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‘We want him to speak up on Palestine’: Boston SJP statement on being kicked out of Bernie Sanders rally

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The following statement was issued by Boston Students for Justice in Palestine after some of its members were kicked out of a Bernie Sanders rally on October 3 for holding a sign that said “Will Ya #feeltheBern 4 Palestine?” The Sanders campaign has since said the activists should never have been kicked out of Boston rally

On Saturday, October 3, members of Boston Students for Justice in Palestine attended the Bernie Sanders rally with a sign that read “Will Ya #feeltheBern 4 Palestine?”. We held our sign quietly and respectfully in the overflow area, and did not block any of the rally screenings or walkways. We received a warm welcome from surrounding Bernie supporters and rally participants, many of whom also carried signs.

Within minutes of arriving, we were approached by police and venue staff and told that the Bernie Sanders campaign team requested we take down our sign (see video). To our knowledge, no other individuals were asked to do the same. After we were told to take our sign down, we began filming our interaction with police and staff. We were immediately given a verbal trespass order and threatened with arrest.

We understand that in American politics, the mere mention of “Palestine” often stirs controversy, but polls show that a growing and increasingly diverse segment of the American population sympathizes with the Palestinian struggle for freedom and equality. This is especially true of young people like us. These numbers will only grow as more Americans become aware of Israeli human rights abuses and discriminatory policies and recognize that supporting Palestinian freedom, justice and equality is a progressive value.

We have discussed the incident with Sanders’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, who expressed regret about how we were treated and acknowledged that our sign was “appropriate” and “in the spirit of many other signs there.” We are eager to engage in a dialogue about inclusivity and the elevation of under-represented voices. Sanders speaks up for those hurt by low wages, gender inequality, school tuition, corporate power, and climate change. Recently, he released a broad policy platform to address systemic racism. We want him to also speak up for those hurt by US foreign policy and military aid: we want him to speak up on Palestine. We hope that Sanders and other presidential candidates will seriously consider our government’s role in Israel’s human rights abuses as they shape their foreign policy platform.

For more information on this story you can follow “Will Ya #feelthebern 4 Palestine?” on Facebook and Twitter

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36 Responses

  1. philweiss on October 6, 2015, 10:23 am

    This is an important incident. Please continue to stand up for Palestine inside the Democratic Party. We will win this battle, but it will take bravery and fortitude. And the hypocrisy of Bernie Sanders (and other lobby supporters) must be called out.

    • ziusudra on October 6, 2015, 1:13 pm

      Greetings,
      The German Israeli Historian Wolffson gave a possible solution for the crisis on German TV concerning the solution in Palestine.
      Land swaps, allowing the 500K to remain in the Settlements.
      Both peoples sharing all resources in a 1SS.
      He felt Israel wouldn’t be capable of removing the 500K to leave the WB area, but the Palestinians would be reimbursed!
      He also meant that a 2SS would cripple both sides.
      My question is, who will see this through that would be fair to both sides, who would guarantee equality, certainly not Israel, the US.
      ziusudra

      • HarryLaw on October 6, 2015, 3:57 pm

        Greetings ziusudra. The possible solution suggested by German Historian Wolffson cannot possibly work, if a two state solution could not work because it “would cripple both sides” the Israelis would certainly not allow a one state solution, which would mean the end of the “Jewish State” [and Zionist dream]. Any solution which puts the Palestinians in a Greater Israel area as the majority is not going to be acceptable to the Israelis and is a recipe for civil war. Better for the Israelis if they roll back the settlements, and get back behind the legitimate borders agreed to in 1948, that way they can be assured of a Jewish majority [if that is their wish] for the foreseeable future. Not perfect but possibly the best option.

      • Mooser on October 6, 2015, 6:02 pm

        “Any solution which puts the Palestinians in a Greater Israel area as the majority is not going to be acceptable to the Israelis and is a recipe for civil war.”

        “A civil war” meaning Israeli-against-Israeli? I should worry about that?
        Because Israeli might start shooting at each other, we should let them go on doing what they are doing?
        Let ’em.

      • diasp0ra on October 7, 2015, 9:40 am

        @Harrylaw

        The two state solution cannot possibly work either.

        Facts on the ground show that we already live in a one state, albeit an apartheid one. This will eventually become unchangeable thanks to Israeli policies, and if you ask me, they already are. Only when the world community reaches this realization, which they fast are, will the reality of the one state be acknowledged.

        Israel cannot win a fight against a call for equal rights.

        Everyone told Mandela that one South Africa would be impossible and that the black Africans should be content with their Bantustans but with greater sovereignty and Autonomy. One South Africa meant the end of the dream of the Boer state and their ambitions. There would be endless fighting and reprisals etc.

        Despite this, it all came crashing down. The two state solution is useless because not only does it create a faux statelet for Palestinians, it also cuts out the refugees abroad and short changes the Palestinians living inside Israel.

        We need to remember that this is a “solution” for the Palestinian cause, not the West Bank and Gaza.

      • Doubtom on October 7, 2015, 8:43 pm

        I thought to wait until Sanders started supporting Clinton to remove my support but it looks like I’ll be leaving the Sanders camp a lot sooner if he supports this kind of crap. If he can’t stand a little opposition or even questioning about his foreign policy, then he’s not the candidate for me. Sanders has always been dodging the Palestinian/Israel issue and he shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it. He either supports Israel’s ongoing theft of Palestinian land with illegal settlements or he doesn’t—that’s a very simple question! Yes or No!! Which is it Sanders?? I’m one of your ‘big’ financial supporters and I want an answer.

      • echinococcus on October 7, 2015, 10:26 pm

        Doubtom:
        He already abundantly answered the questions about Zionist occupation, Apartheid and genocide: “Israel has a right to defend itself” by mass murder and war of aggression –but they should please do it with less visibility.
        Watch this again:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBWD6Q8yWsQ
        And look up his voting record and speeches.
        So, it’s a big Yes!
        Tells you how much chance these gullible kids got of turning that guy around.

      • CigarGod on October 7, 2015, 11:24 pm

        Wait a minute, HarryLaw.
        1948 borders were agreed to?
        That is the first fail.

        Look at those 1948 borders.
        Geographically, militarily,..any kind of way, they are not workable.
        That is the second fail.

      • Sibiriak on October 7, 2015, 11:43 pm

        HarryLaw: Better for the Israelis if they roll back the settlements, and get back behind the legitimate borders agreed to in 1948.
        —————————

        The UN, the ICJ, and virtually the entire international call for Israel to get back behind the “Green Line”, aka 1967 borders. There is no way they will ever demand that Israel return to 1948 borders–let alone apply effective sanctions to that end.

        The BDS movement calls the end of Israeli occupation of Arab lands within 1967 borders.

        The PLO recognizes Israel within 1967 borders . Hamas has accepted 1967 borders .

        Any two state settlement will be based on 1967 borders . To think otherwise is a flight from reality.

      • echinococcus on October 8, 2015, 1:30 am

        Harry,

        Isn’t it clear yet that any solution at all, short of giving the Zionists the lordship of all Palestine without its owners, “is not going to be acceptable to the Israelis and is a recipe for civil war.”
        Period. Any other solution will have to be imposed. Talk about dreamers.

        As for “the legitimate borders agreed to in 1948”, I can’t for the life of me see anything even approaching that. Did the Palestinians, owners of the sovereignty over Palestine (not to mention the land) agree in a fair and general referendum or so? Can’t find any record of it.
        So who agreed, with what right, and who gave them the legitimacy?
        Are you giving a colonialist answer or not?

      • echinococcus on October 8, 2015, 5:07 am

        Sibiriak,
        The reality is that history is a series of upheavals. Just as an example, the whole Soviet and allies Bloc didn’t come down because some leader decided to make an unforced concession.
        Whoever limits his ultimate objectives, as distinct of course from tactical steps, limited to the time’s changeable whims, is not worth listening to.

    • W.Jones on October 6, 2015, 2:48 pm

      Yes, this sounds like a case of hardcore P.E.P.s in the Bernie Campaign.

  2. Les on October 6, 2015, 10:52 am

    If Jewish Voice for Peace were militant, they would also be insisting that Sanders and his supporters hear from them.

  3. ckg on October 6, 2015, 11:28 am

    Thanks MW editors. CNN has picked up the story. Bernie Sanders campaign apologizes for booting pro-Palestine activists

    • Doubtom on October 7, 2015, 8:48 pm

      To hell with the apology! I want some answers from Sanders. Is he supporting Israel’s illegal confiscation of Palestinian land on which to build illegal settlements or not! That will decide whether I continue to support Sanders! Speak up Sanders! You’re loud enough on all other issues.

    • Emory Riddle on October 8, 2015, 9:41 am

      His campaign laid all the blame on a low level staffer and claims she has been fired.

      Almost certainly pure BS.

  4. Rusty Pipes on October 6, 2015, 4:06 pm

    If you have not yet done so, one way to send a message to Sanders and his staff is by endorsing his platform and writing in “Justice 4 Palestine” in the “other” box for “issue areas of interest”. Sanders needs to know that the progressive base expects more than just lip service of “strong support for the 2-state solution.” It’s way past time for action.

    • csutter on October 6, 2015, 6:11 pm

      Great suggestion, Rusty. I am glad the Sanders campaign apologized, the activists should not have been thrown out in the first place.
      OTOH, re Phil’s comments about standing up for Palestine inside the Democratic party, I think we all should consider what happens if this issue blows up the Sanders campaign. Instead of anti-war, anti-militarism, anti-racism, anti-income inequality, etc, we’d get Hillary or worse.
      There is something to be said for the strategy Bernie has pursued inside the Dem party. He has shown he listens, learns, etc. If he came out now and said anything overtly pro-Palestinian, he’s done for. He can dance around it. He is not calling for any particular solution re I/P now, even though he said he supported the 2 ss in the past. If he had run as an independent, i.e. to make a point or draw attention to various issues (think Lessing) that would be one thing. Though many may disagree, he does have a shot of beating Hillary. And I doubt anyone who would vote for either Hillary or Bernie would go GOP because they are unhappy with who gets the Dem nomination. So I am hoping all my fellow supporters of Palestinian liberation will think about this and have some patience about Bernie and this issue. He is in it for the long hall, and if he wins, we have a much better chance of changing US foreign policy, cutting off Israel until they end the occupation, etc, etc.
      OK, you all can yell at me now.

      • annie on October 6, 2015, 7:21 pm

        I doubt anyone who would vote for either Hillary or Bernie would go GOP because they are unhappy with who gets the Dem nomination.

        you may be correct. but how many democrats might not show up to vote at all, feeling alienated their little issue is shit upon? would you have taken this same stance on an issue like gay rights in the run up to obama’s first election? that was a hot button issue not too long ago. would you have said if he touched it the whole campaign could ‘blow up the Obama campaign’? it’s an important human rights issue and you want us to just shut up about it. it’s certainly not a fringe issue on american campuses. it’s a big issue. it’s not like he’s being asked to support BDS.

        we have an opportunity here, if he tanked because of palestine maybe it would teach the left a lesson. that they can’t just depend on us year after year after year to show up and vote PEP for them — taking our support for granted and expecting us to shut up about what matters to us. how many decades is this supposed to continue. obama didn’t totally shut up about palestine.

        i want palestine to be front and center right now. election time holds opportunity for exposure.

        OK, you can continue lecturing us now.

      • echinococcus on October 7, 2015, 10:20 pm

        Instead of anti-war, anti-militarism, anti-racism, anti-income inequality, etc, we’d get Hillary or worse.

        Even conceding that he has a magic wand re income equality, how on earth is Sanders supposed to be any better than “Hillary or worse” re war, militarism, racism? He’s got the same past and the same program as most other candidates. Don’t know about etc. because it’s not a noun.
        Besides, here it’s all about Palestine. Oh, OK, the Middle East.

    • ckg on October 6, 2015, 7:08 pm

      Good idea, Rusty Pipes.

      • csutter on October 6, 2015, 7:33 pm

        Anne, You raise good points, but I might disagree a bit on some things, only because I know Bernie, worked with him on single payer health care (another long but good story). I do not think dems will stay home this time, regardless if their particular issue is shit upon or their candidate doesn’t get the nomination. And I agree Palestine is a MAJOR issue. I probably was thinking that for Bernie to address Palestinian rights meant he would also come out and support BDS. So your take on it, getting Palestine out there in front and center as a human right issue, as opposed to full on supporting BDS is well taken. So I stand amended. Thank you.

      • annie on October 6, 2015, 7:41 pm

        thank you for listening csutter.

  5. NCMarty on October 7, 2015, 10:35 am

    Having been a volunteer at a Bernie event I can testify that Jeff Weaver’s claim is very possible. It is barely coordinated bedlam. Lots of staffers and volunteers run around making decisions and coordinating with venue staff, often contradicting each other.

    But, Bernie’s position on Israel/Palestine is quite clear and consistent, although obviously I disagree with him strongly. In general, if you follow his talks out there on the stump, he doesn’t say much at all about foreign policy anywhere, focusing instead on domestic issues. While his position on Palestine might be “the same old,” his positions on just about everything else is so far ahead of anyone else I will do anything and everything I can to get him elected. I have never been and never will be a single issue voter. Just as I rejected arguments that I needed to vote for Clinton, Gore, Kerry, ad infinitum because of issues X or Y and/or SCOTUS, I will not cease supporting Bernie because he sucks on Palestine. He isn’t that great on immigration either sadly.

    And unlike past elections where it is picking from the lesser-of-two-evils or not voting, Bernie is so much better than any candidate that it will be the first time in my memory that I will walk into a voting booth and not hold my nose in voting for a Democrat.

    • echinococcus on October 7, 2015, 1:47 pm

      NCMarty,

      Thank you, all this board still missed was a piece of pure partisan propaganda for one of the “parties” with a chokehold on us all, that is administering the invasion and genocide in Palestine and fighting its proxy wars of aggression.
      Yes, what we urgently needed was more confusion, to leave things Palestinian and start having at each other. All this to support or not a despicable Zionist and lackey of the armament makers and warmonger, because he just happens to promise better jobs and health insurance and strawberry sundaes to the late American middle class.
      Isn’t this just the right place to sell your shit.
      Tell Bernie to come back when he’s given up his Zionism and has stopped praising the genocide of Palestinians.

    • Emory Riddle on October 8, 2015, 9:44 am

      Sorry but support for a violent racist colonial settler state that wields tremendous power in Washington DC and throughout the USA is an absolute deal breaker.

  6. Mary T on October 8, 2015, 3:36 pm

    Sanders supporters have a web site and have addressed the Israel/Palestine issue (sort of) with a little informational video at http://feelthebern.org/bernie-sanders-on-israel-and-the-palestinians/. I don’t know how many people here have seen this, or what commenters more knowledgeable than I think of it, but I find it disturbing, deceptive, and slippery. This is not the official Sanders site.

    • bryan on October 9, 2015, 5:17 am

      I would say anodyne rather than disturbing; it simply says its a difficult problem, and he doesn’t take sides. As to disturbing the only disturbing thing about these vacuous remarks is the claim that “Bernie has said that “A guy named Adolf Hitler won an election in 1932. He won an election, and 50 million people died as a result of that election”. If only that had been the case: Hindenburg won the 1932 Presidential election in which Hitler took 36.8% of the vote. Hitler did not come to power until 1933. Bernie may need to wise up on European and Middle eastern history.

  7. kalithea on October 8, 2015, 10:23 pm

    Where are all the Jews with a conscience on the Palestinian issue and why aren’t they storming Sander’s rallies and shaming him on this issue?

    Oh that’s right, there aren’t as many as we imagine and those who care aren’t showing it that much. Mostly it’s lip service.

    This will be huge missed opportunity proving that Jews who pretend to care don’t care enough to go out on a limb and fight for justice for others.

    I’ve always said if Jews don’t do something about this no one else can, because the rest of us are bound and gagged by the watchdogs and gatekeepers.

    • annie on October 9, 2015, 12:06 am

      if Jews don’t do something about this no one else can, because the rest of us are bound and gagged by the watchdogs and gatekeepers.

      oh gag me with a spoon. you or any other non jew could go to those rallies as easy as any jew. i can’t do it because the jews don’t!!! whine whine whine. i’m waiting for the 2% to stand up and lead the way!!! whine whine whine. take some responsibility.

      • kalithea on October 9, 2015, 3:28 am

        So I’m assuming by the double three exclamation points I hit a nerve?

        There’s only one reason why Palestinians are stuck in this prison called Zionism; a whole lot of Jews put them there and they hold the key to set them free, and I’m almost certain they threw it away. It is what it is; don’t blame me.

        This is not South Africa; it’s Apartheid all right and much more, but in Israel it’s not going to end the same way; it’s not going to end. South Africa was a cake-walk.

        As far as supremacist ideologies go, you can say the Nazis invented supremacy, or at least gave it a name, and Zionists perfected it and as with the Nazis it has nothing to do with religion or God, that’s just what Zionists want everyone to think. It’s all about power and hoarding power and power is not something one easily gives up.

        Let’s just say that Zionism, which geographically means Israel, is key to checking the world’s guilt and sustaining supremacy. And who’s gonna give that kind of power up when it was a long time coming with much trial and tribulation? There’s a whole lot of very effective machinery in place to defeat and if necessary destroy non-Jews who want justice for the Palestinians. So we’re supposed to take the fall and assume the greater risk when Jews hold the key? What are we-masochists?

        And as for Jews whose conscience bothers them: they’re caught between doing good and the greater good for the tribe. But we all know what kind of injustice that implies. And every Jew who stops to examine his/her conscience has this latter choice to make. But hey, if lip service makes them think they’re doing something just and right while they take their time to make up their mind, who am I to judge?

        It’s perfectly rigged. So in other words: the Palestinians are screwed.

        Why is Roger Waters risking his life’s reputation as a genius in the music industry for this cause and no Jew of his stature and world-renown is risking same?

        (And don’t give me the names of dead people.) When the likes of Bob Dylan and Steven Spielberg come out against Zionism maybe my faith in the Jewish conscience will be restored!

      • annie on October 9, 2015, 4:05 am

        I’m assuming by the double three exclamation points I hit a nerve?

        you’d be wrong. i was mocking you. for someone “bound and gagged by the watchdogs and gatekeepers” you don’t seem to have much problem expressing yourself.

  8. Kathleen on October 9, 2015, 11:26 am

    Sanders will be here in Boulder tomorrow Saturday the 10th. Plan to be there holding a sign about this issue. Hope others here in Boulder do the same.

    Love Bernie on so many issues, however not his votes always supporting Israel against the Palestinians.

  9. zaid on October 9, 2015, 1:43 pm

    No expectations No disappointments.

    We were fooled once by Obama, He lied to the Palestinians in Cairo.

    Sorry , Not interested.

  10. Jasonius Maximus on October 11, 2015, 11:28 pm

    I’m utterly gobsmacked! Regardless of ANY misunderstanding or miscommunication, I’m still trying to figure out what part of the First Ammendment and the freedom of speech that the “police and venue staff” didn’t seem to mind ignoring. Apparently when Israel/Palestine is involved our Constitutional rights now take a back seat to good ol’ fascism! Good to know that the future of our country is now dictated by the rogue 51st State of the U.S.A.

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