Elie Wiesel famously wrote, “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
For many years, when it came to Israel, too many were silent. Part of it was fear, part of it might have been economic, part of it might have been simple ignorance.
What happened on Oct. 7 should lay all that to rest.
The bloody pogrom unleashed by Hamas tortured and then killed members of families in front of each other, beheaded and burned babies, raped and kidnapped women, children and old ladies and butchered young men and women who just wanted to enjoy a music festival.
No one can claim that they have not seen and do not understand.
Social media is rife with these haunting and difficult but necessary images. Media outlets around the world are showing them in all their horrifying detail, or at least enough to know that Israel’s enemies act with a nature not witnessed in the animal world. Animals kill to eat and protect, not for the pure pleasure of it.
The monsters who perpetrated these crimes against humanity and nature must be stopped. They, those who organized and sent them, and those who celebrated the butchery are the enemies of mankind. This is evil and it must be fought.
Those of us in the Diaspora and around the world who are outside the physical fight must think long and hard about what we can do to ensure that these crimes are punished appropriately until the State of Israel wins this war and its people can sleep peacefully and securely once again.
It might not be fashionable in some quarters to talk like this anymore, but Israel is fighting pure evil.
To those who might retort that this language belongs to another era, I would argue that these murderous and medieval massacres belong to another era as well. Unfortunately for all of us, much of humanity may have developed and progressed, but it is clear there are many of us who have not.
To stop this evil, we are called to arms. The images and the cries of the Israeli families who have lost loved ones serve as our enlistment papers. We Jews of the Diaspora must fight alongside our brothers and sisters in Israel. Our weapons will be our keyboards, our phones and our voices.
Advocacy is influence. We can advocate publicly and privately, as part of an organization or as individuals. For example, we must contact local, state and federal representatives about funding to schools and universities that support and promote such antisemitic slaughter. This is not the 1930s. We have influence. We must use it.
We must call out any and every decision-maker, opinion-shaper, public figure, NGO or organization that is silent on this massacre. They must understand that silence is no longer an option.
Those who have expressed support for the Palestinians and Gaza but not for Israel and its victims must be named and shamed. They like to think they are humane. They are not. They are mendaciously cloaking their evil ideology in the language of humanitarianism.
Those who think they can explain away these massacres as a response to something betray their lack of humanity. These murderers were not people trying to be free. They were people who took pleasure in seeing innocent people suffer because of the murderers’ pure, unadulterated hate.
Most importantly, we must investigate the organizations and corporations that, wittingly or unwittingly, have helped fund mass murder. Many NGOs and businesses all over the world have financial ties to Iran and Qatar, whose money helped plan and execute the pogrom. The blood of innocents is on their hands and they must be held accountable.
We should be compiling lists. The names on them must become synonymous with murder and bloodshed until they divest any financial ties from any countries or entities connected with Hamas and other equally evil terrorist groups.
These are just some of the actions we can take.
This advocacy should extend far beyond the Jewish community. Jews are always on the front lines of supporting and showing solidarity with every oppressed or marginalized group or community. For too long we have accepted that this is an unequal and unfair relationship. This isn’t good enough anymore. We need our allies to show up. This is their time as well as ours.
Hamas and their allies know the power of the media and public opinion. They are already trying to lie and do damage control. This is where we come in. We must fight back.
Everyone must pick a side—good or evil. No one is permitted to sit on the fence. Silence is not an option, because, as Weisel wrote, it encourages the tormentor.
This is the time to act.