Today, I want to tell you about my nephew in Lima, Peru (while I am American, half of my family lives in and is from Peru). My nephew is four years old and like many four year old boys, he loves soccer. He enjoys watching the game as much as he loves to play it.
Besides soccer, my nephew loves his dog. They are best friends.
And lastly, my nephew loves going to school. He’s at that age where there is not yet much difference between class time and playtime. My nephew sees school as getting to spend his day with his friends. After school he loves to be with his big brother and his parents - who are my cousin and her husband.
Sadly however, my nephew did not get to go to school on Friday. My nephew’s school was closed Friday, because they feared that the school would be a target, since Hamas declared Friday – on the Sabbath no less – a global “Day of Rage.”
According to Hamas, my nephew is guilty. His crime? He is Jewish and attends a Jewish day school. My cousin converted to Judaism upon marrying her husband, and is raising their children – my nephews – in this beautiful faith.
On Thursday, my nephew landed in a hospital with a bad cough. Thankfully, he’s at home now, and feeling better. But as a result of that cough, he was not going to go to school anyways. So now, my cousin and her husband face a choice:
Do they rip away his innocence and explain to him why he would not have been able to go to school even if he had not been sick?
Does he need to be told right now that there are people in the world who hate him just for being alive? Or do they let him simply love soccer, his dog, and his friends, just a little longer?
Sadly, it seems he will be told the truth about our world sooner than his parents would have wanted to. Among the more than 1,300 people murdered by Hamas last week, were two Peruvians, and three remain missing.
At this time, the United States is strongly supporting Israel, as it should, after Hamas perpetrated a pogrom that resulted in the deadliest single day for Jews since the Holocaust. Looking beyond Israel, all who have a role in diplomacy or policymaking in Washington D.C., must push for U.S. partners and allies to protect members of the Jewish community across the world, including in Latin America.
Schools need protection. Synagogues need protection. Children and their families need protection.
Lastly, to anyone who like myself is not Jewish but has family members and friends who are, in response to Friday's “Day of Rage,” instead, please commit a defiant Act of Love.
Tell your Jewish family members that you love them.
Tell your Jewish friends that you love them.
Tell anyone who will listen, that to stand with Israel against Hamas, is to stand for love.
A mi familia en el Perú – los quiero mucho y les mando un abrazo fuerte desde los EEUU.
Am Yisrael Chai.
J.P. Carroll is a Senior Fellow for National Security and Inclusive Governance with the Joseph Rainey Center for Public Policy. Follow him on X - formerly known as Twitter - @JPCarrollDC1