Taking Action in the Rise of Anti-Israel Beliefs

Warning: This message contains graphic content.

 

A few weeks ago, I spoke at the first County Council meeting where a resolution for a unilateral ceasefire was discussed (and ultimately defeated at a second meeting). I was stunned to hear some of the speakers “from the other side” say that there is no proof that Hamas conducted beheadings, burned people’s bodies, killed children and committed disgusting sexual acts. It was beyond disturbing to hear such falsehoods which I don’t believe come from a place of naivete, but from a pure hatred of Israel.

Last night, the Federation partnered with the Israel Consulate for an “invitation only” viewing of the raw footage collected on October 7. We deliberately targeted invitations to media, elected officials, civic and corporate leaders. It was not intended for the Jewish community. Special thanks to our friends and colleagues from JFCS who served as emotional supports for all of us during and after the traumatic 45 minutes of video and audio.

I have traveled to Israel twice since Hamas attacked on October 7. On my most recent visit in February, I visited the site of the Supernova Music Festival at Kibbutz Reim. The photos I saw on display at Kibbutz Reim of all 364 people killed became even more real last night as some of the raw footage was of the actual murders and the aftermath with dead bodies everywhere. As jarring as the torture and killings, the video we watched showed Hamas terrorists expressing feelings of pure joy and jubilation while killing Jews. As an example, we heard a phone call from a young, male terrorist, using the phone of an Israeli he killed, to call his own parents in Gaza to celebrate the fact that he had single-handedly killed ten Jews. Can you imagine?

The footage was pieced together from Hamas terrorist body cameras, social media posts, Israeli traffic cameras and Israeli home/auto cameras and can’t be shared widely out of respect to the families directly affected, so I feel a deep obligation to redouble my efforts to make sure the world stands by Israel and squashes the absurd, antisemitic, disgusting deniers, like I saw at County Council.

I am so proud of what we as a Federation have done since October 7 to stand with Israel. We have raised over $7.6 million, on top of our critical Community Campaign, to give direct financial support to the people of Israel. We have held rallies. We have produced “We Stand With Israel” yard signs, some of which were vandalized this past week. We have conducted advocacy with elected officials (in fact, I was in DC this past week). We amped up our security locally because of the rise in antisemitic actions. And, in June, we are providing an opportunity for members of our community to bear witness as part of our Solidarity Mission to Israel from June 18-23. Israelis want us to visit so we can return home to better tell the story.

We can’t be silent.

Shabbat Shalom. Am Yisrael Chai!

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