I Will Not Be Silent, MK Ofer Cassif

Last week, I was accused from the platform of Maariv, in the article “Let You Explain” written by Lilac Sigan, that I and my friends in my political path are responsible for the backing the abominable Hamas organization and its strengthening.

MK Ofer Cassif during a demonstration held in Tel-Aviv against occupation and the siege of Gaza, June 2, 2023 (Photo: Hadash)

Strange, I thought, it was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said, in his words, that “those who want to thwart a Palestinian state should support the strengthening of Hamas”, and it was Minister Bezalel Smotrich who referred to Hamas as a “political asset”.

For years, the right-wing governments avoided overthrowing the Hamas regime and even transferred funds to it in order to facilitate a favorable political situation for the deepening of the occupation in the West Bank, when the Israeli surrounding localities of Gaza were sacrificed on the altar of the settlements. But I will not talk about the governments of the right, because I only knew how to talk about myself.

Since Saturday October 7, I have been going through the pictures and names of the victims, and they are endless. Whole pages of former lives, because who are the dead if not former lives that were eliminated with endless cruelty and malice. Quite a few of the performers are well known to me – from the kibbutz, from Sapir College where I taught for many years, from the political activity against the occupation and the siege of Gaza.

In their deaths – innocent victims of sadistic slaughter, over whom everyone is now crying. In their lives, a significant part of them – victims of hatred and slander as traitors, anarchists, elitist kibbutzniks, tsfonbonim [spoiled rich kids], Stalinists, and haughty Ashkenazim, the foul-mouthed spokespeople wished for and built foreign deaths at the hands of Hamas, if not in the furnaces of the Nazis.

It was actually me who, in my interviews with the foreign media, told their story and felt their pain with them, so that the whole world would know about the crimes of Hamas and the extent of the inhumane atrocities. For the whole world to hear and see the last words of my kibbutznik friend, who hid with her husband and wrote me a message “I’m afraid”.

Then I move on to reading on the internet, and the knife that Hamas stuck in my heart is twisted by the hands of keyboard warriors who do not have the truth at their feet, but hatred. Similar wishes and real threats in his style were received by hundreds of those slaughtered until recently, by those who are now shedding crocodile tears.

For them, when the bombs are thundering, the guest should be silent. And no, I will not be silent. Because hate will not subdue my commitment to justice and peace, for the benefit of all the inhabitants of the land.

The op-ed was published by Maariv daily newspaper, October 20, 2023