Like many of you, the Executive Board is left heavy-hearted almost beyond speech by the atrocities of the last few weeks in both Israel and Palestine, and the escalation currently ongoing.
I am not an expert in this history, and do not have direct ties to the communities most impacted—I cannot speak for anyone but myself. But I have been listening, and the world is more connected now than it has ever been. I know members of our community are grieving deeply. Some of those we know and love may have faced almost unimaginable losses already. At the same time, the U.S. is encouraging escalating military force without restraint, in some cases even using language supporting ethnic cleansing or genocide—and I am implicated, too, because my tax dollars are part of the funding that seems to be available for death but too rarely in service of life, in the U.S. or elsewhere.
I know there is no perfect way to account for the generational pain, trauma, and myriad different perspectives of many in a short statement. I hope everyone is listening to the voices of those most affected who are managing to speak out. But there are situations in which to say nothing amounts to complicity with the narrative of violence as a solution, and governmental lack of respect for human life. This is asymmetric state violence. Islamophobia and Antisemitism are being used to stoke hatred and aggression across the world, including in the U.S. If we as an organization care about truth, data, and DEIA (and I believe we do)—if we care about each other—we need to support one another.
What I do know, in my bones, is that even when arguments can be made for the necessity of violence, the dehumanization of others is always evil, and leads to ever greater evils—and we are seeing it happen (yet again) before our eyes. People have inherent dignity; governments do not. No one deserves to be wiped from existence because of their identity. It is past time for a ceasefire, including a cessation of the blockade and widespread bombing of Gaza, and the release of Israeli civilian hostages.
I know that I still have a lot to learn, and will make mistakes, but my heart is with those who are suffering; you are seen and valuable, and you do not deserve this.