Editor's note: Find resources on our Confronting Antisemitism page.
For the past few weeks, I have been in a deep emotional battle. On the one hand, I have felt so grateful for my western privilege: Knowing where my three children and two grandchildren are; knowing they are safe, have food and have loved ones around them to hug and kiss them if they are scared or sad. Many grandmothers in Israel do not have this privilege.
On October 7th at 6:30 a.m., over 240 Israelis, both Jews and Arabs, were kidnapped from Israel by ruthless Hamas terrorists, and are currently being held hostage in Gaza. Of the 200 hostages being held by Hamas, an estimated 30 are children, including infants as young as 10 months old. I can only begin to imagine the level of immense pain their families are surely experiencing.
Yet unbelievably, it gets worse for these families. Videos from around the world showing posters of their kidnapped children being ripped down or defaced flood their social media feeds. They see rhetoric from university campuses, rallies and TikTok doubling down in support of Hamas, stating that not only do Israeli children deserve to be kidnapped, they deserve death. This is where the emotional distance my "western privilege" affords me ends and the weighty Jewish generational trauma begins.
There are 15 million Jews worldwide. This is 0.2% of the world population. Before the Holocaust, a short 75 years ago, the world Jewish population was 16.6 million people. We still haven't, nor can we ever, make up for all of those lives lost. It wasn't "just" 6 million Jews that died in the Holocaust, it was their descendants.
Yet, now in rallies across the world, we hear calls for the genocide of the Jewish people. The word "genocide" was introduced into the English language by writer Raphael Lemkin to specifically describe the Holocaust because there was no word existed to accurately underscore the horrors that the Jewish people suffered.
After the Holocaust, we said “Never again,” but the Jewish community sees the writing on the wall … again: propaganda that vilifies the Jewish people and Israel; marking and vandalizing Jewish homes and businesses; violence against – and even murder of – community members because they are Jewish.
I take pride in my ability to "walk and chew gum." I am both Pro-Israel and Pro-Palestinian. Most, if not all, Jewish people I know are. We want a safe and secure Israel, free from barrages of rockets, suicide bombings, and missile attacks. We also want a Palestinian State that gives the Palestinian people their dignity and right to self-determination. That is why, in 2005, one of Israel's politically right-leaning Prime Ministers, Ariel Sharon, disengaged Gaza, moved hundreds of thousands of Jews out of their homes, and handed the Palestinians the proverbial “keys.” Gaza was theirs to make of it what they wanted. Israel left Gaza with millions of dollars worth of greenhouses that produced food, homes, and fields fully intact. All were burned to the ground by Palestinian extremists.
Hamas, a terrorist organization, was elected in 2006. Another election has not been held since.
In order for the innocent Palestinians living in Gaza to live the life they deserve, Hamas must be eradicated. Palestinian suffering is at the hands of Hamas, whether directly or as a result of their terrorism against Israel. There is no real chance of ever living in peace as long as Hamas is in control.
The first step: Give the hostages back to Israel. Holding babies, mothers, fathers, and Holocaust survivors will not help create a Palestinian State. It will not broker peace. It will cost many lives on both sides, and it is a tragedy.
For Israel and all of her citizens, including some two million Israeli Arabs, this is life or death. Hamas’s sole purpose is to destroy the Jews and Israel as a Jewish State — it’s clearly stated in their charter. By firing rockets from schools, hospitals and mosques, Hamas purposefully sacrifices the lives of their innocent civilians, using them as human shields. This strategically supports their goal of maximum civilian casualties (yes, even on their side), strengthening their propaganda that paints Israel as the "oppressor."
Imagine your local school, hospital or house of prayer being used as a rocket launching pad — putting you and your loved ones directly in harm's way. Imagine terror tunnels under your home, built using the billions of dollars worth of humanitarian aid intended for your family and community to be able to survive. Tunnels that protect terrorists and their artillery, directly underneath the home where your children eat, sleep, and play. It is very likely that Hamas is holding their hostages in these very sophisticated tunnels while Gazans are suffering immensely above them.
We know that Hamas does not care about the suffering of the Palestinians, because if they did, they would release the hostages. That is what everyone should be calling for right now.
— Alayne Sulkin, ParentMap CEO and publisher