It is with a heavy heart that we, a concerned group of Jewish students from all class years, write to you about the horrors taking place in Israel and Gaza. We condemn the atrocities committed by Hamas against Israelis. We denounce the violence against civilian Palestinians. We mourn all innocent civilian lives lost.
On Oct. 7, the attack by Hamas on Israel killed the most Jews in a single day since the Holocaust, an event that remains an open wound and source of trauma in the hearts and minds of Jews. In Israel, our friends and family have been murdered, raped, tortured and taken hostage. We are in pain. We are grieving.
The lack of support for Jewish students here on campus is chilling, disappointing, and yet, unsurprising. Many of our campus siblings failed to condemn the violent, inhumane acts committed by Hamas, a US- and UN-recognized terrorist organization whose original charter explicitly calls for the death of all Jews worldwide.
Hamas has spent millions of dollars, stolen from aid meant for Palestinian civilians, in pursuit of these goals rather than building supportive infrastructure. With the amount of money that was used to build just one tunnel into Israel, Hamas could have constructed “96 homes, seven mosques, six schools or 19 medical clinics.” Many Hamas leaders live in luxury while Palestinians suffer in poverty and are crippled by taxes imposed by Hamas.
Recently, campus flyers declared “glory to the martyrs,” and students chanted “resistance is justified” at a protest on campus. Celebrating terrorists who die with the mission of murdering all Jews is antisemitic. A common phrase used by Palestinian resistance groups, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free,” calls for total Palestinian control over the entire territory of Israel’s borders, and it is a rallying cry for terrorist groups, like Hamas, to kill all Jews. While Palestinians, like Jews, have ancestral claims to the land and have the right to self-govern and to self-determination, calling for the complete elimination of the Jewish state and praising a known terrorist organization is antisemitic.
On Oct. 19, an email sent by Munger residential staff asserted, “there should be no space … for Zionism within the Wellesley College community.” Zionism, an essential tenet of Judaism, is the belief that Jews have the right to self-determination and statehood in their ancestral homeland of Israel. Denying Jews this right is antisemitic, and when you say there is no place for Zionism on campus, you are excluding many of your campus siblings. To be clear, Zionism neither precludes nor excludes support for Palestinian statehood, and Zionism also does not imply support for the current Israeli government or its policies.
Wellesley students cannot profess themselves to be progressive advocates and then try to justify kidnapping, torturing, raping and murdering civilians. We wish more of our siblings would have expressed their support by condemning the terrorism perpetrated by Hamas against Israeli civilians. Either you champion the value of all innocent lives and denounce outright terrorism, or you do not.
We hope you will join us in condemning acts of terrorism and hatred in all forms. Let us stand together to affirm our compassion for all human life. We are in pain. We are grieving. And your silence speaks volumes.