Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Jewish Caucus address crisis in Israel and Palestine
During the celebration of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, Gov. Josh Shapiro set up a traditional sukkah – an outdoor hut— at the Governor’s residence.
The holiday that is typically filled with joy ended October 6.
The next day, Hamas attacked Israel and that joy gave way to “sadness and anger,” he said.
Standing with members of the Jewish Legislative Caucus and Lt. Gov. Austin Davis, Gov. Josh Shapiro addressed the situation in Israel proclaiming hate of all forms is unacceptable.
In Pennsylvania, both chambers passed unanimous resolutions denouncing Hamas’ actions while reaffirming support for Israel.
Jewish Legislative Caucus Co-Chair Sen. Judy Schwank, D- Berks, praised both chambers.
“Their intention,” she said of Hamas, was not only to obliterate Israel but to strike fear in the hearts of Israelis and Jews all over the world. They have not succeeded.”
Schwank recalled a memory of her father returning from Israel in the 1960s.
He was in awe that there was “a country that not only welcomed Jews but was actually created for them.” Shapiro was critical of how some try to account for Hamas’ attacks.
“The whataboutism that is used by some to justify Hamas’s unprovoked actions is both ignorant and wrong, and it demonstrates a clear lack of understanding of the real history in the Middle East,” he said.
Israel’s retaliation against Hamas has been criticized by many, including United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
Shapiro emphasized that Hamas does not represent every Palestinian.
Rep. Dan Frankel, D- Allegheny, is the other co-chair of the Jewish Legislative Caucus. He closed out the address by recognizing the risk of hate crimes that could come as a result of the conflict.
“We know that this conflict stands to inflame existing hatred like anti-Semitism and Islamophobia,” Frankel said. “And I am determined to make sure that this commonwealth has the tools it needs to keep all our vulnerable communities safe.”