Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”
Over the Shabbat and Simchat Torah holiday, Hamas terrorists launched an unexpected and multi-faceted attack against Israeli towns and civilians. Thousands of rockets and dozens of incursions from land, air, and sea caused the highest Jewish civilian death toll since the Holocaust.
We must name this for what it is: a terrorist attack against Israel and Jewish people. The United States has never accepted terrorism and we must be united in our stance against terrorist actions now. I unequivocally condemn the acts of violence by Hamas and its allies, which have caused immense suffering and destabilization.
Violence tragically begets more violence. We know from data collected by the Anti-Defamation League that antisemitic incidents increased sharply during the Israel-Hamas conflict. There is no place for hate in Tacoma or in Israel, and we must stand against antisemitism in all forms.
As President Joe Biden said, “All of us recognize the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, and support equal measures of justice and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians alike. But make no mistake: Hamas does not represent those aspirations, and it offers nothing for the Palestinian people other than more terror and bloodshed.”
President Biden also noted, “We must not lose sight of the fact that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do with Hamas’s appalling attacks, and are suffering as a result of them.”
No matter what happens abroad, I am committed to Tacoma remaining a Welcoming City. Ultimately, it is our care for one another that makes our community strong. I stand with all Tacoma residents, including those of all faiths and those of both Jewish and Palestinian descent, who are living in peace and extending neighborly kindness to one another.
As Rabbi Keren Gorban from Temple Beth El shared in her message to our congregation, “I close with words from the Psalmist: יי עוֹז לְעַמּוֹ יִתֵּן, יי יְבָרֵךְ אֶת־עַמּוֹ בַשָּׁלוֹם Adonai oz l’amo yitein. Adonai y’vareich et amo vashalom. May God give strength to the people. May God bless the people with peace.”