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Gov. Maura Healey, elected officials ‘stand with Israel’ amid attacks

Thousands gathered in Boston Common to hear Massachusetts elected officials’ support for Israel on Monday, two days after Hamas launched an unprecedented attack that has killed more than 1,000 people. 

In response to the attacks, the Israeli government has retaliated by striking the Gaza Strip killing at least 800 people, according to ABC News.

Gov. Maura Healey, Sen. Ed Markey, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Mayor Michelle Wu in Boston Common on Monday. Massachusetts-elected officials gathered alongside members and allies of the Jewish community to show support for Israel following the Hamas attacks earlier this week. SARAH CRUZ/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

Gov. Maura Healey, Sen. Ed Markey, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Michelle Wu, organizers of Jewish organizations and members and friends of the Massachusetts Jewish community were among the 20 speakers who spoke to the crowd, many holding the Israel flag alongside the American flag. All of the speakers had a similar message: They are standing in solidarity with Israel.

Our support is unwavering,” Healey said. “Massachusetts stands with Israel now and always, today and on all the days ahead.”

Healey emphasized how Israel contributed to Boston during the Marathon Bombing.

“[Israel] has been here for us in our darkest hour,” Healey said. “When the Boston Marathon was bombed 10 years ago, the [Massachusetts General Hospital] emergency teams had been trained by Israeli counterparts on how to respond to mass casualties and that training saved lives in Massachusetts … so we will be here for you, as you have always been here for us.”

Later in the event, Markey suggested a “deescalation” of this violence and was met with several loud boos from the crowd.

“Hamas wants continued instability, not normalization,” Markey said. “That is why the United States and the international community must keep pushing for diplomacy and the ending of civilian casualties on all sides. There must be a deescalation of the current violence.”

When he was cut-off by boos, Markey paused, then continued his speech.

“Many of you have family in Israel now and many more have those who have lived through brutal wars to ensure the ongoing survival of the Jewish state,” Markey said. “We grieve with you.”

The end of Markey’s speech was met with weak cheers after he condemned antisemitism and called for peace. Congressman Jake Auchincloss presented a different perspective after Markey’s speech. 

“Deescalation is not possible when they [Hamas] are taking hostages and Israel did not ask America to deescalate on September 12, 2001,” Auchincloss said.

Erica Daniels-Strater, chief operating officer of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, highlighted President Biden’s remarks regarding the conflict. 

We all reinforced that President Biden said that Israel has a right to defend itself,” Daniels-Strater wrote. “Israelis will defend themselves, they will endure and they will have justice for the horrors of this past Shabbat.”

Wu said although she does not have personal connections to the conflict in Israel, she stands in solidarity with Israel and with the Jewish community in Boston.

“Now I feel a little bit nervous even being up here,” Wu said. “I am a city official, my jurisdiction doesn’t even cross the Charles River, much less the ocean. But in Boston, for 400 years, we have always taken very seriously that responsibility to stand and speak out with moral clarity.”

Warren said she is “committed to Israel safety and security.”

“I am here to stand in solidarity, but standing in solidarity does not mean standing still,” Warren said. “Standing in solidarity means action, it means shouldering the obligations of a strong and faithful ally.”

Daniels-Strater said she and the JCRC are strengthened by the community that surrounds them in Boston.

“We are obviously saddened about why we had to gather, but fortified with how Boston has once again, in times of deep anguish, outrage and anxiety, showed up to be in community to support our Boston Israeli and Boston Jewish communities and our brothers and sisters in Israel,” Daniels-Strater wrote.

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