No Hate in Our States

By Myra Clark-Siegel, AJC Westchester/Fairfield Regional Director

Women’s History Month: Believe Israeli Women. 


March is Women’s History Month, celebrating the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. In part, the month was selected to coincide with March 8, International Women’s Day. 

For Women’s History Month 2024, I have one message: BELIEVE ISRAELI WOMEN!

On October 7, Hamas terrorists broke into Israel, kidnapped and murdered Israelis and citizens from over 40 countries, all in a well-planned, well-coordinated terror attack. 

Hamas terrorists intentionally committed horrific, well-documented acts of sexual attacks on women and girls – and men – by using sexual violence as a form of terror and war. 

The Hamas terrorists FILMED these horrific war crimes, intentionally demonstrating that they wanted the world to see and celebrate their heinous crimes. 

Throughout the year, women’s organizations across the United States and around the world tell us how important it is to stand against gender and sexual violence. 

And yet, most have been SILENT in the face of Hamas’ heinous attacks. 

How can these same women’s organizations that champion the imperative to believe women somehow avert their eyes when it comes to Hamas’ assaults on Israeli women? 

Overtly or implicitly, these purported champions of “Me Too” somehow not only look away when it comes to Hamas’ attacks on women but worse, they attempt to justify these heinous war crimes. 

Women and teenage girls continue to be held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. The reports by the few hostages who have returned tell horror stories of the ongoing physical violations of female Israeli hostages. 

We would NEVER allow victim blaming or shaming in other cases of violence against women. 

Somehow, it’s different when it’s about Jews. 

All of this also takes place against the backdrop of skyrocketing antisemitism in the United States. 

What’s more, our traditional allies have left the Jewish community feeling abandoned by the very communities we have stood with together against all types of hate facing their communities. 

AJC’s newly released 2023 State of Antisemitism in America Report – the most comprehensive study of its kind – has measured the impact of antisemitism on Jewish Americans and the findings are alarming.

Three major takeaways from AJC’s new report underscore the need for all of society to come together – to believe Israeli women – and to stand with their Jewish sisters and brothers – against Hamas’ terror: 

1.    Hamas’ massacre of Israelis made most American Jews feel less safe.

2. For most American Jews, Israel is important to their Jewish identity.

Eight in ten American Jews said caring about Israel is important to what being Jewish means to them.

3. Rising antisemitism is changing everyday life for American Jews in the workplace, online, and especially on college campuses.

One in four (26%) American Jews with a current or recent connection to a college campus (as a parent or student) said they avoided expressing their views on Israel because of fears of antisemitism. One in four (24%) said they felt uncomfortable or unsafe at a campus event because they are Jewish.

The data reveals a path forward.

More Americans recognize that there is a problem and want to know more and do more. State and local governments should include contemporary antisemitism in public school curricula. Perhaps most noteworthy, nine in ten Americans, both Jews and U.S. adults, say antisemitism affects society as a whole, and everyone is responsible for combating it.

During this women’s history month, it begins with believing Israeli women. 

Myra Clark-Siegel is AJC Westchester/Fairfield regional director. To get involved or request an AJC speaker, visit AJC@westchester.org.