The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) hosted a special briefing on Wednesday highlighting the horrific crimes perpetrated by the Hamas terrorist group against Israeli and Palestinian civilians over the past 12 days, first and foremost the barbaric slaughter of more than 1,300 Israelis on Oct. 7.
Participants included CAM Advisory Board Chair Natan Sharansky, IDF Maj. (Res.) Ben Wahlhaus, NGO Monitor Founder and President Gerald Steinberg, Nova music festival survivor Natalie Sanandaji, and Yoav Shimoni, grandson of Bracha Levinson, who was murdered in her Nir Oz home by Hamas.
“This was the biggest pogrom in modern history, and the biggest antisemitic event since the Holocaust,” Sharansky said. “The free world cannot accept that the people who did these crimes can keep existing. We have no choice. We have to destroy Hamas.”
Maj. (Res.) Walhaus, who serves in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, noted, “Israel now is at war, and our war is against Hamas. But Hamas’ war is a war against civilians. It started with this brutal massacre, and the abduction of 200 Israeli citizens who are being held hostage in Gaza. They are firing rockets continuously and indiscriminately into Israeli population centers. And at the same time they are using their own population to protect those rockets, to hide their military operations, to evade attacks by the IDF, and to exploit any civilian harm for their own purposes.”
“Hamas is using their civilian population as human shields, and they are also stealing from them,” he added. “They also kill their own people. As we saw last night, Islamic Jihad fired a rocket from Gaza toward Israel. It fell short and landed on a hospital, and according to Palestinian reports, which we cannot verify, there were around 500 fatalities. All of these actions by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad constitute clear war crimes, clear crimes against humanity, and they may constitute genocide.”
Steinberg called out intentional efforts by global institutions and NGOs, amplified by sympathetic media outlets, to “turn Israel into the image of the world’s worst human rights violator,” as seen on Tuesday in the rush to denounce and vilify Israel for the deaths at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza for which it was not responsible.
“This is not just a tactic, it’s a strategy that is the modern antisemitism,” he said. “They manipulate the language and frameworks of human rights which were created in the wake of the Holocaust, and this is a form of Holocaust inversion.”
Sanandaji recalled the terrifying moment she and her friends realized that armed terrorists were on the ground shooting at them as they sought to leave the Nova music festival following the rocket salvoes that opened Hamas’ assault.
“We opened the doors of our car and just started to run for our lives,” she said. “Nobody knew what direction was safe. After a while of running in one specific direction, I suddenly saw dozens of other people running in my direction, and I understand that the direction I was running in was not the direction of safety. Basically no direction was safe, they were coming at us from multiple directions. We never knew what decision was the right decision, every decision we made either was either going to save our lives or get us killed.”
In her remarks, Sanandaii also delivered a heartfelt message for Palestinian supporters around the world.
“The rallies that you’re doing right now is not what this war is about,” she said. “This war is not about Palestine. Hamas is not pro-Palestine. Hamas is just as complicit in the deaths of innocent Palestinians as they are in the deaths of all these innocent Israelis. Anyone who is going out onto the streets with a Palestinian flag, this is not the time. This war is about a terrorist organization killing innocent people. Killing innocent people does not free Palestine. This is not the path to that, this is not the way you do it.”
Shimoni described how he and his family learned of the death of his beloved grandmother, Bracha, through a gruesome video posted on her Facebook account by her killers.
“My sister flagged in our family group chat that my grandmother had posted a video on Facebook, so we immediately went to her Facebook and saw that there was a video of her lying on her living room floor, covered in blood, with terrorists standing above her,” he said. “That was two to three hours before Israel and the news media announced the terrorist infiltrations into Israel, so for the first few hours we were all in disbelief.”
Bracha Levinson’s body has yet to be identified, meaning that Shimoni and his family have not been able to start sitting shiva, the formal seven-day period of Jewish mourning.
“It’s been a horrific week and a half,” Shimoni said.
Wednesday’s webinar was moderated by CAM CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa.
Watch the full webinar HERE: