NHC President’s Statement on Israel and Hamas

The National Humanities Center joins much of the world in condemning the ruthless October 7, 2023 incursion into Israel by Hamas. That this murderous rampage occurred, not in the occupied West Bank, but was visited upon peaceful citizens in unoccupied territory, renders this act even more senseless. The brutal hostage taking of innocent people, including young children and the elderly, is both barbaric and cynical.

We also recognize that zealotry must not be met with equivalent zealotry if the cycle of violence in this fraught region is ever to cease. While we understand Israel’s right to defend itself against such atrocious hostility, we also hope this might be an opportunity to pursue justice and self-determination for the Palestinian people and to rectify the turn toward anti-democratic policies that only exacerbate inequities and distrust.

The humanities always have fostered a culture of healthy, respectful debate which seeks to bring disparate perspectives into conversation and reconciliation. We urge the warring parties and their interlocutors to adopt this broader attitude so that violence and hate can be converted to concord and equanimity.