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‘I stand with Israel … I stand with humanity’: Mayor Adams at vigil for victims of terrorist attack

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Speaking Monday at a Midtown vigil for the Israel terrorist attacks, Mayor Adams condemned the brutal and sadistic invasion by Hamas that has left a reported 1,000 Israelis dead.

More than 150 Israelis were also taken hostage. Meanwhile, hundreds of Palestinians have also been killed.

Joining the mayor at the vigil at Golda Meir Square, at Broadway and 39th Street, were rabbis, Israeli Consulate representatives and nearly two dozen New York City politicians, plus the heads of the Anti-Defamation League and UJA-Federation of New York, among others.

Speakers included Congressmember Dan Goldman, who represents Manhattan and Brooklyn’s 10th District, and was in Tel Aviv for a bar mitzvah when the surprise attack occurred. In his remarks, Goldman said Hamas must be “eradicated.”

“I am…I am devastated, and I am angry,” Adams said. “Nothing can justify pulling innocent children from their homes, murdering them, dragging them through the streets, laying your feet across their bodies. Nothing can justify what we witnessed.

(Benny Polatseck | Mayoral Photography Office)

“To state that that terrorist act that we saw cannot be defended anywhere on this globe. It is not acceptable what we witnessed in Israel — not acceptable.

“And you cannot rationalize it. You cannot state that how it was done and why it was done. It was clear that it was anger, anti-Semitism at the highest level, and a total mindset of inflicting pain at one of the most holiest days of the year in a premeditated, barbaric action that is unacceptable and it will go down in the history as one of the most draconian, disgusting acts you can ever witness.

“And no one should be celebrating this — no one. Humanity should be angry. Yes, I stand with Israel. Yes, I stand with the Jewish community.

“But most importantly, I stand with humanity. I stand with human behavior that should never reach this depth. This is what we fought for so long, so many years. This is what we stood for. This city has the largest population of so many groups, from Muslims to Indians to Africans to South Americans, Central Americans — and, we also are the largest Jewish population outside of Israel.

“This is who we are, and I’m watching what is playing out across the country. I’m watching protests where people are carrying swastikas not understanding…how it impacts not only the heart of the Jewish community, but those same swastika symbols were used when African Americans were attempted to fight for their freedom and their right to exist. This cuts across all lines — all lines.

“And so, I stand here today, my heart is broken. I stand here today in pain. But I wanted to stand by those candles as, one at a time we light them, because we have to light our path for the future. We cannot allow the darkness of the actions we witnessed to turn us into who they are. That is what their goal is. But I’m clear: Israel has a right to defend itself. Israel has a right to protect itself.

“And we need every one of those hostages to be returned home. We need them to be returned home.

“Let’s pray for those family members are still wondering of the destiny of their family members.

(Benny Polatseck | Mayoral Photography Office)

“This is such a dark period, and we must find light and turn this painful moment into a purposeful moment. May God be with us all. Thank you very much.”

Congressmember Goldman, in his remarks, said it’s time to wipe out Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip.

“On Saturday morning at 6:30 I was lying in bed with my 9‑year‑old daughter on one side and my 5‑year‑old daughter on the other side, and sirens went off in Tel Aviv,” he said. “It is the well‑known signal in Israel but not well known to me or my family that there are rockets on their way. We had 90 seconds to get to the stairwell in the hotel until the possibility of the rocket landing on our hotel would happen.

“Thankfully, and in large part because of the tremendous partnership between the United States and Israel, the Iron Dome intercepted nearly all of those 2,200 rockets on Saturday morning.

“But the trauma that my children and I felt as we went back and forth to the stairwell as the sirens called out, as we heard the Iron Dome missiles intercepting the rockets, is nothing — nothing — compared to the trauma that so many of our brothers and sisters and family members in southern Israel have had to endure and continue to endure today.

“And make no mistake about it: This is not part of the Middle East conflict. This is not part of the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. This was a heinous terrorist act. Nothing less than absolute destruction. Indiscriminate, horrific murder, abduction, rape by an organization that is a terrorist organization.

“And like we did with Al‑Qaeda, and like we have done with ISIS, we must stand with Israel to eradicate the terrorist organization Hamas.

(Benny Polatseck | Mayoral Photography Office)

“And I say this not only as a proud Jewish member of Congress who supports the Jewish state of Israel, I say this as someone who believes deeply in democracy. And Israel is a true democratic ally. We must always stand in unison even when we have some disagreements — as we do here — with our democratic allies.

“But I also stand here to urge everyone to recognize that it is better for the Palestinian people, for them and all of the world to be rid of Hamas and to be rid of terrorism.

“The pathway to peace in the Middle East is through a partnership with those members of the Palestinian community who want peace, who want prosperity, who want success, who want democracy, and that is not Hamas. And we in Congress…will do absolutely everything that we need to do to make sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself against these horrific terrorist organizations and that Israel will always be able to be secure and safe, as the state of the Jewish people in a democratic nation in the Middle East.”

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