Opinion: Cursing Klobuchar

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I was sitting in my apartment getting ready to throw a chicken pot pie in the microwave when I got a call from a friend who had gathered outside the neighbor’s house with giant eyeballs in the air.

Wondering what to expect, I hurried to my car and drove to his apartment in Marcy-Holse. Religious followers? Religious fanatics? Extremely religious worshippers?

I recently found out that this is the home of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL) and the people in front of her house shocked me, although they were, quite reasonably, angry.

The Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Twin Cities chapter gathered outside Klobuchar’s home on November 15 to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. At the time, Klobuchar did not vote in favor of a ceasefire.

JVP tried to schedule a meeting with Klobuchar before the rally, but nothing came of it, JVP member Kat Rennie said. Rennie said she was present on Nov. 15 but was not present when JVP spoke with Klobuchar’s staff to try to set up a meeting with the senator.

While a ceasefire is currently being negotiated to allow for hostage negotiations, both Hamas and Israel have accused the other of violating the ceasefire.

Protesters performed traditional Jewish mourning rituals such as the kriya – the cutting or discarding of clothing as an expression of grief – and prayed the mourner’s Kaddish. And of course, they caught a giant eyeball in the air.

According to Celeste Robinson, who organized the November 15 protest, this giant eyeball “evil eye” is said to be worn as a symbol of protection in Judaism, but it can also be used as a curse. In the past, Robinson has organized around labor issues, most notably for the $15 minimum wage in Minnesota.

By the end of the march, Klobuchar’s yard was littered with torn black cloth and a banner over her door that read, “Does their blood hurt you?” It was. Referring to Palestinian civilian casualties in Gaza.

While much of the conversation surrounding the siege on Gaza revolves around anti-Semitism, some may be surprised to see the Jewish organization’s strong support for Palestine. Robinson disagrees.

“I was a very strong supporter of Palestinian independence. And I’ve been a staunch anti-Zionist for a long time,” Robinson said. “There’s just as big, huge, huge anti-Semitism in the absolute most pretentious way possible.

The situation in Gaza is indeed dire, with the fate of hundreds of Israeli hostages still hanging in the balance and the civilian death toll in Gaza exceeding 10,000. The fate of these hostages is so dire, but must it cost the lives of thousands?

This is not to say that those lives do not matter, rather, the loss of civilian life at such an unimaginable rate is inexcusable and should not be done in the name of those hostages or the Jewish people as a whole.

“That’s why our slogan is ‘not in our name,’ because obviously, genocide should never happen, but it is happening in our name and we will not allow it in our name in any way,” Robinson said.

The protest in front of Klobuchar’s home was more than just accusing the senator and trying to make their voices heard. It was an act of catharsis.

“It hurts all of us psychologically to watch these things and be bystanders and be so helpless and know that our tax dollars are subsidizing those bombs,” Robinson said.

Congress is still talking about providing military aid to Israel, but this is certainly not the beginning. The United States has sent $158 billion in military aid to Israel since 1948, and that number is rising.

The US dollar is responsible for the increased civilian violence and those who allow this spread are inherently responsible for the deaths. Paying your taxes doesn’t mean you’re a killer, but be aware of where your money is going.

The prospect of hostages in danger is very disappointing, but when it is allowed to be the cause of the mass death of civilians, the ethical line does not blur, it becomes invisible. The United States is in a critical position to influence this conflict, pouring money into missiles will not provide any solution.

We should be concerned about the hostages. We should be concerned about Palestinian civilians. And we should be concerned about where our government stands in all this.

No one wants genocide to be brought against them, but that’s why it’s so important. The people who are supposed to represent the citizens have repeatedly failed to do so. When the stakes are high and so many lives are at stake, silence is a death sentence.

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