Op eds

This op-ed by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) first appeared in The Advocate on December 1, 2023. 

So far, the United States is standing by Israel in its fight against Hamas, but some in Washington seem confused as to why we would do that.

I’ve seen a lot of hand-wringing from folks who pretend that there’s some nuance we need to apply to the terrorist attacks of Oct. 7 before we can condemn Hamas and hold its supporters accountable. Many people promoting this idea believe that Israel got what it deserved. These people apparently believe in diversity, equity, inclusion and the right to kill Jews.

In Louisiana, however, we understand that the men who slaughtered hundreds of young people at a peace concert are the bad guys. The men who raped women next to the bodies of their dead friends don’t deserve to be on this planet. The guys who forced kidnapped Holocaust survivors to pose for photos next to their terrorist captors are in the wrong.

Nothing the Israeli government has done warranted throwing grenades at children hiding in a bomb shelter. We don’t need to read a treatise on the Middle East to know only monsters would put a baby in an oven and flip on the switch, as one first responder reported.

The evil we saw unfold when Hamas butchered Israeli civilians is indefensible. Those terrorists brutalized thousands of people, including dozens of Americans. Hearing the stories from survivors is nauseating.

Yet the terrorists of Hamas took joy in massacring civilians. One terrorist called his mother to brag that he had “killed 10 Jews with [his] own hands.” Another Hamas official celebrated the violence and vowed to continue to wage attacks like this “again and again” until Israel no longer exists.

No family in Israel will be able to sleep soundly at night until these terrorists are annihilated.

Israel has both the right and the responsibility to defend itself. I’m proud that the United States is supporting Israel. The world will be a safer place for Israelis and Americans alike when Hamas ceases to exist.

Hamas leaders told anyone who would listen that their goal was to kill as many Jewish people as possible. That’s still their goal. This wasn’t a protest against Israel’s government; it was a massacre of Jewish people — the largest since the Holocaust.

It’s not surprising, then, that some who oppose intervention in Gaza have turned to attacking Jewish Americans. In New York City, they cornered Jewish students in the library, forcing a librarian to offer to hide them in an attic. At Cornell University, they threatened to shoot up the kosher dining hall. At Louisiana’s Tulane University, activists broke a student’s nose because he opposed their anti-Israel demonstration.

These protests didn’t occur in New York City, Cornell or Tulane by accident. Violent protesters targeted these areas because they are home to many Jewish Americans. New York is home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, and Tulane — which was the first university in the South to welcome Jewish students — has a student body today that is roughly 40% Jewish.

When confused activists twist themselves in knots trying to justify the torture, rape and murder of Jews in the Middle East, they are feeding the fires of antisemitism here at home, too.

Let’s not forget: Hamas broke the cease-fire on Oct. 7. Hamas is the group using civilians as shields. Hamas is the group hoarding fuel and food as Palestinian civilians starve. Hamas is the group that dug up water pipes to turn them into rocket launchers. The people of Gaza and Israel both suffer because of Hamas. Any suggestion that Israel is culpable for this suffering plays into the hands of these terrorists.

In Louisiana, we can see through the pseudointellectual hand-wringing of Israel’s critics. Hamas brutalized Israeli citizens and then ran home to hide behind their women and children. They are the lowest kind of sadists imaginable.

Over the past week, Hamas released some hostages as part of a temporary cease-fire, and I hope every hostage will be reunited with their families soon. We cannot forget, however, that Hamas has vowed to continue attacking and kidnapping Israeli civilians and that the terrorists only released innocent Israelis in exchange for the release of three times as many convicted Hamas criminals. The only way to stop this cycle is to eliminate Hamas.

President Joe Biden is under a lot of pressure from the loon wing of his party to abandon Israel and American national security interests by demanding a permanent cease-fire. Hamas, however, doesn’t want a permanent cease-fire. It had one on Oct. 6 and forfeited it unilaterally. Hamas wants to murder and humiliate Israelis until all the Jewish people are gone.

President Biden needs to show the world — and some members of his party — that the United States will continue to stand with Israel until Hamas is in ruins and its genocidal agenda becomes impossible.

The world will be safer and more just when Hamas is not in it. By supporting Israel’s efforts, Americans are helping to ensure an attack like Oct. 7 never happens again.