The depraved and barbaric murder, rape and kidnapping of innocent children, women and men by Hamas on Oct. 7 will remain a blot on the history of humanity for eternity.
Unfortunately, since the massacre, the reaction of civilized society has also been such a blot. There have been a few bright spots, but the global response has been overwhelmingly troubling, disheartening and often simply dreadful.
The betrayal of the Jewish people by three elite university presidents last week was the final straw. The fact that Claudine Gay of Harvard, Sally Kornbluth of MIT and Elizabeth Magill of the University of Pennsylvania could not simply say “yes” to Rep. Elise Stefanik’s question as to whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” violates the schools’ codes of conduct or constitutes “bullying or harassment” was beyond the pale.
Magill has already resigned. The other two should do the same. They are a reflection of the moral nadir to which much of society has sunk. At a time when antisemitism in the U.S. has risen by orders of magnitude, the three presidents’ equivocation on the softest of “softball” questions cannot but embolden antisemites around the world.
Elie Wiesel’s statement rings truer than ever: “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.” The presidents of every university should learn this lesson.
Campuses and universities are not the only ones to totally abdicate their responsibilities. The Red Cross has also been an extraordinary failure. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has not been allowed to visit a single one of the hostages taken by Hamas on Oct. 7. This does not appear to bother them, as they have made no demands to do so. This dereliction of duty comes from the most powerful relief organization in the world, budgeted at $3 billion. The Geneva Convention and international law give the Red Cross enforcement powers, but they have thus far refused to use them. This recalls their failure to visit concentration camps during the Holocaust. Had they demanded to do so, countless lives could have been saved.
On another front, the authorities’ inability to crack down on roving antisemitic mobs, whether at Hillcrest High School, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or during various bridge closures in New York City, is encouraging further bad behavior. The French, to their credit, have prevented such actions from the beginning. America must do the same.
Amidst all this darkness, Israel has been a shining light. After suffering the worst single day in its 75-year history, it remains a beacon of hope. Also heartening is that Jews the world over have come together in ways I have never seen in my lifetime and the outpouring of support from many Christians has been incredible. This is a fight for civilization and the soul of humanity. I believe with perfect faith that good will defeat evil. There is no other choice.