On “On the Israel and Palestine Issue, context matters”

Recently, a large group of arts and humanities college faculty signed a public letter published by The Diamondback. We agree with the writers that context matters, but we do not agree that the context is, in their words, “a 75-year ongoing history of the dispossession of Palestinians from their homes and land.”

The Diamondback’s readers should be aware that there are historians who view that “75-year ongoing history” very differently. It is a history of numerous offers of a two-state solution that were repeatedly rejected by Palestinian leaders since 1947. It is also a history of Islamist antisemitism that first emerged in the 1930s in Palestine, received support from the Nazi regime during World War II and persisted in the Islamist religious fundamentalism advanced by the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is an offshoot.

What the authors euphemistically refer to as “the events of Oct. 7” were mass murders that found ideological justification in the Hamas Charters of 1988 and 2017. Hamas has been perfectly clear that its intention is to resort to war and terror with the aim of destroying the state of Israel — an intention captured in the mantra “Free Palestine, from the river to the sea,” a phrase that comes from the Hamas Charter of 2017. It remains an ideology and policy of unabashed Jew-hatred, a fact the signers also decline to mention.

The signers express understandable concern for the lives of civilians in Gaza. If Hamas truly cared about the lives of the people it claims to represent, it would surrender now. In the absence of surrender, the path forward to peace in this conflict must take the form of an Israeli military victory to end Hamas’ 17-year rule of terror and antisemitic hatred.


Professor Jeffrey Herf

Distinguished University Professor, Emeritus in the Department of History


This letter represents the opinion of other university professors, including

Professor Gilad Chen, Associate Dean for Research and Robert H. Smith Chair in Organizational Behavior in the Robert H. Smith School of Business

Professor Brent Goldfarb, Dean’s Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Robert H. Smith School of Business

Professor Bruce Golden, France-Merrick Chair in Management Science in the Robert H. Smith School of Business

Emanuel Zur, Associate Dean of MS Programs in the Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Diamondback accepts letters to the editor that are fewer than 300 words and relate directly to an article or opinion column we have published in the last two weeks. We do not accept open letters or pieces that have been submitted elsewhere. Please email submissions to opinionumdbk@gmail.com with your full name and affiliation to the university or the city.