Wire

Hadassah launches campaign to demand accountability of Hamas’s use of sexual violence

“Rape should never be sanctioned as an act of war,” said Hadassah national president Carol Ann Schwartz.

Demonstrators protest against Hamas's sexual violence against women during the Oct. 7 massacre, outside U.N. headquarters in New York, Dec. 4, 2023. Credit: Yakov Binyamin/Flash90.
Demonstrators protest against Hamas's sexual violence against women during the Oct. 7 massacre, outside U.N. headquarters in New York, Dec. 4, 2023. Credit: Yakov Binyamin/Flash90.

Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America—the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States and one with an international network of supporters—has launched “End The Silence,” a global campaign to unite people all over the world in speaking out against the weaponization of sexual violence by Hamas in Israel and by others around the globe.

“As leaders of a humanitarian organization, we at Hadassah are shaken to the core by the horrific evidence of how Hamas used rape and other acts of brutal sexual violence during its Oct. 7 attack on Israel. And we are outraged that these war crimes have been ‘justified,’ denied and even celebrated by some,” said Hadassah national president Carol Ann Schwartz.

“Rape should never be sanctioned as an act of war,” she said.That is why we are bringing together Hadassah’s hundreds of thousands of passionate volunteers and leaders from across the world—to end the silence, to speak out, to raise awareness and, critically, to demand justice.”

The international community’s silence in the face of irrefutable evidence of Hamas’s savage war crimes legitimizes rape and the use of rape as a weapon of war. Hadassah’s campaign will focus the world’s attention on the gruesome reality that Hamas planned and systematically carried out acts of sexual violence against women and girls in Israel. The campaign will ensure that people everywhere not only hear the truth but have the facts they need to counter misinformation, including attempts to justify these actions or deny they happened.

The campaign is mobilizing grassroots leaders in 14 countries to demand that U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres advance an unbiased, independent and thorough U.N. investigation, in addition to pursuing vigorous prosecution of Hamas for these war crimes.

Hadassah will post videos and calls to action on the “End The Silence” website and on social media. Its more than 800 chapters across the United States will join the organization’s leaders around the world in taking up the challenge in their communities by organizing events, rallies and other advocacy activities.

The campaign builds on actions that have already been taken by Hadassah’s grassroots and leadership, including calling on international organizations to denounce Hamas’s use of rape as a weapon of war; leading 60 organizations to send a letter to the United Nations demanding an impartial investigation of Hamas; and urging congressional leaders to speak out.

Learn more about the campaign: www.hadassah.org/endthesilence.

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Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States. With nearly 300,000 members, donors and supporters, it brings women together to effect change in ensuring Israel’s security, combating antisemitism and promoting women’s health care, among other critical issues. Through its Jerusalem-based hospital system—the Hadassah Medical Organization—it helps support exemplary care for more than 1 million people every year, as well as world-renowned medical research. Hadassah’s hospitals serve without regard to race, religion or nationality, and in 2005 earned a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for building bridges to peace through medicine. Hadassah also supports two youth villages that assist at-risk youth in Israel. Visit: www.hadassah.org.
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