The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is heartbroken by the crisis in the Middle East. To say that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, which has been decades in the making, is complex, is a gross understatement. Much has been written about the conflict and feelings and emotions run deep. Opinions differ about what led to the current eruption of violence, how to stop it, and how to work toward a peaceful resolution to this long-standing crisis. However, as a museum that was founded by Holocaust survivors, there are several points that are clear to us.
• From studying the Holocaust, we know it is critical that Jews have a nation state to which they can freely immigrate when they face oppression and persecution in their home countries. Israel is that state.
• We believe most Israelis and Palestinians long for peace and do not wish to live under threat or in conflict.
• However, we also know that Hamas is a self-avowed Islamic terrorist organization that has the primary goal of annihilating the Jewish nation state of Israel.
• The pursuit of peace is critical in the Middle East, but Israel has the right to defend itself against any and all attacks.
• Civilians – men, women, and children – are the victims of this conflict, and one life lost is one too many.
Due to the crisis in the Middle East, there has been a devastating surge in antisemitism and attacks on Jews around the world, including a savage attack against Jewish diners in Los Angeles, a brutal attack on an elderly man wearing a kippah in Times Square, and many others. Locally, Jewish students and parents are being harassed, both in person and through social media, and employees at Kosher restaurants have been threatened by an angry mob. Blaming American Jews for the actions of Israel is not acceptable and must stop. We call upon all Upstanders to fight the growing scourge of antisemitism.
We do not have a solution to this crisis, but we cannot be indifferent to the suffering of all people in the region. We are grateful for the ceasefire and implore Israeli and Palestinian leaders to work to restore calm and ensure security and human rights for everyone in the region. Valuing the lives of everyone living in the region and working to promote a lasting peace must be our focus.
To learn more about the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum and its mission, please visit dhhrm.org.
– Mary Pat Higgins, Museum President and CEO
– Mark Zilbermann, Board Chair