Some of Israel's most vocal opponents in Congress issued strong condemnations of the attack on Israel by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, united in their stance against the recent escalation of violence in Israel.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who is Muslim and who has been a vocal critic of Israel, expressed her deep concern over the unfolding tragedy.
"I condemn the horrific acts we are seeing unfold today in Israel against children, women, the elderly and the unarmed people who are being slaughtered and taken hostage by Hamas," Omar said. "Such senseless violence will only repeat the back-and-forth cycle we've seen, which we cannot allow to continue. We need to call for de-escalation and a cease-fire. I will keep advocating for peace and justice throughout the Middle East."
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., renowned for his progressive stance on international affairs, also unequivocally condemned the attacks.
"I absolutely condemn the horrifying attack on Israel by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. There is no justification for this violence, and innocent people on both sides will suffer hugely because of it. It must end now" he emphasized.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, a prominent progressive voice in Congress, expressed her sorrow for the victims and called for an immediate cease-fire.
"Today is devastating for all those seeking a lasting peace and respect for human rights in Israel and Palestine," she asserted. "I condemn Hamas' attack in the strongest possible terms. No child and family should ever endure this kind of violence and fear, and this violence will not solve the ongoing oppression and occupation in the region. An immediate cease-fire and de-escalation are urgently needed to save lives."
Another member of “The Squad” of progressive Democratic congressmen, New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman, who recently visited the Gaza border, joined the chorus of condemnation. He stressed the need for an end to the violence and called for efforts to secure peace in the region.
"I strongly condemn the horrific attacks by Hamas and am saddened by the loss of precious lives, especially on the holy day of Simchat Torah," Bowman said. "We need a way to end this deadly violence that is killing and traumatizing generations of Israelis and Palestinians alike, including the blockade of Gaza. I have been to the Gaza border and know that Israelis and Palestinians are constantly living in fear. We must work harder to ensure peace in the region."
Rep. Ayanna Pressley echoed the sentiment of her fellow Squad members, calling for a cease-fire and de-escalation. "These devastating attacks on Israelis are deeply alarming, and my heart breaks for the victims and their loved ones. It is long past time to stop this cycle of violence and trauma and work toward a just and lasting peace in the region," she said.
In a show of solidarity with Israel, the iconic Empire State Building in New York City was set to be illuminated in blue and white colors for an hour on Saturday night. This gesture comes in the wake of the Hamas attack, a stark contrast to past celebrations when the building donned celebratory colors during Independence Day festivities.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, acknowledging the city's large Jewish population, offered his support for Israel. He strongly condemned the unprovoked attack by Hamas and emphasized New York City's commitment to safeguarding its communities.
"New York City has the largest Jewish population in the world outside of Israel, and we stand side by side with Israel every day — but we do so with extra resolve today in light of Hamas’ unprovoked terrorist attacks directed at the country and its people," he said. "Today’s attack, coming at the end of what is supposed to be a celebratory time at the end of the Jewish High Holy days, is nothing more than a cowardly action by a terrorist organization seeking to undo that peace and divide us into factions. That won’t happen."
While there is currently no credible threat to New York City, the mayor assured that resources and security measures are in place to protect Jewish communities and houses of worship citywide. He also extended his condolences to the innocent lives lost in the attacks, expressing hope that no more families would experience the pain of losing a loved one."