Senator Elizabeth Warren came to Albuquerque yesterday to help Senator Tom Udall with his challenging fundraising campaign. Following their upscale reception in a ritzy home with 70+ large donors, they stopped by Morningside Park to hob nob with the rest of us — the solidly 99%.
I attended because I was hoping to present Denny Cormier’s letter to both Warren and Udall, but I failed. Couldn’t get close enough to either of them. So I gave Denny’s letter to Udall’s staff and I hope it will get into his hands, and he will read it. You can read Denny’s letter here. And if you want to help get his letter into the hands of your member of Congress, check-in here.
Debra Haaland, running for Lt. Gov., introduced Representative Michelle Lujan-Grisham, who introduced Senator Udall, who introduced Senator Warren. There was no mistake — everyone was there to hear Senator Warren.
Senator Warren shared a very populist message, repeating her themes about holding Wall Street bankers accountable, and returning America to the country that works for everyone, not just the wealthy powerful elites. The audience cheered and applauded many times (I lost count!).
While Senator Warren was speaking, two men with (Un)Occupy Albuquerque walked in front of her with a large sign. “Israel Out of Palestine!” They were shouting but quickly removed by security.
Senator Warren continued unflustered, but she couldn’t unring a bell that has rung. I saw many people in the audience who nodded in approval and support of the two demonstrators who had the courage to confront Warren for her recent comments defending Israel’s shelling of hospitals and schools in Gaza. Liberals, at least some that I talk with, are very disappointed with Warren’s apparent lockstep with AIPAC’s position. Here’s what Warren said in August:
“I think the vote was right, and I’ll tell you why I think the vote was right,” [Warren] said. “America has a very special relationship with Israel. Israel lives in a very dangerous part of the world, and a part of the world where there aren’t many liberal democracies and democracies that are controlled by the rule of law. And we very much need an ally in that part of the world.”
Warren said Hamas has attacked Israel ‘indiscriminately,’ but with the Iron Dome defense system, the missiles have “not had the terrorist effect Hamas hoped for.” When pressed by another member of the crowd about civilian casualties from Israel’s attacks, Warren said she believes those casualties are the “last thing Israel wants.”
“But when Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they’re using their civilian population to protect their military assets. And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself,” Warren said, drawing applause.
These are words straight from AIPAC’s messaging this summer, straight as an arrow — “Hamas was the aggressor.” “Hamas was using its women and children as shields to protect its rockets.” “Hamas is the terrorist in this combat, and Israel is merely defending herself.” I wouldn’t be surprised if she heard some of this same baloney in Congressional briefings by the State Department.
She’s a smart woman, an independent thinker. I think she’s still educable on the issue. I recently sent her a letter and a book “Gaza Writes Back” — I haven’t given up on her . . . yet.
But I certainly have given up on Hillary Clinton. She will never get my vote for anything even if The Atlantic thinks her hawkish views won’t upset the Democratic base. Maybe I’m no longer part of that base, or maybe someone is just making a serious miscalculation. It’s time for the Democrats to stand for justice, not just in words but in deeds and in how we allocate our federal budget.
And KUDOS to those two young men who stood up with that pro-Palestine banner. It takes courage and I applaud them.