J Street U Alarmed by the Excusing of Hamas War Crimes, Dehumanization of Israelis and Palestinians

October 11, 2023

In the midst of our shock and grief, J Street U is deeply saddened and angered by attempts to justify, excuse, or ignore Hamas’s horrific crimes against Israeli civilians, which respected Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard, a long-standing advocate for the human rights of both Israelis and Palestinians, has accurately deemed “a crime against humanity.”

We are particularly alarmed and appalled by the rhetoric adopted and promoted by Students for Justice in Palestine as part of their planned “Day of Resistance” on college campuses, which effectively celebrates the Hamas onslaught against Israel while refusing to even acknowledge the terror group’s brutal killing of hundreds of Israeli civilians, or their kidnapping of dozens of civilian hostages.

We are also appalled by attempts to use Hamas’ crimes as an excuse to make hateful, racist generalizations against and about the entire Palestinian people, or to promote wanton, retaliatory violence against civilians.

We are guided by our belief that both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, like all people — regardless of race, religion, or national identity — have the innate right to live with freedom, dignity, equality and safety. We detest oppression and hate in all its forms and believe that our struggle for peace is strongest when we stand in solidarity with all those facing discrimination and brutality.

All those who believe in justice for all must be fully capable of rejecting and unequivocally condemning Hamas’s horrific attack on Israel, while also supporting a peaceful resolution to the many decades of Israeli-Palestinian conflict and an urgent end to the ongoing occupation of Palestinian Territory. We must also be able to express our fears for the lives of millions of innocent civilians in Gaza, caught in the crossfire of Israeli airstrikes and facing a devastating siege that cuts off electricity, gas, water and food.

We must recognize that the interests, safety and basic rights of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples are intertwined, and struggle for a solution that guarantees true freedom and self-determination for both peoples. At J Street U, we are committed to continuing that work, even amidst grief and in the face of horror, now more than ever.