the eyes of destruction, brutality, and vengeance, American college students are openly condoning Hamas’s atrocities and attempting to shift the blame for the carnage to Israel.
Thirty-four Harvard student organizations condemned Israel in a joint statement that said: “We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence. … The apartheid regime is the only one to blame. … Today, the Palestinian ordeal enters into uncharted territory. The coming days will require a firm stand against colonial retaliation.”
The position received such widespread backlash that some groups retroactively withdrew their signatures.
Similar baseless defenses of Hamas’s brutal inhumanity were seen at various protests and demonstrations across the United States. In New York City, hundreds of pro-Palestinian supporters of all ages – many of whom appeared to be young – waved signs in the street that read, “By any means necessary,” “Israel go to hell!” and “NYC stands with Gaza.”
There is no moral defense that justifies support for violence and terrorism.
Sadly, on U.S. university campuses, antisemitism is on the rise, with the Anti-Defamation League reporting a 41 percent increase in targeted incidents last year.
Citing a recent survey of undergraduate students, Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, wrote, “American universities tolerate Jew-hatred.” Writing for the New York Post, Lauder confirmed, “More than 20 percent of Jewish students disclosed hearing other students make calls for violence, genocide or deadly pogroms against them – simply because they are Jewish.”
Additionally, the poll found that nearly 60 percent of Jewish students had experienced antisemitism directed against them personally, while more than 50 percent had been subjected to antisemitic hate speech.
Further, almost half of the survey respondents reported seeing antisemitic vandalism on campus.
Such hatred targeting the Jewish people is unacceptable and must be unequivocally denounced. After the lives of nearly 6 million Jews were taken during the Holocaust, freedom-loving peoples worldwide made a pledge: “Never Again.”
As the United States offers its unwavering support to Israel, we must work to educate our youth about past atrocities and boldly stand up against antisemitism.