In a harrowing account shared with Fox News Digital, American citizen Natalie Sanandaji, who narrowly escaped a deadly assault by Hamas during an Israeli music festival on October 7, has described her terrifying experience and voiced concerns about rising antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment fueled by social media.
Natalie Sanandaji, a 28-year-old Jewish New Yorker born to Israeli and Iranian parents, recounted how, as a child, she couldn’t comprehend how the Holocaust happened. However, her firsthand experience of escaping the Hamas attack at the music festival and witnessing the tragic aftermath made her realize the gravity of the situation. She emphasized that the conflict is not merely about Israel versus Palestine but also about Hamas, a designated terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of innocent Palestinians and Israelis.
Met with a survivor of Hamas’ music festival terrorist attack, Natalie Sanandaji, today.
Thank you for your bravery, sharing your story & speaking out against evil. Hamas MUST be destroyed. pic.twitter.com/HtYhePCJfB
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) October 19, 2023
Following the Hamas attack in Israel, there have been numerous demonstrations and incidents worldwide. Sanandaji expressed deep concern about the surge in antisemitism in the form of online content and demonstrations across Europe and the United States. She reflected on how growing up, she wondered how the world could stand by during the Holocaust, and now she is beginning to understand how, which has left her feeling unsafe.
“A lot of people ask me if I feel safe now that I’m back in New York. I don’t,” Sanandaji said. “A lot of the things I’ve been hearing and seeing since getting back. A lot of the videos of the protests. These pro-Palestinian protests. Something I would like to say about that is, whatever side you’re on in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, all the power to you. But this is not about Israel-Palestine. This is about Hamas, a terrorist organization who is just as complicit in the deaths of these innocent Palestinians as they are in the deaths of innocent Israelis.”
“People need to understand that this is not about Israel vs. Palestine,” she reiterated. “This is about a terrorist organization attacking the Jews and killing innocent people, killing innocent people at a music festival, killing innocent grandmas who survived the Holocaust, just to be killed by Hamas, burning babies alive.”
“The amount of antisemitism I’ve seen in videos since coming back to New York, antisemitism all over Europe and the United States, that scares me more than anything,” said Sanandaji. “For so long, as a Jew growing up in America, you’re always taught about the Holocaust, and you’re taught about the way our people were treated and the way so many people just stood by and watched as the Holocaust happened. And you’re taught to never forget. And my whole life, I tried to understand how could — how could the world stand by? How could the world stand by and let that happen? And it’s sad to say that I’m now starting to realize how. And I don’t feel safe.”
Sanandaji had traveled to Israel to attend a music festival in Re’im, where she and her friends underwent extensive security vetting. The festival took a grim turn when they awoke to the sound of rocket explosions. The situation escalated rapidly, with festival security instructing everyone to leave for safety. Sanandaji highlighted the fear and uncertainty of not knowing whether their decisions would save or endanger their lives.
Today, I met with Long Island’s Natalie Sanandaji, a survivor of the brutal attack by Hamas
I was awed by her story
The Senate has now passed a resolution affirming we stand with Israel & against Hamas
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 19, 2023
She commended the festival’s security staff for their efforts in assisting attendees, even though many of them lost their lives during the attack. Sanandaji and her friends eventually found refuge with the residents of Patish, who sheltered them, provided food and water, and helped locate missing festival-goers.