I am a Jew and I can’t stay silent.

Israel Palestinians What's Next

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel on Nov. 12. As the military sets its sights on southern Gaza in its campaign to stamp out Hamas, key challenges loom. Leo Correa/Associated Press

The murders on Oct. 7 by Hamas fighters were beyond awful. Children, older people, women and men were slaughtered. Approximately 1,200 Jews were killed that day. More than 200 Jews were captured and are still held by Hamas somewhere in Gaza. Jews in Israel, in the United States and elsewhere have been deeply shaken and angered. I was among them. The response of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government has been beyond awful. The IDF (Israel Defense Force) has killed more than 11,000 people, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. Of that 11,000, 4,500 were children and 3,000 were women. The number of Gazans estimated to have been injured by the Israeli military is above 27,000. The hospitals in Gaza are in grave difficulty. Doctors Without Borders described a desperate situation at the Al-Shifa Hospital: “Dr. Marwan Abusada, a surgeon at the hospital …  said Saturday that one infant died “because we did not have electricity.” He confirmed the deaths of two more babies on Sunday. Thirty-six other children were at risk. Dr Abusada said: “If they stay in this condition, they are going to all die.”CNN recorded an American nurse working in Gaza. She described the situation at the last place where she and her fellow health care professionals were stationed. “There were 35,000 internally displaced people living beside us. There were children with just massive burns down the faces and down their necks and limbs … Parents are coming to us (saying) please, can you help? But we have no supplies.” The Israeli government is not allowing nearly enough medical supplies that could save the lives of these children into Gaza. This is unconscionable. Last week, tens of thousands of people across the United States – from Portland to Orono to California and Washington, D.C. – gathered to advocate for a ceasefire to allow Gazans to gain water, food, electricity and safety. I walked with thousands in D.C. I carried a placard that read: “Jews Say Cease Fire Now.”   President Biden was able to send a small amount of aid to Gazans. At the same time, he is providing weapons to the IDF to continue to carry out the bombing and deaths of those same Gazans. He needs to stop providing those weapons, at least until Gazan civilians are safe. I teach a class at College of the Atlantic on genocide. My students learn that genocide occurs when someone engages, in whole or in part, in the killing of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. When President Biden decided to give Israel weapons, he most likely did not know that Prime Minister Netanyahu was planning to engage in violence toward civilians in Gaza. However, when it became clear that Netanyahu was targeting civilians, Biden should have stopped providing those weapons. President Biden and his secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, both expressed their concerns. At that point, the president should have stopped giving weapons to Israel. That he did not do this opens him up to a charge of assisting in genocide.  It is not too late for President Biden to stop providing weapons that kill and maim innocent Gazans.John F. Kennedy wrote a book about Americans who made difficult stands on important issues. The actions taken by each of the people Kennedy wrote about may have cost them votes or favor. The name of the book was “Profiles in Courage.” I read it in primary school and several times later.This could be President Biden’s profile-in-courage moment. But his time is running out. Too many Gazans are dying.

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