There have been demonstrations around the world against Israel’s war in Gaza — including one at the Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul.
Among the speakers at the rally was U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, who told the AJW today that a campaign worker named Amir, a student at the University of Minnesota, asked him to address the rally on Monday.
Rep. Keith Ellison (Photo: Mordecai Specktor)
Ellison, who has visited Israel twice since being elected to the U.S. House from Minnesota’s Fifth District in 2006, said that he wanted to address the protest rally and explain that Minnesotans can “use this tragic moment to talk about why Mideast peace is so vitally important,” and urge the U.S. government to actively engage in peacemaking efforts.
Someone in the crowd on the Capitol steps called on Ellison to condemn Israel.
“I said I’m not here to condemn anybody, then the crowd erupted in boos, and I tried to finish but I couldn’t finish,” the congressman related during a telephone interview from his Washington office.
Ellison said that he “supports Israel’s right to self defense,” but the larger question is how to rein in the escalating violence and engage in the “difficult work of peace.”
The AJW has heard from community members who think that Ellison’s call for a cease-fire in the current conflict shows that he is not such a strong supporter of Israel; the anti-Israel faction booed him off the stage in St. Paul.
Apparently it’s hard to please all of the people all of the time.
– Mordecai Specktor