Saturday, July 20, 2024

We are deeply saddened, angered and disturbed by the recent attack on Israel. We condemn the Hamas attack on Israel as a terrorist attack. We condemn the support for Hamas that took place in the form of a rally on the front steps of City Hall. While we affirm the right of citizens to peaceably assemble and express their views – even views we disagree with vehemently – we strongly object to the timing, tone and sentiment of this rally.

One can support Palestinians and condemn Hamas unequivocally, and we do. And no matter how one feels about Israel and Palestine, an attack on a dance party for young people, on families and on whole towns, and taking civilian hostages and parading bodies as trophies should be condemned for what it is: terrorism. And we must recognize that the blood of thousands of innocent people, in Israel and in Gaza, is being spilled due to the unconscionable actions of Hamas.

We also denounce the doxing of individual students in our city in an effort to intimidate and harm those students. We note that we do not support all actions of the Israeli government, and believe that Palestinian rights should be respected and a homeland created, as long as it does not erase Israel as a homeland for Jews. This is a terribly fraught, painful time that affects so many of us, and we offer our deepest prayers and condolences as events unfold overseas and urge all members of the Cambridge community to move forward with empathy, understanding and grace toward one another.

E. Denise Simmons, Patty Nolan and Paul Toner


The dreadful attacks on Israel by Hamas – 1,300 people killed at a music festival and in nearby towns, and many more missing or taken hostage – have left me searching for words. Many in our Jewish and Israeli communities have shared horrifying stories, and my heart aches thinking of all the friends and families awaiting updates anxiously on their loved ones. Violence, especially against innocent civilians, is fundamentally wrong.

I’ve been hearing from Muslim and Palestinian community members. The uncertainty of the future weighs heavily on them, especially with the Israeli government adding restrictions on basic supplies such as water and electricity. There’s deeply concerning news that Israel is using white phosphorus, forcing 1.1 million Palestinians to leave their homes, and 1,900 people have already been killed. I worry about the death toll and reiterate that violence against innocent civilians is fundamentally wrong.

This is a challenging period, and emotions run high. Closer to home, it broke my heart to learn that the Palestinian Cultural Center was vandalized with the word “Nazis,” and on the steps of our City Hall, some were justifying continuing the horrific killing of Israeli civilians as suitable resistance. Students have been doxxed and threatened. We must stand against the growing tide of Islamophobia and antisemitism in my community. I appeal to all of you to approach these times with understanding, patience, and compassion.

Burhan Azeem 


The ongoing events in Israel and Palestine are nothing short of hideous and tragic. The senseless killing of innocent civilians, including vulnerable children, and the merciless taking of hostages is not only deeply horrifying but also completely indefensible. I strongly condemn these heinous acts committed by Hamas against the people of Israel.

Simultaneously, my heart goes out to the people of Gaza who are losing their lives in this conflict. There is absolutely nothing positive to be found in war. The loss of innocent lives is a gruesome reality that should never be acceptable.

It is my firm belief that Israel has a fundamental right to exist. At the same time, I firmly stand by the Palestinians’ right to live in freedom. I continue to hold onto the hope that a two-state solution can be achieved, leading to a lasting peace in the region.

As we navigate through these tumultuous world issues locally, I wish for the safety and well-being of everyone in Cambridge. It is imperative that we as a community prioritize compassion, keep the space for the communication of our feelings and opinions with clarity and conviction, and commit to doing so with respect.

Marc McGovern

The writers are Cambridge city councillors.