Democratic candidate for Illinois gov’r fires his running mate over BDS

US Politics
on 38 Comments

This is an incredible story about the power of the Israel lobby inside Democratic Party politics, and in Chicago.

Daniel Biss, a progressive state senator contending for the Democratic nomination to be governor of Illinois, has cashiered running mate Carlos Ramirez-Rosa over Israel issues — two days after Illinois congressman Brad Schneider revoked his endorsement of Biss because Ramirez-Rosa supported Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

Biss is anti-establishment by his own description, but his announcement of the news is pious about Israel:

Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and I have reached a difficult decision about our ticket. As of today, I’ll be moving forward with a new running mate.

Growing up with an Israeli mother, grandparents who survived the Holocaust, and great-grandparents who did not survive, issues related to the safety and security of the Jewish people are deeply personal to me.

I strongly support a two-state solution. I support Israel’s right to exist, and I support Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. I also care deeply about justice for Palestinians, and believe that a vision for the Middle East must include political and economic freedom for Palestinians.

That’s why I oppose the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, as I believe it moves us further away from a peaceful solution.

When I asked him in the interview process prior to his selection, Carlos said he too supported a two-state solution and opposed BDS.

Since we’ve announced his selection, we have been asked about his position on BDS. After much discussion, it’s become clear that Carlos’ position has changed. While I respect his right to come to his own conclusions on the issue, it simply wasn’t the understanding we shared when I asked him to join the ticket.

In light of this, we have agreed that I will be moving forward with a new running mate. It was not an easy decision, but it was the right decision.

The statement concludes with two paragraphs about middle class families, etc.

Here is Ramirez-Rosa’s statement on stepping down. He says he always had a bifurcated position on BDS:

While I was honored to be chosen as Senator Daniel Biss’ gubernatorial running mate, it became clear over the past few days that while we share a total commitment to peace, security, and statehood for the Israeli and Palestinian people, and both oppose pursuing BDS at the state level, the difference of opinion we have on the role the BDS movement plays at the federal level would make it impossible to continue moving forward as a ticket.

This is tragic news; it shows the giant foothold that the Israel lobby still has in the Democratic Party. Biss is intelligent and leftleaning, a mathematician who got involved in politics in opposition to the Iraq War. I thought Biss could withstand these forces– no.

Bear in mind: Bernie Sanders also opposes BDS. Even though BDS is only what progressives have done with repressive orders from time immemorial, from the needle trades to the grape-growers to South Africa.

Bear in mind: at a forum held by the liberal Zionist group J Street last year, leading experts on Democratic politics said the influence of pro-Israel Jewish donors was “gigantic” and “shocking.” And Stephanie Schriock of Emily’s List said that if you want to raise money to run for Congress as a young Democrat, you have to go get your position papers on foreign policy from AIPAC, the Israel lobby group. (When are young progressive Jews going to take on these forces directly? Ever?)

Carlos Ramirez-Rosa deserves our praise. He refused to back down. His statement thanks “the members and organizational leaders of Reclaim Chicago, Our Revolution IL, and Democratic Socialists of America, and…thousands of activists” who stuck with him. I bet all those folks are for BDS.

Also, to be clear: Ramirez-Rosa is a person of color. And by and large, the Palestinian movement depends on people of color in America, as well as young heretical Jews and traditional conservatives, too.

But Daniel Biss must rely on the Democrats’ donor class; and the donor class is very pro-Israel. And by the way Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is going to Israel this week in order to drum up investment in biotech and water technology.

This is the same schism that almost broke the party over Keith Ellison last winter, with liberal Zionist party leaders like Josh Marshall  joined by neoconservative Dems such as Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post and Bari Weiss of the New York Times to deplore the influence of pro-BDS forces inside the party (Bari Weiss, who is author of “op-eds about how identity politics are bad by a writer whose politics are her entire identity”– pro-Israel). The story in the Washington Post about the stunning development plays down the Israel angle, and BDS– the headline suggesting it’s about Socialism.

The party elders want to maintain the PEP line. Progressive except Palestine. They don’t want this to be an issue inside Democratic ranks.

But it is.

P.S. Here is the statement by Jewish Voice for Peace on the fact that BDS has become an issue in the Chicago governor’s race, without mentioning Biss or Ramirez-Rosa by name, but proudly standing up for BDS and rejecting Biss’s claim re “safety” for the Jewish people:

We reject the idea that safety for our community can come at the expense of human rights and security for Palestinians living the effects of the State of Israel’s brutality.

We are proud to support the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.

Boycott, divestment and sanctions are tactics to build pressure on the State of Israel until it ends its brutal occupation of the West Bank and cruel blockade on Gaza. It demands an end to systematic discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel. And it states, quite simply, that Palestinians who were displaced in 1948 and in the ensuing decades have a right to return home, an issue that particularly hits home for Chicago’s Palestinian community, the largest in the United States…

As the movement for Palestinian rights enters the mainstream, people of conscience must decide whether they want to be on the right side of history.

There is no reference in the statement to the Israel lobby.

Thanks to Scott McConnell and Donald Johnson.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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38 Responses

  1. ckg
    September 7, 2017, 10:26 am

    Fortunately the comments on the Facebook pages of both Biss and Schneider are decidedly unkind.

  2. Kay24
    September 7, 2017, 11:46 am

    Yet another enabler politician. He either is depending on AIPAC contributions and support, or just does not know to show Israel some tough love, which is long overdue.

    • Emory Riddle
      September 7, 2017, 7:54 pm

      “Growing up with an Israeli mother, grandparents who survived the Holocaust, and great-grandparents who did not survive, issues related to the safety and security of the Jewish people are deeply personal to me.

      I strongly support a two-state solution. I support Israel’s right to exist, and I support Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. I also care deeply about justice for Palestinians, and believe that a vision for the Middle East must include political and economic freedom for Palestinians.

      That’s why I oppose the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, as I believe it moves us further away from a peaceful solution.”

      Is this guy running for office in America?

  3. eljay
    September 7, 2017, 12:14 pm

    … I strongly support a two-state solution. I support Israel’s right to exist, and I support Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. I also care deeply about justice for Palestinians …

    He cares deeply about justice for Palestinians…as long as it doesn’t affect Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine. Bra.vo.

  4. Ossinev
    September 7, 2017, 12:58 pm

    Protocols of the Elders of AIPAC methinks ?

    “I strongly support a two-state solution. I support Israel’s right to exist, and I support Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. I also care deeply about justice for Palestinians, and believe that a vision for the Middle East must include political and economic freedom for Palestinians”

    Classical doublethink. He supports Israel as “the homeland” of the Jewish “people” (sic) but no mention of supporting it as the homeland of the native people ie the Palestinians. No they are only entitled to hand outs (if and when considered appropriate) of “political and “economic freedom” from the Chosen People.

    Hypocritical and just as bent and bought as the worst of the Ziolovers. He couldn`t give a toss about “Justice for Palestinians”.

  5. yourstruly
    September 7, 2017, 6:53 pm

    How can there be justice for Palestinians at the same time there’s Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people? Surely not when justice for Palestinians implies the return of Palestine to its indigenous people. Which renders null and void Illinois Democratic candidate Daniel Biss’ statement that he supports justice for Palestinians. He’s self-identified now as a Zionist through and through; perhaps an Israel-firster to boot.

  6. lonely rico
    September 7, 2017, 7:10 pm

    > Daniel Biss

    That’s why I oppose the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, as I believe it moves us further away from a peaceful solution.

    So Dan will stand with the zionist “movement” in Palestine – criminality, racism, and cruelty, moving inexorably toward peace and justice for all those about whom he “cares deeply” !?

    Bravo Carlos Ramirez-Rosa.

  7. Betty
    September 7, 2017, 8:43 pm

    The Jews are the indigenous, native people of the Land of Israel, not the nomadic tribes that declared themselves to be Palestinian in 1963. There is no return for the generations after the 600 who were told to leave; will the million Jews who fled the Arab/Moslem world be invited back? Why don’t you knee-jerk anti-Israel propagandists show some “tough love” to Syria for killing their own people, or to Somalia or to Yemen? As long as you define the problem as either/or, winner/loser, you are not on the side of peace. BDS is not impacting Israel at all, but it is poisoning our universities with hatred and intimidation, and teachers who are willing to lie. The supporters of BDS are responsible for the increase in anti-Semitism in the US.

    • eljay
      September 7, 2017, 9:58 pm

      || Betty: The Jews are the indigenous, native people of the Land of Israel … ||

      Not all people who chose/choose to be Jewish were/are indigenous to Palestine. There is a state known as Israel, but there is no “Land of Israel”.

      || … As long as you define the problem as either/or, winner/loser, you are not on the side of peace. … ||

      As long as you Zionists keep insisting that Jews are entitled to a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine, you are on the side of injustice and immorality.

    • Mooser
      September 7, 2017, 10:35 pm

      BDS i9s not impacting…supporters of BDS are responsible for the increase in anti-Semitism in the US.”

      There really should be an ‘daily anti-Semitism index’ in the papers.

      • RoHa
        September 8, 2017, 2:38 am

        But it would always say the same thing: “Bad, and getting worse.”

    • RoHa
      September 7, 2017, 11:29 pm

      Betty, there seems to be a contradiction here. You say “BDS is not impacting Israel at all, but it is poisoning our universities with hatred and intimidation”

      If BDS is having that effect on your Israeli universities, then it seems that it is “impacting” Israel.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 8, 2017, 12:40 am

      There is no return for the generations after the 600 who were told to leave

      how did this nakba denial pass moderation?

      the nomadic tribes that declared themselves to be Palestinian in 1963

      what’s happening to this place? gross.

      • MHughes976
        September 8, 2017, 4:03 am

        I agree that it’s gross, out-Petersing Peters. However even members of nomadic tribes, should that by any strange chance be a vaguely relevant concept, have rights. So do recent immigrants from Eastern Europe and New York. But the rights of the immigrants could not on any rational theory stretch to excluding the nomads from the areas where they had a generations-old right to practise their transhumany ways.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2017, 2:24 pm

        “gross” irresponsible and factually wrong. /Fake news been around for decades, centuries.

      • Mooser
        September 9, 2017, 12:28 pm

        “how did this nakba denial pass moderation?
        what’s happening to this place? gross.”

        “Annie” isn’t it obvious?
        Mondoweiss gives more free speech, more unfettered self-expression to Zionists than Zionist sites do, so they come here.
        At Mondo they know their authentic Zionist passion and information will be published almost unexpurgated, instead of being quietly shit-canned as an embarrassment.

    • RoHa
      September 8, 2017, 2:02 am

      And now the stuff that you won’t accept.

      Let us suppose that all the Zionist Jews living in 1948 Mandate Palestine had been born in Palestine and were direct descendants of Jewish families who had been living there since 1500 BC.
      Let us further suppose that all the Palestinian Arabs living in 1948 Mandate Palestine were descendants of families who migrated to Palestine in 1848.

      Even so, it would still have been wrong for the Zionists to establish their Jewish State against the wishes of the Arabs.

      All this “indigenous” stuff is irrelevant.

      “will the million Jews who fled the Arab/Moslem world be invited back?”

      Whether they are or not, the duty of the Israeli State is to the Palestinians they expelled. That duty does not lapse just because other states fail in their duties.

    • RoHa
      September 8, 2017, 2:08 am

      But since you didn’t learn it the first time, I’ll repeat the lesson.

      “The Jews are the indigenous, native people of the Land of Israel,”

      Not according to Jewish myth-history. Jews are supposed to be descendants of Abraham and his gang. But the story says that A was an Iraqi who migrated to Palestine and bought land from the people who were already living there. Those people have a greater right to be counted as indigenous.

      “not the nomadic tribes that declared themselves to be Palestinian in 1963.”

      Most of the Palestinian Arabs were farmers, orchardists who developed the Jaffa orange, and townspeople. Some were nomads, but even nomads have rights.

    • Talkback
      September 8, 2017, 4:08 am

      Betty: “The Jews are the indigenous, native people of the Land of Israel, not the nomadic tribes that declared themselves to be Palestinian in 1963.”

      Actually the people who became citizens of Palestine in and after 1925 are the native people of what you call “Land of Israel”. And you will never be able to prove which Jew today is a real ancestors of ancient Hebrews and which Nonjew today isn’t.

      Betty: “There is no return for the generations after the 600 who were told to leave; …”

      So you are not only a denier of crimes against humanity, but also a supporter of ethnic cleansing. Are you Zionist by any chance?

    • Emory Riddle
      September 8, 2017, 8:59 am

      Jews from Poland. Russia, Hungary etc. are the natives of Palestine, not the Palestinians. And if you don’t believe this you are a Jew hater.

      Got it

      • MHughes976
        September 8, 2017, 1:14 pm

        The Bible insists that the Israelites were conquering immigrants, absolutely not indigenous but outsiders acting on the special mandate of God, and that the Jews of later times were returning exiles, mainly born in Iraq, who had more rights than the people living in the land, again by special divine decree, bring crucial to the plan for ‘adding many nations to God’ in the end.

    • Mooser
      September 8, 2017, 2:31 pm

      “There is no return for the generations after the 600 who were told to leave;”

      Only 600 people, who became nearly 16- 20 million in nearly half the time? That’s using nearly half the time pretty well!

  8. JLewisDickerson
    September 8, 2017, 2:53 am

    RE: “Here is the statement by Jewish Voice for Peace on the fact that BDS has become an issue in the Chicago governor’s race, without mentioning Biss or Ramirez-Rosa by name, but proudly standing up for BDS and rejecting Biss’s claim re ‘safety’ for the Jewish people . . .” ~ Weiss

    JAMES BALDWIN (1963):

    “By deciding that they were white. By opting for safety instead of life. By persuading themselves that a Black child’s life meant nothing compared with a white child’s life… In this debasement of and definition of Black people, they debased and defined themselves.” ~ James Baldwin, 1963

    SOURCE – http://www.essence.com/james-baldwin-quotes#1081624

  9. just
    September 8, 2017, 5:14 am

    Buh~ Bye, Dan Biss and Hello, Carlos Ramirez Rosa!

    wow, from MJ Rosenberg:

    “Progressive Illinois Candidate Knocked Off Ticket For Israel Views

    For Democrats, including progressives, Israel is the one issue on which no deviation from a lobby’s line is permitted.

    Bad news, Democrats. There is no such thing as courage on Capitol Hill. As a guy who worked as a legislative aide to Democratic House and Senate members for almost 20 years, I should know:

    Let me explain. You know how we often applaud our favorite legislators for their “courage” on choice, GLBTQ issues, guns, immigration, civil and equal rights, and climate change?

    Just stop.

    With few (if any) exceptions, these heroes are only courageous on issues that won’t cost them a dime in campaign contributions. In other words, these senators and House members (invariably from progressive states and districts) are only courageous on the cheap. They only get away with it because progressives either don’t know or don’t care that virtually all of them are cowards on the Israel-Palestine issue, taking their orders from AIPAC (the Israel lobby) in order not to jeopardize the campaign donations they get from its members.

    Now maybe you don’t care about Israel/Palestine, or just look away when Israel is bombing the hell out of Gaza or working to undo President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. (In the case of the latter, two top Democrats, both tied at the hip to AIPAC and its affilated donors, Chuck Schumer of New York and Ben Cardin of Maryland, joined the Republicans in a failed to attempt to defeat their own president’s initiative.) Even if you don’t care about that, you should care when supposed progressives can so easily be bought on a critical issue. After all, if they sell out on one issue to please donors now, what will they sell out on next? How are they different than Republicans who toe the NRA line to please that lobby and its donors? For Democrats, AIPAC is the NRA.

    Examples of progressive cowardice are all around us. Both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders defended Israel’s 2014 bombardment of Gaza which resulted in the deaths of 1,462 civilians of whom 495 were children. Both opposed any action by the Obama administration to stop the killing, refusing to support any cuts to Israel’s massive aid package over Gaza, settlement expansion, routine human rights abuses or anything else.

    To be fair, Warren and Sanders are far from the worst progressives on this issue. In fact, they are better than most Democrats who offer full-throated support to anything Israel does. A list of Israel shills in Congress would fill up all my space so suffice it to note that when Keith Ellison, a true hero on this issue despite all the threats from AIPAC, tried to get the House progressive caucus to join him in a letter to then Secretary of State Kerry calling for a ceasefire, only 5 of 57 members joined him. No senator spoke out.

    And now the latest outrage.

    In Illinois this week, State Sen. Daniel Biss dropped Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa as his running mate in his campaign to become governor of the state. Ramirez-Rosa, 28, was a Sanders delegate to the Democratic convention and proudly calls himself a Democratic Socialist. His choice for the #2 slot was viewed as a big step forward for the progressive wing of the party.

    But then Brad Schneider, a congressman from suburban Chicago, heard that Ramirez-Rosa’s progressiveness did not stop at Israel’s borders. In fact in 2014, Ramirez-Rosa said the following:

    You know, for too long the U.S. government has subsidized the oppression of the Palestinian people, and it’s time that that’s stopped, And we have seen a shift internationally in favor of justice for the Palestinian people. You know, people stand with Israel, but they also want to make sure the Palestinian people have [justice].

    Schneider, one of AIPAC’s top lieutenants in the House went ballistic, instantly demanding that Ramirez-Rosa be kicked off the ticket. His ostensible reason was that Ramirez-Rosa was a member of the Democratic Socialists of America movement which supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Accordingly Ramirez-Rosa had to go:

    “Following conversations with Senator Biss and Alderman Ramirez-Rosa, I have informed the campaign of the withdrawal of my support,” Schneider said. “I remain hopeful that as Alderman Ramirez-Rosa learns more about the importance of the U.S.-Israel partnership to both our nations, the unique challenges Israel faces as the only democracy in a very dangerous neighborhood, and the commitment of the vast majority of the Israeli people to peace and a two-state solution, he will reconsider his position.”

    Seventy-two hours later Ramirez-Rosa was kicked off the ticket. Gubernatorial candidate Bliss said that if he knew of his former running-mate’s position on Israel, he never would have chosen him.

    No doubt that is true. For Democrats, including progressives, Israel is the one issue on which no deviation from a lobby’s line is permitted. In fact, Democrats are worse than Republicans whose support for the occupations and bombing Palestinians fit in with their hawkish and Islamophobic worldviews. Their support for everything Israel does is not bought (it doesn’t have to be). Democrats, however, sell their souls for AIPAC dollars.

    And they will continue to do so until progressives tell them that regardless of their other positions they will not have progressive support in Democratic primaries until and unless they apply the same standards to Israel that they apply to the rest of the world, including to our own country. Progressives must stand for equal rights and equal justice everywhere in the world, including in the Middle East. That means standing with brave Israelis and Palestinians who are fighting injustice, not with those who fight to preserve the ugly, immoral status quo. If your “progressive” representative doesn’t understand that, he is nothing but a hack …”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/progressive-illinois-candidate-knocked-off-ticket-for_us_59b1542fe4b0d0c16bb52a75

    • Donald Johnson
      September 8, 2017, 9:33 am

      I lost respect for MJ when he said Ali Abunimah was an antisemite based on his stupid gut feeling, but that was a very good article.

  10. Talkback
    September 8, 2017, 5:33 am

    April 7, 1933 Jews are identified and removed from Goverment posts.

  11. JustJessetr
    September 8, 2017, 7:12 am

    BDS is PEP. Nothing that BDS does has created an inch of progress in 50 years of boycotts. Arguably, the plight of Palestinians grows worse by the day, and meanwhile boycotts of Israel gain them not speck of land, earn them the rights they deserve, or put a coin in their pockets.

    What Israel does to the population in the West Bank and Gaza is horrible, but to fight it by adopting a losing strategy that infantalizes Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians, and whining about non-starters like how Israel should be one-state, is hardly progressive.

    • John O
      September 8, 2017, 8:39 am

      If BDS is so ineffective, why waste time opposing it? Just ignore it and it will wither away. Except that it won’t. Because it is effective, and, in time, Israel will go the way of South Africa.

      • JustJessetr
        September 9, 2017, 9:40 am

        Apartheid South Africa wasn’t brought down by boycotts. They came at the very end.

      • John O
        September 9, 2017, 1:09 pm

        @JustJessetr

        “Apartheid South Africa wasn’t brought down by boycotts. They came at the very end.”

        No so. Sporting boycotts began in the 1960s. When I was at uni in the early 70s, students boycotted Barclays Bank because of its investments in SA. It was a long process, but ultimately played a big part in finishing the apartheid regime.

      • Mooser
        September 9, 2017, 1:48 pm

        “Apartheid South Africa wasn’t brought down by boycotts. They came at the very end.”

        Thanks, encouraging to hear. So by the time the public starts boycotting, it’s near the end.

    • Emory Riddle
      September 8, 2017, 9:03 am

      I am sure the Palestinians who created and support BDS welcome your unbiased input.

      I can tell you have no bias by your use of the following words and phrases: infantalizes (sic), whining, non-starters, losing strategy…..all in one part of one sentence.

      • JustJessetr
        September 9, 2017, 9:40 am

        And I don’t embrace strategies that hurt the very people they are supposed to help. No matter who calls for them. You’re damn right I’m biased.

      • John O
        September 9, 2017, 1:10 pm

        @JustJessetr

        No pain, no gain, as they say.

      • amigo
        September 9, 2017, 2:21 pm

        “You’re damn right I’m biased.”

        Really.

        From JJ,S ARCHIVES.

        “I really don’t have a dog in the Zionist or anti-Zionist fight.”just jessr.

    • Mooser
      September 8, 2017, 1:48 pm

      “BDS is PEP. Nothing that BDS does has created an inch of progress in 50 years of boycotts.”

      Many people (not me) would agree with that, “JustJeesetr”.
      Yes, many peole might see it that way, and realize that an uncompromising anti-Zionism is the only way to go. You are right to remind them there is very little possibility of compromise.

  12. Kathleen
    September 8, 2017, 2:28 pm

    Biss clearly establishment.

  13. Kathleen
    September 14, 2017, 1:57 pm

    Phil what do you think about the willingness of Andrea Mitchell and Lawrence O’Donnell and team promoting war hawks like Bill Kristol Max Boot, Stephen Hadley, Eliot Abrams on their programs? Continually. These characters were all terribly wrong about their war stances. All pushed the invasion of Iraq without conscience.

    Not sure what is up with Mitchell and O’Donnell? Joy Reid promotes a few Iraq war hawks. Both Mitchell and O’Donnell seem committed to their promotion.

    Today Sept 14th Andrea Mitchell had Eliot Abrams on to discuss Iran. One would think they could find conservatives who have not been so deadly wrong….on purpose

    https://www.thenation.com/article/an-actual-american-war-criminal-may-become-our-second-ranking-diplomat/

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