Setting the record straight about Hamas

JCRC responds to letter condemning Sen. Ron Latz's remarks at anti-BDS press conference

Nov. 30, 2023

Minneapolis, MN — Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, released the following statement:

At yesterday’s State Capitol press conference, Senator Ron Latz, Jewish leaders, and Israeli community members condemned the BDS movement and Hamas as two of the main obstacles to a two-state solution where Israelis and Palestinians can each have their needs for justice, dignity, and security met.

In painstaking detail, Sen. Latz outlined the atrocities committed by Hamas against Israelis and others on October 7.  Sen. Latz’s fifteen minutes of remarks also referenced the indoctrination of children in Gaza and the West Bank as an explanation for why such atrocities happened and why we do not have a two-state solution.

A letter from Sen. Latz’s colleagues alleged that his description of Gaza as “poisonous [to Israel]” and asserting that “Palestinian youth dream of the opportunity to achieve glory and even martyrdom by killing as many Jews as possible” were “hateful, prejudicial and demonstrably false claims.”

We must all be immensely cautious to avoid using generalizations and dehumanizing language about people due to their national, racial, religious, ethnic, or other identity. There is nothing hateful, prejudicial, or false in describing Hamas – a terrorist dictatorship guilty of war crimes against both Israelis and the Palestinians it governs – as toxic.

Outrageously, Palestinian state media and education systems in Gaza and the West Bank indoctrinate children to believe antisemitic lies and that martyrdom achieved by killing Israeli civilians – including Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Druze – is an honorable fate. Evidence supports this claim (see Sen. Latz’ citations here, and more evidence of the problem here, here, here, and here).

Additionally, the other claims made by Sen. Latz regarding the atrocities committed by Hamas on and since October 7 are also demonstrably true. Such atrocities include:

  • Hamas terrorists raping, then murdering and mutilating women by cutting off their breasts (UK Jewish News);
  • A Hamas video from a kibbutz shows terrorists torturing a pregnant woman and removing her fetus (Newsweek);
  • Israeli forensic scientists have found bodies of women and girls raped with such violence that their pelvic bones were broken (The Forward);
  • Videos widely disseminated show a woman hostage in Gaza, still alive, in bloodied pants held captive at gunpoint being pulled into a jeep by her hair (CNN); and
  • 12-year-old Eitan Yahalomi, a child from Kibbutz Nir Oz spent over 50 days being tortured. Hamas forced him to watch recordings of the atrocities in Israel repeatedly. Eitan was threatened that he would be beaten if he did not watch, and that he would be killed if he or any other kidnapped child started crying. (The Guardian)

We agree with Sen. Latz’s colleagues that “we must be able to have difficult conversations while maintaining respect for the humanity of everyone.” Essential to such conversations is the acknowledgment that the atrocities committed by Hamas are evil and without justification.

We invite those who signed the letter and others who wish to uplift everyone’s humanity to engage with us.


As the consensus public affairs voice of the Jewish community, JCRC builds relationships to fight antisemitism and bigotry; educates about Judaism, Israel, antisemitism, and the Holocaust; advocates for Jewish values and priorities; and safeguards our community.