FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 12, 2023
NCJW and Global Women Leaders Demand Immediate Release Of Israeli Hostages in Gaza
Gal Gadot, Helen Mirren, Debra Messing, Amy Schumer, Montana Tucker, Mandy Moore Among Celebrity Signatories of Letter
WASHINGTON – A diverse group of women leaders that includes celebrities, politicians and activists – in a letter just published by National Council of Jewish Women – called on international governments and well-known human rights groups to demand the immediate release of all hostages, including women and children, now being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The signatories include celebrities Gal Gadot, Helen Mirren, Debra Messing, Amy Schumer, Montana Tucker and Mandy Moore; philanthropist Stacy Schusterman; Judge Dorit Beinisch, former president of the Israeli Supreme Court; and Professor Yuli Tamir, former chairperson of the Israeli Human Rights Association and former Israeli education minister.
“We urge all governments, international organizations and civil society groups to condemn these crimes and take action to help secure the release of hostages. We urge the International Committee of the Red Cross, UNICEF, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others, to do everything within their power to get much-needed aid to hostages,” states the letter.
The campaign comes after Hamas terrorists recently fired 5,000 rockets and infiltrated Israel, killing over 1,000 people, wounding over 2,300 individuals and taking 150 people hostage, including women and children. The letter states that holding the hostages is a “standing violation of international humanitarian law and demands an international response.”
Actress and producer Gal Gadot said, “As a Jewish Israeli woman who cares deeply about my homeland, my heart breaks for the hostages and their families. This is a humanitarian crisis and we need to raise our voices to demand their safe release and ongoing medical care.”
Actress and activist Debra Messing said, “Children with special needs and elderly women are being held and denied medical care. We demand that the international community, including the Red Cross, put additional pressure on Hamas for access to the hostages in greatest need.”
Sheila Katz, CEO of National Council of Jewish Women, said, “The terrorist group Hamas deliberately and inexcusably targeted Israeli civilians. And unlike Hamas, we do not celebrate the death of any civilian population. Now, we mourn the tremendous loss of life and pray for the safe recovery of all hostages. The collective trauma of recent events will forever impact Israel and the Jewish people.”
Ricarda Louk, mother of Shani Louk, hostage, said, “Our daughter, Shani-Nicole, has built her life around peace, art and music. She helped organize the Supernova music festival to bring people together through the universal language of music and dance. Hamas terrorists invaded the festival, killed hundreds and took many, including our Shani, hostage. She was documented in a horrifying video lying unconscious and naked in a truck. We have information that she is now suffering from a severe head injury and is in dire need of medical care. We demand that world leaders and humanitarian organizations intervene now to ensure Shani and all hostages receive the aid they so desperately need.”
To further amplify this campaign on social media, please use #VoicesForHostages.
The full text of the letter is below:
We are women leaders, activists, and experts. We are feminists. We are mothers, grandmothers and sisters. We have dedicated our professional and personal lives to advocate for human rights. We call for the immediate release of all women and children being held hostage by Hamas. Their continued captivity is a standing violation of international humanitarian law and demands an international response.
We urge all governments, international organizations, and civil society groups to condemn these crimes and take action to help secure the release of hostages. We urge the International Committee of the Red Cross, UNICEF, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others, to do everything within their power to get much-needed aid to hostages.
International humanitarian law requires that Hamas immediately provide all necessary means to identify those being held hostage, to allow for medical treatment, not to engage in their torture and ill-treatment, and to respect the dignity of remains by not desecrating bodies and returning them for burial. We demand that these norms be respected, and stress that all parties to armed conflict must comply with international law.
Innocent individuals ought not be used as bargaining chips for any cause or purpose. The infants, children, mothers and elderly taken from their homes must be safely returned to their loved ones.
Debra Messing – Mom, Artist, Activist, Humanitarian. Founding Member of @Iamavoter
Helen Mirren — Actor
Amy Schumer – Comedian, Artist, Activist
Gal Gadot — Actress, Producer
Mandy Moore — Actress, Singer, Activist
Montana Tucker — Singer, Dancer, Social Media Activist
Sheila Katz — CEO, National Council of Jewish Women
Stacy Schusterman — Businesswoman and Philanthropist
Mandana Dayani — Creator & Co-Founder @Iamavoter, Speaker, Advisor, Investor
Noa Tishby — Combating Antisemitism and Delegitimization of Israel; Author of “Israel A Simple Guide”
Maren Morris — Singer-Songwriter
Judge Dorit Beinisch — Former President of the Israeli Supreme Court
Zehava Galon — Former MK, Human Rights Activist
Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari — Former Vice-President of the UN Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
Jody Gerson — CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group
Michelle Jubelirer — Chair & CEO Capitol Music Group
Lorraine Schwartz — Jewelry Designer and Businesswoman
Stacey Bendet Eisner — Founder and Creative Director of Alice + Olivia
Allison Azoff — Blended Strategy Group
Danielle Ames Spivak — Jewish Community Leader and Philanthropist
Along with hundreds more women who demand international aid to secure the release of the Israeli hostages.
National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is the oldest Jewish feminist civil rights organization working for equity and justice for women, children and families in the United States and Israel. Through the efforts of our 210,000 grassroots advocates and 50 local sections, NCJW combines education, direct service and advocacy to affect lasting social change at the local, state, and national levels. We approach our work through the intersections of gender, economic and racial justice to center those most impacted in a uniquely Jewish way. Learn more at NCJW.org and on Facebook, and Instagram, and @NCJW on X/Twitter.