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Anya Gorder: What’s happening in Israel is terrorism. Call it what it is.

A terrible thing happened on Saturday, and it was wrong. Every caring person should condemn it.

(Ohad Zwigenberg | The Associated Press) Destroyed cars are seen at the rave party site near the Kibbutz Re'im, close to the Gaza Strip border fence, on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. Israel's rescue service Zaka said paramedics had recovered at least 260 bodies of people killed in a surprise attack by Hamas militants Saturday.

On Saturday, more Jews were killed in a single day than on any day since the Holocaust. Videos and photos of Israeli men, women and children being murdered, raped and abused have taken over my news and social media feeds. I am 18, Jewish and a college student.

What happened this week was an act of terrorism, that much is clear. While I know that all Palestinians are not terrorists, I am shocked to see the groundswell of support for these atrocities by misguided people all over the United States.

Never in my life have I seen people who claim to be “liberal activists” justify the actions of a terrorist organization. Especially on such a huge scale. In no world is it appropriate to celebrate what has been taking place in Israel, regardless of your personal or political beliefs. This is not about politics, this is about human lives, Jewish lives, being ended before their time, yet again.

I identify as liberal. As a liberal, I support religious freedom, marriage equality and equity for all. I like to think that people who self-identify as liberal care about other people, that we can separate the people from their government or situation and look past that with outstretched arms. This seems to be the response to suffering and injustice for every group except the Jewish people. It is counterintuitive that you can be liberal while calling terrorists freedom fighters, but here we are.

It’s scary to live in a country where so many people seem not to get this. When I see students on college campuses standing by Hamas, an organization that openly and consistently says it wants to eradicate both Jews and Israel, I feel betrayed.

It’s also concerning that these demonstrators have no shame about their position. It shows that they view Jewish people as sub-human on some conscious or subconscious level. My parents always taught me that all humans are equal in the eyes of G-d. My love and sadness also extend to the Palestinian people, because I see them as human beings.

I wish there were peace between Israel and all the surrounding nations. But, when Hamas makes that impossible, we arrive at an impasse.

[Read more: Utahns share their perspectives on what’s happening in Israel and Palestine]

Here at home, it’s impossible to feel safe when just “Jewish existence” is so controversial. I am proud of who I am and the lessons of my faith. But I often feel I have to hide my Jewish identity.

For some reason, people feel this need to polarize everything and, in this instance, polarization isn’t working. There is a long history of mutual contempt from both sides and at the end of the day, nobody deserves to die because of rhetoric.

I hope people outside the conflict educate themselves, and — if they really care about human rights — take the time to learn what’s going on. Don’t base all of your opinions on an infographic that your favorite celebrity posts online. Thousands of years of history can’t be put into four pretty slides.

A terrible thing happened on Saturday, and it was wrong. Every caring person should condemn it — including Palestinians. Silence is complicity. Murder is murder. As humans, we should be unified in calling this an act of terror and we should be unified in our hope for peace.

Anya Gorder

Anya Gorder is a college student in Utah.