Guest columnist Adin Maynard: American Jews must speak out against the bombing of innocents

Palestinians evacuate wounded in Israeli bombardment of Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023.

Palestinians evacuate wounded in Israeli bombardment of Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. AP PHOTO/HATEM ALI

By ADIN MAYNARD

Published: 10-19-2023 1:50 PM

The Israeli bombing of Gaza is indeed an attack on the Palestinian people, a diaspora, not only on Hamas. The bombing and restricting of water, food, medicine is an attack on life itself — it is an evil unto a stateless imprisoned people, including a million children. Toilets don’t flush, literally no where is safe. Gaza is a ghetto inflicted by the terror of modern warfare. What happens when disease spreads rampant in the coming days? When treatable injured lie dead in hospitals that are with no power or water. What happens when the dead children number in the thousands? Will it be enough then? Who will be responsible for those deaths?

My late grandfather, Joseph Shadur escaped the Nazis by the skin of his teeth. A story so harrowing that he published a book about his family’s escape. A Jew lucky to be here, I cannot stomach the acceptance and support of the American Jewish community for the pummeling of Gaza. If you have been too sad to watch, I will tell you there have been countless innocent lives lost. The images are out there. The dead are primarily civilians, not terrorists, not Hamas. Over 1,200 children have been slaughtered, a million people displaced.

The path to ousting Hamas is to give the Palestinian people hope, purpose, and a reason for living with compassion for their Israeli neighbors. When pressed, my grandfather said this is the only path to peace. It is how love wins against evil. Evil can flatten every home, but only love will give a child a purpose to live, a people a chance to thrive, and the resolve to select leaders that make space for one’s enemy to survive.

By American Jews justifying the ruthless actions by the Israel military, we are, as a community, forgetting the persecution of our grandparents. Standing by silent, as Palestinians are bombed with basic services deprived, is perpetuating a cycle of genocide. That word sits heavily. Genocide means the deliberate killing of a large number of people of a particular ethnic group, with the aim of destroying that group. It is becoming clear that we have not learned from the pain of the Holocaust, that perpetuating killing against a peoples is not the last straw, genocidal actions can still be justified from within governments and perpetuated by silent bystanders.

As American Jews, we must talk about it; we don’t hide from it. Of course it’s complicated. But we must shout “NO!” There is no room for mass killing of innocent people in the name of our people. We must turn anger into a political movement; the U.S. can demand the end of the bombing, as much of the world has. We must talk about this in synagogue, at the shabbat dinner table. We must be honest of the parallels with our own history as the oppressed. We don’t turn away from evil when we have an important voice to counter it. “Never Again” ... means “Never Again For Anyone.”

Adin Maynard lives in Williamsburg.

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