SCHWARZ | The Significance of the Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas Atrocities

At this time of national tragedy for Israel I, as a longtime Jewish faculty member and as a human being, feel strong and impassioned sympathy and empathy for innocent victims of barbarous Hamas terrorists who murdered and kidnapped defenseless people including babies, small children and elderly people. 

I respect the frustrations of the Palestinian people who want their own country. But what occurred Oct. 7, on the Jewish Sabbath, were not acts of resistance but atrocities on the order of the Holocaust and pogroms Jews suffered in Europe. Such inhumane and horrific behavior will not move the Palestine community towards its goal. 

On Thursday, Oct. 12, for the first time in 56 years teaching at Cornell, I spent much of the time in my “Imagining the Holocaust” class discussing parallel current events to our course subject, namely how the barbaric murder and kidnapping of Israeli civilians by Hamas resemble the Holocaust as well as the pogroms in Russia before the Holocaust. I commend my students for a nuanced, insightful discussion, one in which we differentiated between those of any ethnicity who commit atrocities and those who are decent human beings.