Why Were We Beaten?”: Atrocity, Law, Beaten?”: Atrocity, Law, and Truth

On Easter Day, April 6, 1903, a violent mob attacked the Jewish population of Kishinev, killing forty-nine people and wounding hundreds. During two days of bloody massacre, about a third of the city was destroyed, leaving hundreds of Jewish families destitute, their meager belongings smashed, broken, torn, or stolen. Hospitals were overwhelmed with injured men, women, and children. Fluff and feathers from torn pillows covered the streets of Kishinev as if snow had fallen in the middle of a sunny spring. It clung to puddles of blood and dirt, settling on the trees and the rubble scattered across the streets. The Kishinev pogrom would be followed by several others, some even surpassing it in brutality, but it would remain etched in the memory of generations as a turning point in Jewish history and the history of the Russian Empire and Eastern Europe. The Hamas attack on October 7, 2023 again evoked the memory of Kishinev, supporting the historians’ claim about the pogrom’s lasting significance. The two events differ in their context and their scale: the carefully orchestrated terrorist operation carried out by the Gazan invaders equipped with advanced weaponry stands in stark contrast to the violence perpetrated by a mob of men and teenagers who brutally killed their neighbors and acquaintances using stones, clubs, metal pipes, and axes. Still, it is not unusual for a shocking event to trigger memories of past shocks and traumas despite all the differences. The common threads in this comparison are a deep understanding of the tragedy’s historical importance and an intensely felt need to uncover the truth about its causes. In the wake of the Hamas attack on October 7 and the conduct of the Israeli operation in Gaza, the avalanche of facts, coupled with a striking deficit in crucial details, created a sense

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