Photo Credit: Zeev Stein Wikimedia
Pictures of victims of the massacre that occurred at the Re'im music festival on October 7, 2023

I have never been more disappointed with my fellow Arabs as I have been since October 7. I have long been opposed to the way Arabs have treated Israel and the Jewish people. I have denounced Arab rejection of the Jewish state, Arab violence against Israel, and the many other unjust actions that the Arab world has taken against Israel over the years, but October 7 brought that reality to another level.

Arab antisemitism is not new. It is much older than modern Israel, but despite that checkered history, October 7 was a new low that can never be forgotten or forgiven.


October 7 was particularly horrific because of what the Arab terrorists did, including the sexual violence and the murder and kidnappings of young children. But even more than that, it was horrific because of the Arab celebrations that followed, not only in Palestinian-controlled areas but also abroad, including in Western capitals. This is the image that we showed of ourselves to the world while decent people everywhere were shocked and horrified by the viciousness of the October 7 attacks.

But I would have found some comfort in my own Arab community if I had at least seen condemnation of the October 7 attacks, but those condemnations were few and far between.

Even among my Arab friends and family, both Muslims and Christians, almost no one has publicly condemned the attack. The silence is deafening, and more than deafening, it is heartbreaking.

I can’t say that based on past events, my expectations of my own Arab community were high, but even by those low expectations, I was hugely disappointed.

I have seen many of my friends and family members publicly express grief about the death and destruction in Gaza, which is certainly understandable. And they have consistently supported demands for a ceasefire which is perhaps forgivable, even if not supported by facts since a premature ceasefire would ensure the survival of Hamas and therefore would ensure that there are more wars in Gaza.

But what is not understandable or forgivable is the total lack of compassion towards the victims of October 7, including the hostages. What is not understandable or forgivable is the failure to unequivocally condemn the October 7 attack. I have waited for those condemnations. I even begged for them. The lack of response was as consistent as it was disturbing.

My friends and family members instead condemned Israel for defending itself, and in doing so, they supported the October 7 massacre, even if only indirectly.

One place where Arab condemnation of the October 7 massacre was significant, although not unanimous, was among the Arab community in Israel. Ra’am party chairman Mansour Abbas, for example, spoke out against the attack and against Palestinian terrorism in general. But that is not enough, and even Mansour Abbas was forced to soften his condemnation of Palestinian terrorism due to disapproval within his own Arab Israeli community.

It is sad, it is infuriating, it is depressing, that the Arab community cannot do better than this. Despite decades of Arab animosity towards Israel, despite repeated Arab rejection of a Jewish state of any size, despite several unnecessary wars imposed by Arabs on Israel, despite decades of anti-Israel terrorism often funded by Arab countries, despite systematic Arab support for even the most absurd anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations, and despite decades of using the Palestinian refugees as a tool against Israel, October 7 showed that we as an Arab community had not yet hit the bottom of the barrel. Now we have.

It is hard to imagine anything worse than October 7. As Stephen Harper, former prime minister of Canada wrote, “This may not have been a Holocaust in scale, but it was in kind. And, for the Israeli nation, born as it was in the shadow of the Holocaust, it can be interpreted no other way.”

But my Arab community has long rejected any attempt to try to understand Israel or the Jewish people, or even to act decently towards them. Will we ever learn, will we ever evolve beyond the worst forms of antisemitism? If we have not learned from October 7 then I fear that we will never learn from anything.

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Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected.