Talking Points and Educational Resources 

The Focus Project, a joint initiative of a broad coalition of US Jewish community organizations, has provided talking points to help you explain that the Hamas attacks were pure evil – NO ifs, ands, or buts. 

Talking Points 
You will hear, watch and read many lies, misrepresentations, what-ifs, what-about-isms and both-sidisms of reality over the coming days and weeks. Here is how you respond: 

  1. No ‘yeah-buts’, no ‘what-about’-isms and no excuses justify these horrendous crimes. 
    Whether you are a woman, man, or simply a human being, you must be outraged by the brutal rape and slaughter of innocent civilians. If not, then what values do we have as a society? The premeditated Hamas attacks intentionally targeted innocent Jews in their homes celebrating a Jewish holiday and the weekly sabbath. No matter where you are from, what tribe you belong to or what you believe in, these barbaric acts can never be tolerated, let alone supported. 
  2. Hamas terrorists are inhumane monsters who committed crimes against humanity. 
    Hamas is not a freedom fighting resistance movement. It is a radical, misogynistic terror organization, committing rape, torture and genocide with only one goal – the extermination of the Jewish state. In fact, Hamas causes just as much harm to the Palestinian people they govern. The horrific violations of international humanitarian law prove a blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life and the principles that underpin a civilized society. 
  3. There is no moral equivalence between Israelis and Palestinian terrorists. 
    Israel is a democratic nation committed to the protection of human rights. Iran’s radical Islamist leaders and its proxies are dedicated to the extermination of all Israelis – especially Jews. Democratic societies uphold the principles of due process, justice and proportionality in their efforts to safeguard citizens. In stark contrast, Hamas barbarians’ blatant disregard of these principles by deliberately targeting innocent civilians, launching rockets from densely populated areas and using human shields as part of their strategy. Such actions are fundamentally immoral and run counter to the most basic values of humanity. Intentionally harming civilians is morally indefensible. 
  4. Iran and Hamas are to blame for the savage attacks, not Israel. 
    Opponents of Israel are placing blame for the murders, kidnappings and rocket barrages on the Jewish state and its victims. There is NO justification for beheading babies, slaughtering 260 Israelis at a music festival, kidnapping Holocaust survivors and butchering families in their homes. Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, including its proxies, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran’s longstanding support – financially and militarily – has emboldened terrorists to carry out these brutal attacks, undermining regional stability and demonstrating an utter disregard for the sanctity of human life. Blaming Israel for defending its citizens against such savagery is a perverse denial of the truth. 
  5. Palestinian terrorists intentionally target civilians, the Israeli military does not. 
    Hamas terrorists do not wear military uniforms; they blend in with civilians. These evildoers build bases, store bombs and launch rockets from civilian neighborhoods. On the other hand, Israel is recognized by world military leaders for being exemplary in the care taken to avoid civilian casualties. The IDF notifies Palestinians before taking out Hamas sites in Gaza. Hamas did not provide any warning before butchering Israelis celebrating outside and sleeping inside. There is no defense for the crimes against humanity committed by Hamas and its allies. 

MYTH: Israel is not interested in peace with the Palestinians 
FACT: Israel has created peace and normalization with five Arab countries in the region and entered into peace accords with the Palestinians called the Oslo Accords. Israel has accepted proposals related to a two-state solution on five different occasions while the Palestinians have rejected each one including an offer of 93.5% of territory in the West Bank and Gaza and a share of East Jerusalem. 

MYTH: Israel is an apartheid state 
FACT: Israel is a democratic nation with safeguards designed to ensure the equal treatment of all citizens – Jewish and Arab. Israeli laws and democratic institutions, including the independent courts and robust free press, are assigned to uphold and speak out for these rights. Israeli Arab citizens serve as judges, ambassadors, legislators, journalists, professors, artists and play prominent roles in all aspects of Israeli society. And for the first time, in 2021, an Islamist Arab political party is a partner in a governing coalition. 

MYTH: Gaza is an open-air prison 
FACT: Hamas is the ruling authority in Gaza and has been responsible for the well-being of Palestinian citizens there since this terrorist organization took over in 2005. Israel supplies Gaza with only 50 percent of its electricity and 13 percent of its water supply. Gaza is not cut off from the outside world. In the last year, the markets of Gaza have been flooded with produce and merchandise. The border of Gaza and Israel is guarded on the Israeli side just as any sovereign nation monitors its borders. 

MYTH: Israel is engaged in genocide 
FACT: There is no Israeli ideology, movement, policy or plan to exterminate or expel the Palestinian population. In fact, the country’s Palestinian population has more than doubled since 1997. Supporters of Hamas use the term “genocide” to demonize the state of Israel’s efforts to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks. 

MYTH: “From the River to the Sea” is a slogan for Palestinian independence 
FACT: This slogan advocates for the state of Israel not to exist and for all Jews to be expelled. It is a call for the genocide of Jews, not peaceful co-existence. 

MYTH: Antisemitism is not a big problem in the United States 
FACT: Over 55% of all religiously motivated hate crimes targeted the Jewish community in 2022, despite being just 2.4% of the US population. Since Hamas’ terrorist attack of Israel on October 7, 2023, preliminary studies show an increase of harassment, vandalism and assault targeting Jewish people of 388 percent. At the same time, reports found more than 100 anti-Israel rallies in the U.S. that explicitly or implicitly supported Hamas and/or violence against Jews in October 2023. 

From PJ Library and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation: 

Processing the horrific attack on Israel is difficult. Explaining it to a child can feel borderline impossible. It’s helpful to: 

1. Take the cues from your child 

2. Model calm 

3. Be reassuring 

4. Help children express their feelings 

5. Be developmentally appropriate 

If you are struggling to navigate conversations about events in Israel with your children or grandchildren, links and resources are available on the PJ Library website, including: 

General information about Israel

Understanding the map of Israel

How to talk to kids about scary situations

How to talk to children about antisemitism

Additional resources for talking with children about the war: 

Unpacked for Educators can provide everything you need to teach about this moment—webinars, current event and historical videos, podcasts, lesson plans, and articles—all featured on their UED site

The Jewish Education Project also has a collection of resources for teaching about Israel in crisis. 

Words Can Make a Difference! is a collection of educator resources from the National Library of Israel 

3 ways to discuss the situation with your students (from Unpacked for Educators): 

  1. Moral Clarity 
    Let your students know that there is no moral equivalency between Hamas and Israel. Too many media commentators draw a disturbing parallel between Israel and Hamas, implying that they are morally equivalent and equally to blame for the violence. Let’s make no mistake about it. Hamas is a terrorist group (officially designated this way by the U.S., European Union, Israel, Canada, Japan and others) that is attacking and firing rockets indiscriminately at Israeli citizens. Israel is a sovereign country that is defending its citizens through targeted airstrikes aimed at terrorist leaders or military operations. 
  2. Start with Areyvut (accountability or responsibility) 
    A guiding principle in Jewish thought is the idea that all Jews are responsible for one another. How can we inspire young Jews who live outside of Israel to care deeply about their extended Jewish family in southern Israel and throughout the country? Many Jewish people in Israel are feeling scared right now. The images of grandmothers, children and young women being dragged into Gaza as hostages (and many other horrifying images) are extremely painful to see. As a people, we must first and foremost be there for our people. 
  3. Encourage your students to use social media responsibly 
    Give your students these key messages: Do not get into a fight on social media if you don’t know the person or if you don’t know the facts of the story. Take the conversation offline whenever possible and try not to respond in the heat of the moment. Ultimately, use your channel to educate those around you. Additionally, students should be conscious of the toll this can have on their mental health. A lot of footage being shared is graphic and should be avoided. Students (and adults) should take breaks when needed. 

Shareable Content For Social Media

Download and post these messages of support to your social media accounts. 
(Right click on the image you wish to use and select “Save image as” to save the image to your computer.)