March 12, 2024

For the last several weeks, a lot of my attention has been focused on efforts to counter the latest attempts to get local city councils to adopt resolutions calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. I have watched past city council meetings and paid close attention to the words and messages shared by those who support a ceasefire. And yet, what I do not believe the "other side" is aware of is that their actions are causing more harm than good.

            In my mind, there has not been one single incident, except one that took place over the weekend, that epitomized how the different "sides" are conducting themselves regarding this issue. In almost all cases, those who are supportive of Israel and Israel's right to do all it can to get an immediate release of all their hostages have been conducted peacefully, with dignity and respect. The same cannot be said for those on the "other side."

However, those who are supportive of the Palestinian cause do themselves no justice in the eyes of the world when they act viciously or blatantly when they deface property. I am referring to the recent attack on the portrait of Lord Balfour, where a Palestinian supporter not only destroyed this piece of art with paint but also with a razor blade and cut and sliced through it. This act was made as a criticism of Lord Balfour, declaring that Israel or Jews should never have been given the right to a homeland back in 1917 when he issued his Balfour declaration. In the words of Brendan O'Neill, a columnist for The Spectator, articulated it this way, "The slashing of that painting was not merely a performative assault on a Dead White European Male. It was also a noisy, violent signal that anyone involved in the creation of Israel is evil and deserves erasure from public life. It was a clamorous declaration of intolerance towards anyone who helped to found or who supports this allegedly evil state. What will no doubt be justified as an anti-imperial act was, in truth, an imperious expression of haughty English disgust for a tiny state overseas."

Locally, we have seen some similar incidences, including defacing property in the office building where Congresswoman Norma Torres's district office is located. As I've spoken with local city council about this issue, when they are considering resolutions, calling for an immediate ceasefire, I have clearly articulated that the emotion involved in this issue is different for people on the two sides of the issue.

Unfortunately, the acts of destruction by those who are supportive of the Palestinian cause are causing greater harm to themselves and their beliefs in the eyes of society. It is unfortunate that they take these actions in the name of the Palestinians instead of recognizing that their attention and pressure should be on Hamas to bring about an end to this current conflict. The ongoing negotiations surrounding a ceasefire, which, as a reminder, existed on October 6 before Hamas' attacks on October 7, have continually been prevented by Hamas' demands and acceptance of reasonable terms of negotiations. And yet Israel continues to be seen as not willing to enter into a ceasefire. A ceasefire cannot exist if BOTH parties are not willing to accept. Israel has agreed… Hamas has refused.

Israel is ready and willing. It is time for people to stop trying to get their local city governments to call for an immediate ceasefire and put all of their efforts into pressuring Hamas to do so.


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