“Never again”?

Without provocation or warning, Hamas terrorists invaded Israel, intentionally targeting civilians, especially women and children. The goal was not only death and violence but to strike fear. Moreover, women and children were targeted because the stated goal of Hamas and many of its allies is not merely to remove the state of Israel from the map but to remove Jewish people from the planet.

It took days and several harmful missteps (calls for “ceasefire”) before President Biden and his administration found their voice. The United States announced that the attacks were barbaric and unacceptable, and we stand on the side of decency and civilization — and with our ally, Israel.

Sadly, the overlay of modern American “team politics” has skewed the only proper response to this atrocity — and the necessary response from Israel. Too many Democrats have sat silently, posted morally weak statements about sadness and ceasefires, or worse, lectured us on why Hamas’ butchery needs to be judged “in context.”

READ MORE — Andy Bloom: What should the United States learn from the Hamas attack on Israel?

How ironic that the party that is home to virtue-signalers, ever-changing social media banners for the cause of the day, and lawn signs proclaiming “Hate has no home here” finds itself tongue-tied — or worse, explaining away actual, purposeful hate.

There is one notable exception. Conservatives and people of good will must recognize and salute the moral clarity and leadership of Senator John Fetterman. His message has been crystal clear, including hanging the posters of the children held hostage by Hamas on his Senate office wall.

This stands in sharp contrast to those elected officials who continue to lecture us about needing to understand Hamas’ actions “in context” or those who dare to talk of barbarism as political “resistance.”

Washington, D.C., has itself become a caricature of moral relativism and selective outrage, a place where partisan power politics is so omnipresent that we are taken aback when genuine statesmanship takes place. Sadly, it’s no surprise that some are rushing to make sure that any legislation regarding aid packages for Israel’s defense must also include not only aid for the Gaza Strip but also more aid for Ukraine.

Even in the face of evil — of children being beheaded, raped, and held hostage — there are those who see tragedy as leverage to gain political points.

A legislator has the right to be for or against aiding Ukraine or Israel — or making the aid packages smaller or larger or with added restrictions. That’s all fair game. What is not fair game is abusing bipartisan support for Israel and tying it to additional aid for Ukraine.

Many don’t truly understand how morally broken and harmful their actions are.

I know the game. I’ve worked as a Chief of Staff in Congress and in Harrisburg twice. There are times when we don’t need games — when we should expect better. The mixture of silence, moral relativism, and political games coming out of D.C. shows not only a lack of leadership but also invites other, angrier voices to step into that void.

It was seen in marches and rallies in major cities as crowds gathered with anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, and pro-Hamas flags and signs.

And in many ways more frightening, for over three weeks across college campuses, especially Ivy League and “elite” universities, there are not merely pro-Hamas or anti-Israel marches, but actual intimidation and violence are threatened as Jewish students are targeted, screamed at, and trapped inside dining halls and meeting rooms.

My sense is that some of these screaming students are true anti-Semites. In contrast, others have been poorly educated or purposefully misinformed by their professors into believing that Israel persecutes, prosecutes, and harasses Muslims and Palestinians — not knowing that Israel gave up the Gaza Strip, leaving behind greenhouses, water desalination plants, and water lines; not knowing that Muslims serve as judges and sit in the Israeli Knesset.

And some students are just unthinking lemmings, looking to quickly join what seems to be the cause of the moment — not truly caring about BLM, the Russian-Ukraine war, or the history of Israel or Palestine. Their failing is ignorance and emptiness. 

This is why they rip down posters of the children held hostage. Many don’t truly understand how morally broken and harmful their actions are.

READ MORE — Guy Ciarrocchi: We believed colleges were harming America. Now, everyone knows it.

The First Amendment guarantees American citizens a “right of the people to peaceably assemble,” to hold and speak their values, no matter if they are “wrong” or “offensive.” That does not extend to threatening others or stopping others from speaking — let alone worse.

But colleges don’t teach the importance, the value, and the concepts of the First Amendment anymore. Colleges lecture about ever-evolving, mythical “hate speech.” Elite universities have led the charge to crush decency and redefine words, carelessly removing true thought and true morality from our campuses.

Today, America’s “best and brightest” are told that Riley Gaines promoting women in sports, Governor Abbott advocating securing the Texas/Mexico border, Moms4Liberty trying to limit the access of books with pictures of oral sex to grade school students, and Jennifer Sey making the case that schools should have reopened sooner during the “lockdowns,” is “hate speech.” Yet threatening Jewish students against the backdrop of actual terror attacks is somehow “protected” speech.

In the absence of true leadership and moral clarity, evil runs rampant. Hate becomes acceptable.

Many universities have changed America for the worse. We are seeing this tragically unfold before our eyes. Have current-day students never actually studied actual history, the Second World War, or seen pictures of the concentration camps?

Have our elected officials never been to Auschwitz or to the museums in Philadelphia or Washington, D.C.? Do they not truly understand that, in reality, for all of our faults, on the world’s scale, ours is the freest, most diverse, most tolerant, or most opportunity-based nation on the planet? And Israel is much more like America than any other Middle Eastern nation — and than many on the planet.

What in God’s name do our politicians and our students think “Never Again” means? It’s not simply a design on a T-shirt or a meme!

For the foreseeable future, people of goodwill who understand history and who possess moral clarity must speak up and speak out — to our families, our communities, and in public.

In the longer term, civic leaders, parents, and grandparents must think about how we got here — to a place of moral weakness, misunderstood “tolerance,” and the idea that actions do not have consequences… as if life were a game or a college campus, where consequences don’t matter.

We must preserve, protect, and defend the First Amendment. Americans should not all think the same and say the same things. But the majority should have unity of purpose and shared values of what America stands for. And we must work even harder to make sure that the clearest, most effective voices are those that promote the values of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Guy Ciarrocchi is a Senior Fellow with the Commonwealth Foundation. He writes for Broad + Liberty and RealClear Pennsylvania. Follow him @PaSuburbsGuy.

7 thoughts on “Guy Ciarrocchi: What ever happened to ‘never again’?”

  1. Avery prescient article. One of the best encapsulations of the hatred growing in America I have read so far. The scariest part for me is the inability of those unable or unwilling to see and understand the unmitigated evil that is the guiding principle of HAMAS. The lack of a general understanding and acceptance of basic moral principles devalues human beings to the point where no one’s life is worth anything and can be disposed of without a second thought. Just recently, for example, a controversy erupted over climbers looking to set a record, left a dying man on the trail because establishing the record was in jeopardy. Our society today is in grave danger.

  2. Guy, A recent Harvard Caps Harris poll result showed 51% of 18-24 year olds believe Hamas’ terrorist massacre of 1,200+ Israeli civilians could be justified by the grievances of the Palestinians. I find those poll results heart breaking, and quite shocking. Then I came across these facts:
    “Anti-Israel content is dominating on TikTok among 18-24 year-olds: 447MM views vs 16.5MM views in the last 30 days. Raw data comes from TikTok and is available here for anyone who wants to validate:
    https://ads.tiktok.com/business/creativecenter/hashtag/standwithisrael/pc/en?period=30 and
    Never before has a foreign adversary had a direct line to feed agitprop into the youth of their enemy, and that’s what the Chinese Communist Party is doing with TikTok, the viral video app managed by… the Chinese Communist Party. China’s Baidu (basically Google but more so) has removed Israel from its maps. And TikTok’s 150 million users in the U.S. are being served pro-Hamas propaganda. The US does not allow foreign ownership of media companies, without a special waiver – which Tik Tok does not have. It seems to be a major national security issue. Trump warned everyone about it – but everyone hates him – and now we are dealing with the consequences.

  3. You are quite wrong about “Without provocation or warning..” When a strong nation/people continually abuses a weaker nation for decades and the weak finally strike back, you cannot call this terrorism or hate. There was no progress towards a settlement or justice for the Palestinian people, and it is clear there never will be because Israel is determined to ethnically cleanse itself of anyone who is not Jewish. What has happened in Gaza over the past two weeks is a war crime. The vast majority of people know it but lack the power to correct it.

    We have got to stop the violence and find a genuine solution that includes justice for the Palestinian people or this will go on forever and America will be sacrificing its treasure and its youth to support a strong nation in its racist assault on a weak nation.

  4. I want to point out that since 1938, five separate two state proposals were rejected by the Arab/Palestine community. Prior to 1918, the entire region, including Jewish inhabitants were living there under Ottoman Turk rule. There was no such thing as a Palestine state., or a Jewish state for that matter, the Balfour declaration put the two-state idea into motion. Also, don’t forget that after Israel was establish by the UN, and immediately, the Palestinians attacked Israel not the other way round. Finally, the conflict has only been about territory and government on the surface, the real reason for the conflict is religious and if you read HAMAS’s charter, it will not end until every Jew and every infidel is dead.

  5. I agree that the heart of the conflict is religious. It is Judaism that is separatist. It is clear that Israel is doing a full ethnic cleansing. It is also clear that it can never work – thus pulling America into more and more forever wars.

    1. Tom,

      There is so much historical evidence to make everyone shake their heads and sigh in frustration when reading your comments. You either refuse to look at the actual history, are too young to unplug from tiktok as a result of lack of perspective, or have some disability.

      Good luck

  6. To add further context, Hamas tried to sneak its fighters out of the Gaza Strip in ambulances that evacuated dozens of wounded Palestinians to Egypt earlier this week, a senior Biden administration official said Friday.

    Hamas had compiled a list of the seriously wounded that it wanted to evacuate from Gaza for treatment in Egypt, along with thousands of foreign nationals looking to flee the enclave.

    The list was then vetted by Egypt and the United States, which found that a third of the names on it were of Hamas fighters, the administration official said, adding that the list was rejected and none of the 76 wounded Palestinians who were ultimately evacuated in ambulances out of Gaza were members of the terror group.

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