Do Not Condemn Hamas!

This is probably the last thing you would expect someone like me to say. I’m an Israeli living in a small town 15 minutes south of Jerusalem. I am married with 8 kids, and three of our sons are currently serving in the Israeli army, two of them as reservists. But I actually mean it. I don’t want you to condemn Hamas.

On October 7th the Jewish people suffered the worst horror of my lifetime. We were transported back to the darkest times in our history. I was reminded of Savta Gitta, my wife’s maternal grandmother who told us of her being ruthlessly stuffed into a cattle car packed with Jews in Budapest and taken to the death camp of Birkenau where the majority of the people who survived the journey with her, were soon murdered.

For centuries Jews have suffered antisemitism and hate. In the modern age, one of the most powerful weapons of our enemies has been dishonesty and hypocrisy. We have often had no way to know who, as my friend and well-known peace advocate Daniel Lubetzky recently put it, are the builders versus who are the destroyers.

On many US college campuses large numbers of students have joined clubs who ostensibly support Palestinians in their struggle for a better future. But when the moment of truth came – we found out that even more important than the welfare of Palestinian citizens is the vicious killing of Jews. We saw many of these students march and sign petitions stating that Israel was completely at fault for Hamas’s heinous atrocities toward them. These students are smart enough to realize that “from the river to the sea…” has exactly one meaning – destroying the Jewish state.

But we already knew that much of the support around the world for Palestinians is really just antisemitism. Why else would the LGBTQ community automatically and fully support a terrorist regime who has no tolerance for gays and lesbians? Why do these Palestinian supporting students not protest Hamas who by all accounts spends more resources on arming itself and building terror infrastructure, than on building schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure for the Palestinians who elected them?

I haven’t been able to focus on anything but the war since it began. I worry about my family, particularly my 3 soldiers. I am concerned about my 55 employees and their families. Israel’s future. The future of mankind.

If only people could see things from a different perspective – they would get it.

That’s what I thought. A few months ago I bought several books on how national narratives change. What I learned is that great arguments and logic won’t help. These people are not short on facts. National narratives most often change through new visionary leadership or through game-changing events – often decisive wars.

But that didn’t stop me last week from joining a Facebook group called “We are Palestinians” and then spending hours sharing my perspective. “Torturing children as you murder them in their homes is not the same as when civilians die during a targeted Israeli attack on a terrorist leader….” I created a chart of the most densely populated territories in the world to show that Macau and Singapore rank higher than Gaza – and that dense population does not equal poverty. But I don’t think anyone was particularly convinced or that anyone updated their opinions.

I wanted everyone to condemn Hamas.

Because in my nation’s narrative the heinous crimes of Hamas are never justified. We would give our lives before torturing children. Period. Our enemies see this as weakness. Israel treats Gazan children in our hospitals, we employ their citizens, etc. We are doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. We are transparent about our goals and our disagreements.

It’s no secret that most Israelis desperately want to live in peace. So much so, that many of us wanted to believe that we were on that path. Sure, the Hamas charter states clearly, Hamas exists to violently destroy Israel, but c’mon… And we foolishly want to believe that the Palestinian Authority is different, even though every PA leader interviewed over the past 2 weeks has given Hamas their high praise.

I was wrong and I have changed my thinking. Yes, I believe that anyone who doesn’t actively condemn Hamas and instead grants them aid and comfort, is complicit in their terrorism.

The only real choice is to destroy Hamas, or effectively join their cause.

But right now is a rare moment of clarity.

People and nations are showing their true colors and rather than call them out, I think we need to pay attention and then thank them for their honesty. And take copious notes.

If you are a nation or leader who believes that there is context and that Hamas’s heinous actions are in some way understandable – please don’t take back your words. I mean it. We need to understand where you stand.

If you are a student leader who blames Israel for Hamas’s well-planned campaign of murdering Jews, I say, double down on your antisemitism, add that to your LinkedIn profile, and list that after your preferred pronouns in your emails. Bill Ackman is thinking smart.

The future of humanity rests on knowing where we all stand.

Let’s stop asking people to decry terrorism.

And let’s stop announcing that we have the right to defend ourselves.

Anyone who needs to hear this isn’t going to be convinced by our saying it.

If you believe terrorism is a threat to our world you should condemn Hamas vocally.

But if your hatred of Jews (or Christians, or gays, etc.) is greater, please don’t condemn Hamas.