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OPINION: Shocking Attacks Warrant Unified Support for Israel

By Will Barclay


Israel [on Oct. 7] was savagely attacked by the terrorist organization, Hamas. The brazen strike claimed the lives of more than 1,300 innocent civilians including dozens of Americans. Images from the terrorist attack were horrifying. Women and children were murdered and kidnapped. Elderly were slaughtered in their homes. [At least 30] Americans were killed. It was unprovoked, unwarranted, and an affront to continued efforts to bring peace and stability to a region desperately in need of both.

Simply stated, there is no scenario where the murder of civilians is justified, and these depraved attacks are in direct opposition to international law and the basic tenets of morality that define civilized society. As such, the Assembly Minority Conference [recently] introduced a resolution rebuking these heinous crimes and denouncing these antisemitic attacks. Israel has been a faithful ally to the U.S., and it embodies the democratic ideals we strive to facilitate here. For that, our conference offers its unwavering support to our Israeli friends.

The loss of life caused by these attacks is heartbreaking. Violence in the name of hatred is something we have sadly witnessed here at home, and we know all too well what that hatred is capable of producing. We have still not recovered from the devastation of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and these recent attacks provide an unsettling reminder that violence in the name of hate continues to fester. I call on my colleagues in the legislature, our federal leaders, and nations around the world to stand up against those who seek to destabilize and destroy innocent populations like we have seen here and in the Mideast. 

To that end, I was shocked and disappointed at members of New York’s Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) faction who have chosen to stoke antisemitic sentiment here in New York. The day immediately after the heinous actions by Hamas, New York City DSA promoted a rally in Times Square to support — in their own words — Palestine’s “right to resist.” Even while the death toll in Israel was still climbing, families were still trying to locate loved ones, and mourning for those tragically killed had barely begun, Socialists immediately used the Hamas attack as a rallying cry for their cause. 

Political discourse thrives when reasonable minds disagree about how to best serve the people who rely upon them. Policy debates end, though, after children are slaughtered in front of their parents and murder squads target innocent individuals in the name of fear. I fully support efforts to provide safety and shelter to those targeted in these attacks and I sincerely hope my colleagues withdraw from their disgraceful attempt to frame these events as anything but what they are: brutal atrocities.        

William (Will) A. Barclay, 54, Republican, is the New York Assembly minority leader and represents the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses all of Oswego County, as well as parts of Jefferson and Cayuga counties.