Sept. 11, 2001, was the most horrific day in our nation’s history, creating images that will forever remain in our consciousness. President George W. Bush quickly responded by announcing that our nation’s military would decimate al Qaeda and make sure such an attack would never happen again on our soil. Americans from all walks of life united in support of our nation and the service members who would deliver justice.
But what if instead of coming together, tens of thousands of Americans flooded the streets to protest the response for America to defend itself? What if Americans aggressively demanded an immediate cease-fire and blamed America’s foreign policy as the cause of the terrorist attack, called our service members the real terrorists and chanted for the destruction of America?
That hypothetical reaction seems patently absurd, twisted and implausible. But take a step back, and you’ll see it is exactly what is going on right now. This is the reaction we are seeing from far too many Americans in the aftermath of Hamas’ savage murder of more than 1,400 innocent Israelis, the most Jews killed in one day since the Holocaust.
Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets to demand a cease-fire. My office has received hundreds of calls from my constituents similarly calling for a cease-fire, with many reading from a script.
I believe those calling for a cease-fire fit into one of two distinct groups: the well-intended but naïve, and the hateful.
Most Americans calling for a cease-fire are sincere in not wanting to see more innocent civilians lose their lives. This is a fair position; however, it is not a realistic one, especially if the end goal is to truly save lives and end the cycle of violence in the Middle East.
The only way a cease-fire could ever work is if Hamas safely returns every single hostage, surrenders and surrenders its arsenal of weapons. Hamas has made it clear that is not going to happen.
Simply put, you cannot have a cease-fire with a terrorist organization like Hamas. Nothing they say or do can be trusted. They have shown themselves to be a murderous gang of zealots who brutally slaughtered more than 1,400 Israelis in cold blood and abducted hundreds of others to keep as hostages. Hamas leaders have gone on television to announce the attack on Oct. 7 is only the beginning.
Hamas is also unspeakably cruel to the Palestinians it claims to represent. Hamas stole the money and assistance that was supposed to help feed, educate and care for Palestinians. Instead, Hamas spent that money to purchase weapons, build underground tunnels and support its terrorist operations. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip live in abject poverty while Hamas’ leaders live in five-star luxury hotels in Qatar.
Unlike Hamas, which purposely seeks out and murders innocent civilians, Israel does its best to mitigate civilian causalities and protect innocent life. Unfortunately, that effort is made significantly more difficult because Hamas disgustingly uses Palestinians as human shields and even warned Palestinians not to follow warnings from Israeli officials to evacuate North Gaza as Israeli troops were preparing to move in.
If you’re an American who has voiced support for a cease-fire because you don’t want to see more bloodshed, I hope you can appreciate the fact it’s not simple or feasible.
The only alternative is for Israel to destroy Hamas, which not only frees Israelis from the constant fear of terror attacks but also frees Palestinians from the regime of corruption, tyranny and death that has governed the Gaza Strip since Hamas took power in 2007. Destroying Hamas also opens the door again for a two-state solution and a lasting peace.
When it comes to the other group of Americans who are demanding a cease-fire from a place of hate, this kind of logic doesn’t apply.
They don’t care about Israeli lives or Jewish lives. Forget about believing that Israel doesn’t have a right to defend itself – they don’t even believe Israel has a right to exist.
In recent weeks, we have seen a concerted attempt by this group to normalize antisemitism in America.
Protests have erupted on college campuses justifying the slaughter of innocent Israelis and glorifying Hamas. With weak and delayed reactions from college administrators, it’s understandable why many Jewish students don’t feel safe in their own dormitories anymore.
We have seen countless videos of people who harbor deep resentment toward Israel and Jews angrily tearing down posters that show the faces and share the stories of innocent Americans and Israelis taken hostage by Hamas.
While this group may be small, it is amplified by powerful voices like those of Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who has exploited this crisis to promote her outlandish conspiracy theories and antisemitism.
Tlaib committed blood libel by falsely accusing Israel of striking a hospital, fueling the fire at the same time Jews across the world were under siege and Israel’s embassies in the Middle East were being attacked.
When confronted with American intelligence that showed it was a pro-Hamas terrorist, not Israel, that accidentally hit the hospital, she doubled down on her lies and refused to retract them.
Tlaib has also outrageously and falsely accused President Biden of supporting genocide because he supports Israel’s right to exist and defend itself.
And Tlaib has made it a habit to proudly utter the slogan, "From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free." She has the audacity to claim it’s "an aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence."
In reality, "From the River to the Sea" is a call to violently establish a Palestinian state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, which would mean the end of Israel and its people.
Tlaib is well aware of what it really means. She knows it is hateful and antisemitic. She knows it is often chanted by Hamas terrorists. And it is completely intentional.
Moving forward, we cannot allow these radical voices to succeed in their attempt to normalize antisemitism in America. Those Americans who insist on speaking out in support of a ceasefire have a right to do so, but they also have a moral obligation to unequivocally condemn the atrocities committed by Hamas and the antisemitism being spewed by those seeking to co-opt this conflict to spread hate.
The only two nations in recent history that have consistently welcomed Jews and provided them with a safe home are Israel and the United States. The only way that can be preserved is by destroying Hamas and rooting out antisemitism here at home. Throughout history, we have seen the tragic consequences of what happens when antisemitism is allowed to metastasize. It can never happen again.