“I mourn the tragic, brutal deaths of people in Israel at the hands of Hamas and the tragic, brutal Palestinian deaths from bombings by Israeli military forces.
I will not join in rhetoric that diminishes Palestinian or Israeli deaths as consequences of injustice or as casualties that must happen in response to terrorism. Children are being annihilated and families wiped out in the midst of our debates and denouncements. And our discourse sinks lower and lower into dangerous speech and provocation of more violence.
“Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
These words from my father remind us that violence is a descending spiral and a destructive force that leaves behind a trail of suffering, hate, and desolation, affecting generations to come. As you read them, please consider how we each can be a purveyor for true peace.
I call on political, civic and faith leaders in the U.S. and in other nations to work for true peace in Israel and Gaza. True peace includes truth; understanding our interconnectedness; exploring humane pathways forward; and justice, which my father defined as “love correcting everything that stands against love.”