Survivor of Israeli Music Festival Massacre Speaks at UCLA Press Conference

todayNovember 19, 2023 5

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Maya Parizer, who survived the Nova Music Festival massacre on October 7, recalled her experience at a Thursday press conference at UCLA Hillel and condemned the surge in antisemitism on college campuses.

Parizer, 27, said at the press conference that she was at the festival with her fiancé because “it was supposed to celebrate love, peace and people” and that it’s a community. She felt the need to share her experience at UCLA because “on campuses just like this, for some reason people have a ‘but’ for what happened on October 7” and speculate “that it’s fake or it’s AI.” “Two-hundred and forty-one of my friends are still in Gaza being held as captives, as hostages,” Parizer said, adding that “they really, really need our help” and “should not be used as any sort of leverage.”

Parizer explained that they arrived at the festival at 3 a.m. and is supposed to last for 17 hours. They went to the dance floor shortly after arriving, knowing that sunrise “is supposed to be the most amazing time.” But sunrise this time was met with “thousands and thousands” of rockets and missiles from the Gaza Strip. “We decided to stay it out,” she said. “We had no idea that this is just the very beginning of it all. I was very scared at that time, and the first people that left were the first people to encounter more than 2,000 terrorists from Gaza who just infiltrated the state of Israel in our Shabbat holiday, and most of them are not alive to tell their stories.”

It wasn’t until security told them to leave because it was “dangerous” that Parizer and her fiancé decided to leave. “A lot of people decided to stay because this is the situation in Israel we’ve been accustomed to for so long,” she said. “We just wait it out for five, 10 minutes, and then told, ‘Go back to your routine.’ If it’s a wedding, if it’s a graduation ceremony, if it’s a festival, it doesn’t matter. You’ll be interrupted and then life goes on. Well, it didn’t this time.”

Another stroke of luck for Parizer was that they parked their car “very close to the entrance of the party and also to the main road”––which was against the instructions of the festival––so they were able to immediately get onto the main road and take the fastest exit out of there possible. “All these cars are u-turning, some cars are abandoned and we passed them by so fast, we were so confused and a little bit drunk … only later, looking at my dash camera, we were really able to see what happened” she said, “and some of the cars were still on, some of the doors were open, windows were shattered.” They also drove by someone who appeared dead at the time, but when looking at the dash camera the person could be seen dying in real time. “His leg is still up, going down as we drive closer,” Parizer said. “So which means the shooting was very, very recent. We thought it was maybe a car accident because the whole ride was chaotic.”

Parizer was about to call the police when they started hearing gunshots. “We thought it was from afar, from behind, but looking backwards at the camera, we saw the truck of the terrorists just in front of us,” she said, “so basically, when we were driving forward, we’re driving into lap. But by some miracle we weren’t hurt.”

Eventually, Parizer and her fiancé pulled over at Kibbutz Sa’ad, and hid at a shelter there for 24 hours. “You just hear more and more people around you saying, ‘Terrorists are in my house,’ ‘Terrorists have hurt my kids,’ ‘I’m hurt, I’m dying,’” Parizer said. “We did not get help for so many hours because there was so many of them that they didn’t even care if it was children, babies, women, girls, didn’t care.”

The next morning, they drove back home. “We’re lucky because all we endured is luck and escaping terrorists, but I can’t say the same for a lot of my friends,” she said.

Parizer, herself a recent college graduate, said that she came to UCLA because “it hurts me to see what happens at campuses in the U.S. and around the world, where students, who are expected to be the number one educators and should be able to understand what is trending and what is fake news as to what is real, and for some reason, think that it’s okay to rip kidnapped signs because ‘yeah, they deserve it.’” “Can you stop that and say it again?” Pariza said. “In 2023, which baby deserves to pay for a crime of a government, crime of a military? This is a baby … what happened to us on October 7 has nothing to do with politics because it was just brutality.” She added that Israelis were “butchered” and “burned alive.”

“I wish it was fake, I wish it was AI, I wish I could just go plan my wedding and continue my life as an adult,” Pariza said. “I was just supposed to start my adulthood life. But I decided to come here and speak because for me, I just want to say: stop before you’re spreading lies. Double check. Even double check what I have to say, reach me and I will happily share the horrible videos that I possess of my friends and myself. Because what happened to us is real, and it cannot just be forgotten as the next news. This is a massacre that happened in 2023 in a world that’s supposed to be for peace and a world that’s supposed to solve conflicts with diplomacy, but rather than that, people here in the U.S … I’m an American citizen, but I feel scared to be wearing my Jewish identity.”

She urged people to “speak up” and to not “be fooled.” “We were just dancing at a party,” Parizer said. “We did nothing wrong to deserve being massacred and butchered. The world should just condemn terror, regardless of who did it and who deserved it.”

What does give Parizer hope is that, while in America, she has “met all these amazing people who also volunteer and also do whatever they can to help” as well as members of Congress who told her “they will do whatever it takes so I can feel safe being American in my homeland country because I am also an American citizen and I deserve to be safe here too.” She urged everyone listening to “condemn terror and condemn Hamas.”

Following Parizer at the press conference were mostly Jewish students relaying their experiences of antisemitism at UC campuses.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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