Three-hundred thirty delegates to the Democratic National Convention who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in his 2016 and 2020 presidential bids sent a letter to the senator urging him to introduce a resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza.
The letter, sent on Wednesday, urges Sanders to introduce a Senate companion bill to a ceasefire resolution introduced last month in the House of Representatives. The Sanders convention delegates also called on him to support an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza, the occupation of Palestinian land, U.S. military funding for war crimes against Palestinians, and the expansion of Israeli settlements.
“Palestinians require more than just a ‘humanitarian pause.’”
“We’ve progressed beyond the stage of seeking mere condemnations or symbolic gestures,” the delegates wrote. “We concur with your assertion that these ‘unspeakable crimes’ must cease and that ‘the bombs and missiles from both sides’ should be halted. But Palestinians require more than just a ‘humanitarian pause.’”
The House resolution was introduced by by Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; André Carson, D-Ind.; Summer Lee, D-Pa.; and Delia Ramirez, D-Ill. The House resolution now has 18 co-sponsors. So far, at least 31 members of Congress, including Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., have come out in favor of a ceasefire — although Durbin and others conditioned their calls on the release of Israeli prisoners in Gaza.
The letter comes three weeks after hundreds of Sanders presidential campaign alumni sent a letter urging the senator to back a ceasefire. Since that letter’s release, Sanders has all but supported a ceasefire: calling for a humanitarian pause; to “stop the bombing”; and saying Congress, the Biden administration, and the world “must take action.”
“We Need Him Now, More Than Ever”
Sanders’s delegates delivered the letter to the Vermont senator one day after more than 115 former staffers for President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama — including former Biden chief of staff Ron Klain and former Treasury Secretary and Harvard University President Lawrence Summers — applauded Biden for his “staunch support of Israel.” The former top administration officials lauded Biden’s proposed $14.3 billion in military aid for Israel.
It also follows a decision by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D. N.Y., and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., to join Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, at Tuesday’s March for Israel in Washington, D.C., where the quartet proclaimed, “We stand with Israel.”
Hours later, Israel invaded Al-Shifa hospital, the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital, where thousands of displaced and injured civilians were trapped, including dozens of premature babies.
Wednesday is the fifth consecutive day that the Gaza Ministry of Health has been unable to update its death toll, owing to a lack of fuel and power that has totaled the health care system, making tallying the dead and communications nearly impossible. The last time the ministry updated the death toll, on Friday, Israel had killed 11,078 people.
“As a Jewish person of conscience watching Israeli genocide in real time, I say, not in my name, not with my tax dollars, shall Israel bomb and deprive a trapped population, half of them children, of water, food, medicine and fuel,” said Marcy Winograd, a 2020 Sanders delegate from California’s 24th congressional district, and a co-founding member of the Los Angeles chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace. “As a Jewish member of Congress, Senator Sanders’ voice would be particularly persuasive in demanding an end to Israel’s violations of international law that shock the world to leave us feeling unmoored from our own humanity.”
The latest letter adds to a growing opposition among Democrats against unconditional U.S. support for Israel. Over a dozen former Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., campaign staffers, 411 current congressional staffers, 400-plus current Biden administration employees, 500-plus former Biden campaign alumni, 133 Obama staffers and appointees, and 260 former presidential campaign staffers for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., issued statements demanding support for a ceasefire. More have since signed on.
“From coastal cities to rural valleys like mine, millions of young people turned their attention to politics for the first time in 2016 and 2020 because we shared Bernie’s vision for peace and justice,” said Taran Samarth, a student organizer and 2020 Sanders delegate from Pennsylvania. “We need him now, more than ever, to champion those values once more and call for a ceasefire in the face of the Biden administration’s unconditional support for the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”