GEDDY LEE Explains Why It Was Important For RUSH To Speak Out On Israel-Hamas War

November 16, 2023

In a new interview with CBC News' The National, RUSH vocalist/bassist Geddy Lee explained why he and RUSH bandmate Alex Lifeson wanted to publicly speak out about the deadly conflict triggered by Palestinian group Hamas's shock attack on Israel.

In response to Palestinian militants in Gaza firing a deadly barrage of rockets and sending gunmen into Israeli territory, Israel launched strikes on what it called Hamas targets in Gaza. The combined death toll on both sides of the war has climbed over 12,000.

On October 13, RUSH released the following statement via social media: "We are sickened by news of the brutal atrocities and monstrous acts of cold-blooded murder committed by the terrorist group Hamas - an organization dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state and the extermination of its people. Our hearts break for the people of Israel and for Jews around the world as they process these horrible events. These are dark acts of barbarism for which there can be no justification. Our hearts also go out to all innocent souls in Gaza that have lost their lives, been injured or put in jeopardy as a result of the actions of this inhuman terrorist regime."

Asked by The National's Ian Hanomansing why RUSH wanted to publicly comment to clearly and unequivocally denounce Hamas's violent attacks against civilians and express their anguish at the bloodshed in both Gaza and Israel, Lee said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET) : "Well, it was a hurtful, terrible moment in modern history and speaking out as a human being that happened to be a Jewish person — this happened to Jewish people — so both Alex and I felt it was important to express the pain we were feeling watching this, what could be arguably called one of the worst massacres since World War II of the Jewish people."

He continued: "It's a complicated issue. I am not a person that wants to be a spokesman, spokesperson for Israeli politics; it's not really about that. It was just a natural crying out of, 'Wow. This is a terrible thing we're watching.' And it's still terrible to watch."

Israel's military said Hamas's attack from Gaza had killed more than 1,200 people; Hamas has continued to launch rocket attacks. Meanwhile, Israeli reprisals have killed around 11,000 Palestinians, displaced more than 1 million people and left Gaza in a dire humanitarian crisis.

Several U.S. leaders have called for a pause in fighting to allow for humanitarian aid to reach civilians in Gaza. But others have argued against a full cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, saying it would allow Hamas to refuel and prolong the conflict. At the same time, they have backed humanitarian pauses, which would allow aid to be sent Gaza's civilians and the hostages taken by Hamas.

In a 2009 interview with Heeb magazine, Lee described himself as an atheist. "I consider myself a Jew as a race, but not so much as a religion," he explained. "I'm not down with religion at all. I'm a Jewish atheist, if that's possible… I celebrate the holidays in the sense that my family gets together for the holidays and I like being a part of that. So I observe the 'getting together' aspect."

Lee's Jewish mom, Mary Weinrib, who passed away in July 2021, was not only a massive supporter of her son's music career but was also a Holocaust survivor.

Geddy, who was born Gary Lee Weinrib in 1953 in Toronto, reportedly took on his stage (and later, legal) name as an homage to his mother: her strong accent made "Gary" sound like "Geddy," and the name stuck.

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