Dear Senator Heinrich,
I’ve attended a couple of events in your home state of New Mexico this week where your name came up in the discussion. Are your ears burning?
In the first event – a gathering of about 20 people in someone’s home – I was told that you might have a sympathetic ear for the plight of the Kurds in northern Iraq, but people rolled their eyes when the Palestinians were mentioned. They said “forget it.” One person said she got into a verbal sparring match with you in the parking lot of the local food coop about Israel/Palestine.
Your name came up again at a gathering of about 50-75 people at the launch of the local chapter of the Jewish Voice for Peace. Several people remarked about how disappointed they are with your positions about Israel/Palestine and that you’re unapproachable and unwilling to hear a viewpoint that contradicts AIPAC‘s drool.
I’m disappointed – very disappointed – to hear this feedback. You and I haven’t talked about Palestine since you moved from your House seat to the Senate, but I was hoping to make a date to stop by and chat the next time I’m in D.C. Would you have an open mind or has AIPAC hardened your thinking about the Middle East?
Your position on airstrikes in Syria in September makes me think you don’t have the backbone to stand up to AIPAC lobbyists and your pro-Israel constituents back home. But here’s a little secret.
Tonight I saw the beginning of a parade in Albuquerque.
This parade has been marching in many communities around the country, people of many faiths and different traditions, old and young, and every color under the sun. These people are coming together to work for peace, social justice, equality, and human rights. And Palestine is at the top of their agenda.
Now you’re going to see the parade in Albuquerque, beginning with billboards around the city calling for support of federal funding for Albuquerque, not Israel’s occupation of Palestine. One of these billboards is just down the street from my house. And they’ve started a petition drive to tell the Albuquerque City Council that they should tell the federal government to stop aid to Israel until that country abides by international law. I just signed the petition here.
Senator Heinrich: You’d better watch this parade carefully because I bet you’ll be running to catch up and lead this parade one day soon. Politicians are like that. Just watch.