Statement on Behalf of Israel-based Progressives and Peace Activists – 16 October 2023

Regarding Debates over Recent Events in Our Region:

We, Israel-based academics, thought leaders and progressive activists committed to peace, equality, justice, and human rights, are deeply pained and shocked by the recent events in our region. We are also deeply concerned by the inadequate response from certain American and European progressives regarding the targeting of Israeli civilians by Hamas, a response which reflects a disturbing trend in the global left’s political culture.
On October 7, 2023, Hamas launched an unprecedented attack that included mass murder of innocent civilians in their homes, indiscriminate violence towards women, the elderly, and children, and mass kidnappings of Israeli citizens. Entire families were wiped out in this carnage, whole communities were reduced to ashes, bodies were maimed, infants were massacred. It is impossible to overstate the damage caused by these events, both on a personal and a collective level. The traumatizing events of that Saturday in October will leave a lasting mark on our hearts and memories.
As expected, in response to Hamas’s actions, the State of Israel launched a massive military operation in Gaza.
We still cannot estimate the death toll of these attacks, but it is likely to be higher than anything we have witnessed heretofore. This cycle of aggression severely undermines our long-standing struggle against oppression and violence and in pursuit of full rights and equality for all residents of Israel-Palestine. At this moment, more than ever, we need support and solidarity from the global left, in the form of an unequivocal call against indiscriminate violence towards civilians on both sides.
Many of our peers worldwide have expressed strong opposition to Hamas’s attack and have offered unambiguous support for its victims. Prominent voices in the Arab world, too, have made it clear that there is no justification for sadistic murder of innocent people. However, to our dismay, some elements within the global left, individuals who were, until now, our political partners, have reacted with indifference to these horrific events and sometimes even justified Hamas’s actions. Some have refused to condemn the violence, claiming that outsiders have no right to judge the actions of the oppressed. Others have downplayed the suffering and trauma, arguing that Israeli society brought this tragedy upon itself. Yet others have shielded themselves from the moral shock through historical comparisons and rationalization. And there are even those – no small number – for whom the darkest day in our society’s history was a cause for celebration.
This array of responses surprised us. We never imagined that individuals on the left, advocates of equality, freedom, justice, and welfare, would reveal such extreme moral insensitivity and political recklessness.
Let us be clear: Hamas is a theocratic and repressive organization that vehemently opposes the attempt to promote peace and equality in the Middle East. Its core commitments are fundamentally inconsistent with progressive principles, and thus the inclination of certain leftists to react affirmatively to its actions is utterly absurd. Moreover, there is no justification for shooting civilians in their homes; no rationalization for the murder of children in front of their parents; no reasoning for the persecution and execution of partygoers.
Legitimizing or excusing these actions amounts to a betrayal of the fundamental principles of left-wing politics.
We emphasize: there is no contradiction between staunchly opposing the Israeli subjugation and occupation of Palestinians and unequivocally condemning brutal acts of violence against innocent civilians. In fact, every consistent leftist must hold both positions simultaneously.
The seventh of October is a dark day in the history of Israel-Palestine and the lives of the peoples of this region.
Those who refuse to condemn Hamas’s actions do immense damage to the prospects of peace becoming a viable, relevant political option. They weaken the left’s ability to present a positive social and political horizon, turning it into an extreme, narrow, and alienating political force. We call on our peers on the left to return to a politics based on humanistic and universal principles, to take a clear stance against human rights abuse of any form, and to assist us in the struggle to break the cycle of violence and destruction.

פרופ’ אביעד קליינברג, Prof. Aviad Kleinberg, President of the Ruppin Academic Center
אבירמה גולן, Avirama Golan, author and journalist
אבתיסאםמראענה, Ibtisam Mara’ana, Former MK, Labor Party
אדם רז, Adam Raz, Historian, Human rights activist
פרופ’ אווה אילוז, Prof. Eva Illouz, Directrice d’études EHESS Paris, Membre of Institute for Israeli Thought
ד”ר אופק בירנהולץ, Dr. Ofek Birnholtz, Bar Ilan University
אורטל בן דיין, Ortal Ben Dayan, Social Activist
אורי בן דב, Ori Ben Dov, Social Activist
אורי וולטמן, Uri Weltmann, National Field Organizer – Standing Together
אורי קול, Ori Kol, Social Entrepreneur
ד”ר אורית סוניה ויסמן, Dr. Orit Sônia Waisman, David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem
אילון טוהר, Eilon Tohar, Social Activist
איריס לעאל, Iris Leal, Author
אלון-לי גרין, Alon-Lee Green, National Co-Director of Standing Together
ד”ר אלי קוק, Dr. Eli Cook, Head of the General History Department, Haifa University
ד”ר אלמוג כשר, Dr. Almog Kasher, Bar Ilan University
פרופ’ ארנה בן-נפתלי, Prof. Orna Ben-Naftali, the College of Management Law Faculty and the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
ג’וש דריל, Josh Drill, Social Activist
גדיר האני, Ghadir Hani, peace activist, Standing Together
פרופ’ גילה סטופלר, Prof. Gila Stopler, Faculty of Law, College of Law and Business
פרופ׳ גליה צבר, Prof. Galia Sabar, Tel Aviv University. Former President of Ruppin College
ד”ר דב חנין, Dr. Dov Khenin, Former MK, Hadash, Tel Aviv University
דויד גרוסמן, David Grossman, author
דורית הדר פרסקי, Dorit Hadar Persky, M.A teacher for special education, David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem
פרופ’ דני גוטוויין, Prof. Danny Gutwein, Haifa University
פרופ׳ דני פילק, Prof. Dani Filc, MD PhD, Standing Together
ד”ר הדר גל, Dr. Hagar Gal, David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem
ורד ליבנה, Vered Livne, former Director General of The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and leadership member of Standing Together
טלב א-סאנע, Taleb el-Sana, Former MK, Arab Democratic Party, Head of High Committee for Arab Citizens of the Negev
יואב הראבן, Yoav Hareven, leadership member of Standing Together
פרופ’ יואב גולדברג, Prof. Yoav Goldberg, Bar-Ilan University
פרופ’יונתן רובין, Prof. Jonathan Rubin, Bar Ilan University
יוסי סוכרי, Yossi Sucary, Author
ד”ריופי תירוש, Dr. Yofi Tirosh, Tel Aviv University
פרופ’ יעל השילוני-דולב, Prof. Yael Hashiloni-Dolev, Ben-Gurion University, Sociology and Anthropology Department
ד”ריעל שטרנהל, Dr. Yael Sternhell, Tel Aviv University,
ד״ר יפתח גולדמן, Dr. Yiftah Goldman, David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem
ד”ר כרמל שלו, Dr. Carmel Shalev, Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University
ד”רליסה קינן, Dr. Lisa Kainan, David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem
פרופ’ מאיר יעיש, Prof. Meir Yaish, Haifa University,
מוסי רז, Mossi Raz, former MK, Meretz
ד”ר מיטל פינטו, Dr. Meital Pinto, Zefat Academic College, Ono Academic College
מיטל פלג מזרחי, Meital Peleg Mizrachi, Postdoctoral fellow at Yale University, environmental justice researcher
מיקיגיצין, Mickey Gitzin, New Israel Fund, Executive Director in Israel
ד”רמירי לביא נאמן, Dr. Miri Lavi Neeman, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies
נדב ביגלמן, Nadav Bigelman, Social Activist, member of Standing Together
פרופ’ נעם זהר, Prof. Noam Zohar, Bar Ilan Univesity
ניב מאירסון, Niv Meyerson, Social and environmental justice activist
סאלי עבד, Sally Abed, Member of national leadership, Standing Together
ד”ר עדי מכמל, Dr. Adi Makmal, Engineering Faculty, Bar-Ilan Uni. Israel
עודה באשארת, Odeh Bisharat, Writer
פרופ’ עירן דורפמן, Prof. Eran Dorfman, Literature Department, Tel Aviv University
פרופ’עמית שכטר, Prof. Amit Schejter, department of communication studies, Ben-Gurion University, chairman of ACRI
ד”ר ענת הרבסט-דבי, Dr. Anat Herbst-Debby, The Gender Studies program, Bar-Ilan University
ד”ר עפרי אילני, Dr. Ofri Ilany, Van Leer Institute, historian and journalist
ערן ניסן, Eran Nissan, Mehazkim, CEO
צליל רובינשטיין, Tzlil Rubinshtein, Social Activist
רן היילברון, Ran Heilbrunn, Writer
ד”ר רונית דוניץ-קידר, Dr. Ronit Donyets Kedar, College of Law and Business
פרופ’ רות הלפרין-קדרי, Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Bar-Ilan University Faculty fo Law
ד”ררפאל זגורי-אורלי, Dr. Raphael Zagury-Orly, Institut Catholique de Paris
ד”רשלומית אהרוני ליר, Dr. Shlomit Aharoni Lir, Bar Ilan University
פרופ’ שרון ערמון-לוטם, Prof. Sharon Armon-Lotem, Bar-Ilan University
תום יגיל, Tom Yagil, Social and Environmental Justice Activist
ד”רתמר אשר שי, Dr. Tamar Ascher Shai, David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem