Also: See Our Oct. 17 Statement (Palestinian People and Culture Under Threat from Israel’s Retaliatory Attacks)

(NEW YORK – Published Oct. 10 at 8:53 AM )— PEN America issued the following statement:

PEN America deplores the premeditated and vicious attack launched against Israeli civilians, resulting in more than 900 deaths, countless wounded and scores kidnapped, held hostage, and unaccounted for.  We are particularly affronted by the murderous assault on a peaceful music festival, a cultural event and celebration of artistic expression turned into a killing field.  Political conflicts, even when they involve grave denials of human rights, can never justify nor be resolved through attacks on innocent civilians.  Noting the mounting death toll among Israelis and Palestinians, PEN America calls on all parties to uphold the sanctity of human life and to safeguard civilians and human rights. 

 As a literary and free expression organization, PEN America has met and consulted with Israeli and Palestinian writers and journalists in recent years with the aim of mobilizing literature as a bridge across divides and a catalyst for deepened humanity.  In those discussions we have heard about how terrorism, occupation, repression, ongoing conflict and restrictions on movement all impair the freedom to write. We have learned of efforts by governments and authorities to suppress creative expression and the free flow of information, and spoken out against them.

Today, as Israel mourns, as innocent civilians in Gaza suffer for Hamas’s crimes, and as the region braces for an uncertain future, we redouble our own commitment to the PEN Charter of 1948 , which calls on members to do their utmost to dispel all hatreds and to champion the ideal of one humanity living in peace and equality.   We affirm the essential role of writers, artists and journalists to document this conflict, bearing witness and providing essential information and insight, their words a beacon to a better future.

We also commit to vigilance at a time of surging anti-Semitism in the United States, and deplore those who have seized on recent events to stoke bigotry.  We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in PEN Israel at this excruciatingly difficult time, recognizing the staggering sorrow, fear and trauma they are forced to endure.   We voice our support  for all writers in the region who deserve to live and work in freedom and peace.

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. To learn more visit 

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 201-247-5057