By Brad Chambers
As the horrific videos, images and media reports came out of Israel on October 7, 2023, we all had a choice to make… a choice in how we would react to what we saw.
To the videos of innocent concertgoers gunned down as they fled for their lives, and of hostages being rounded up. To the images of blood-covered walls and bedsheets in children’s rooms, and of headless bodies in the streets. To the number of innocent Israelis murdered displayed on our TV screens.
For most of us, our reaction was one of horror, of disgust, of heartbreak. But for some, the reaction was one of indifference — or even worse — of justification. Meanwhile, our Jewish friends and neighbors were forced to relive the history and the pain of what we swore we would never let happen again.
This lack of moral clarity has been astonishing and disturbing. It revealed that the rot of antisemitism continues to permeate throughout our country.
In fact, in the two months after Hamas launched its barbaric brutal attack, the Anti-Defamation League reported the highest number of antisemitic incidents in a two-month period since they began tracking them back in 1979.
I believe we must speak with moral clarity — especially those who lead us and those who hope to one day lead their fellow citizens.
So, allow me to do so now: First, there is no ambiguity as to what occurred on October 7, 2023. It was evil. Second, antisemitism, in any form, must be strongly denounced. Third, Israel has a right to exist.
Just days after the attack, I joined hundreds of my fellow Hoosiers to stand in solidarity with the Jewish people at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis. Since then, I have met with the Counsel General of Israel to the Midwest and held a listening session with countless leaders in the Jewish community to better understand what Indiana can do to support Israel and its people both here and abroad.
And as I seek to become Indiana’s next governor, I feel it necessary to state clearly just what I would do.
We know those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. That is why we must ensure that all Hoosier students are receiving a good, thorough education on the horrors of the Holocaust.
But we can do even more outside of the classroom. As governor, I will work with the state legislature and philanthropic community to support institutions such as the CANDLES Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute to help them further their mission and reach even more Hoosiers.
Nobody should be fearful to practice or express their faith in a country founded on religious freedom. That is why, as governor, I will work with the state legislature to provide additional funding for enhanced security measures for at-risk community institutions, especially those in the Jewish community.
Importantly, we must appropriately define the nemesis we are seeking to combat. That is why Indiana must adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism into state code, and I applaud the state legislature for working to do just that this legislative session.
Lastly, the economic and cultural bonds between Indiana and Israel are time-tested. And during my tenure as Indiana’s Secretary of Commerce, we actively worked to strengthen these bonds through the efforts of our Israel-based office. But we can and should do more to support our ally, especially as they continue to wage war to root out Hamas. As governor, I will seek to increase trade with Israel and make Indiana a leading recipient of Israeli direct investment.
“Never again” must be now.
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