By State Senator Ryan Fazio
The stories and images of the terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians on October 7th have broken hearts all over the world but especially in our area. In our community, and across the district I represent, the outpouring of support and solidarity for the Israeli people in their moment of tragedy has been strong and firm. Each of the vigils I joined in New Canaan, Stamford, and Greenwich were overflowing with hundreds in attendance.
What these vigils make clear is that our community, state, and nation stand with Israel, for her right to self-defense, against the heinous terrorism of Hamas, and for a true and lasting peace in the region. Our prayers go to the victims and families of all those who suffered and are still suffering. The direct targeting of thousands of civilians, the murder of babies, and the pure sadism of the October 7th attacks laid bare for many the stakes in the region for peace-loving people.
As war ensues, it is worth remembering the murders and hostages and deliberate bloodshed that started it, because there is already an effort to muddle the events and create a moral equivalency between combatants. While it is not true in our community or in most American households, it is the case in much of the media, Europe, and the Middle East, all of which harbor more antagonism toward Israel than the U.S. A radical left worldview among some Hamas sympathizers automatically equates material misfortune with virtue—even when that misfortune is the consequence of their own terrorism.
But there is no moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas. Arabs in Israel can, should, and do live freely by the protection of the state. Jews in Gaza could never expect similar protection at the hands of Hamas. It’s inconceivable. Hamas combatants that are captured have their rights protected in captivity. Israeli civilians dragged from their beds into Gaza will be tortured and murdered in their captivity.
Israeli civilians die because Hamas wants to kill them and directly targets them. Palestinian civilians also die because Hamas wants them to—and they use them as human shields and tools for propaganda against Israel. That’s why Hamas uses schools and hospitals in Gaza for military bases. Hamas bears responsibility for the suffering of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians who want peace and safety.
When I visited Israel years ago to stay with a friend’s family it was clear to me in person what I already had read on paper: Israelis want security and prosperity for peoples across religions and nationalities in the region. They are also versed in history.
The intentional mass-killing of Jews was precisely what the state of Israel was founded in 1948 to prevent. The intentional mass murder of over a thousand Jews—not combatants, but civilians—on October 7th is a stern reminder that the preservation and defense of Israel is still necessary to the protection of the Jewish People today. The alternative—which we just witnessed for only a period of a few hours—is unthinkable. “Never again” must still mean “never again.”
State Senator Ryan Fazio (R-36) represents Greenwich and parts of Stamford and New Canaan.