“Never forget?” In Philadelphia today, it’s hard to remember.
Maybe it’s the obnoxious sit-ins by pro-Palestinian protestors that disrupted traffic at 30th Street this week. Perhaps the troubling chants of “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free” wafted across Rittenhouse Square.
Whatever the cause, it’s hard to remember there was a very brief moment when people in the Delaware Valley actually found a bit of their humanity and roundly condemned the terrorist attacks against innocent Jews in Israel.
As heartening as they were brief, the social media messages, pronouncements from the White House, and comments from kings and commoners alike seemed to confirm that when innocent babies are murdered, their mothers raped, and their grandmothers shot through the head, the human thing was to mourn them.
That is why the people who took the side of Hamas in those first crucial moments stand out to me as particularly vile and inhuman. Now, as the tide has turned towards condemnation of Israel and outright antisemitism, the desire to highlight the plight of Gazans and minimize the pain of Jews is common.
But on Oct. 8 and 9, in the hours and days after the genocidal assault on innocent concert-goers and families, the thought that a person with even the most minimal understanding of persecution and torture could actually come out and support Hamas was unthinkable.
Unthinkable, that is, until we were presented with the ugly facts.
George Donnelly, the chief of staff of state Sen. Nikil Saval, found comfort and solidarity in certain social media accounts that immediately blamed the victims of Hamas for their deaths. Donnelly retweeted posts that suggested the Israelis were guilty of their own demise because they were living on Palestinian land and taunted the Jewish victims by saying, “What y’all think decolonization meant?” Donnelly apparently agreed, since he retweeted the accounts, that one way to obtain Palestinian autonomy was to murder Jews.
It is unclear whether Donnelly is still on Saval’s payroll, although given the senator’s fellow travelers and his purposeful solidarity with the Palestinian people, I suspect he got a promotion. While the senator has every right to choose the people who staff his office and support his mission, the old adage of “lie down with dogs, get up with fleas” is appropriate in this context.
The fact that a sitting state senator is aligned with a man who openly supported the massacre of innocents is beyond troubling. His momentary concessions that “I deplore and condemn the murder of innocent civilians by Hamas” rings hollow, given the fact that he has since aligned himself with protestors seeking the elimination of Israel.
For example, Saval recently joined that sit-in at 30th Street, demanding a ceasefire. Saval is a fairly observant fellow, so you would think that he knew there already was a ceasefire, but it ended on Oct. 7 when Palestinian terrorists murdered babies. In this context, a ceasefire means only one thing: stop going after the terrorists who targeted innocent Jews and who are using their own citizens as human shields. That is what a ceasefire would mean. It would also allow Hamas to benefit from its own evil agenda and convince its allies, Hezbollah and Iran, that attacks will be met by appeasement.
Anyone who believes that hasn’t been watching Israel operate over the past 75 years.
I know that there are a lot of misguided folks in the Delaware Valley who are playing the “both sides are at fault” game. I know that there are people who will clamor about Islamophobia when the only places of worship being defaced these days are synagogues, and the only university students being threatened are Jewish. I know that there are men and women who will rip down the posters of missing Jewish children because they believe that unless the face of every Palestinian child is posted as well, justice demands that we ignore the Jewish hostages.
I know these people exist, and I try to block them from my airspace, but that’s not possible when the person you want to block is your state senator.
What I can do is continue to point out to his fellow constituents the sort of people he chooses to work with, associate with, and represent him to the public. One of those people apparently mistakes massacres for legitimate political action.