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Minnesotans protest Senator Klobuchar’s pro-war record

By Kent Mori |
March 19, 2019
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Meredith Aby-Keirstead
Meredith Aby-Keirstead (Photo by Brad Sigal)

Minneapolis, MN - On March 15, 30 protesters gathered in front of Senator Amy Klobuchar’s Minneapolis office to condemn her support for the Trump administration policy of regime change in Venezuela and support of U.S. aid to Israel. Since Klobuchar has kicked off her presidential campaign, the Twin Cities anti-war movement has responded by holding multiple protests, including a picket at her presidential announcement at Boom Island, to draw attention to the senator’s long record of voting for military aid and U.S. intervention.

Responding to the savage and racist mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, Misty Rowan of the MN Anti-War Committee (AWC) opened the protest with, “The reactions of Klobuchar and other politicians to the recent tweets and comments by Ilhan Omar about AIPAC demonstrate the dangers of seeing one form of discrimination but not another.” She continued, “I've just been informed that a fellow committee member called Klobuchar's office this morning to ask if she has made any statement about the Christchurch attacks. The office person said, basically, no comment. So while she felt it was important to put out a statement against her fellow lawmaker, this [Christchurch] happens and she chooses to stay silent.”

Christine Hauschildt, also a member of the AWC, addressed the crowd on the senator’s hawkish stance on Venezuela, “We are concerned with the overwhelming negative impact that the U.S. intervention has had on the safety and security of the Venezuelan people. Senator Amy Klobuchar does not share that concern.” Instead, “Senator Klobuchar supports the destabilizing a foreign, elected leader through U.S. intervention.” This intervention includes the brutal sanctions imposed on Venezuela, disguising weapon shipments to the right-wing Venezuelan coup forces as ‘humanitarian’ aid, and the sabotage that affected the Venezuelan national electrical grid.

Brad Sigal from Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) spoke about the primary focus of MIRAC being the fight for legalization and full equality for immigrants, while also opposing U.S. interventions across the world. Sigal explained, “we also stand with anti-war efforts to put an end to U.S. government policies that provoke forced migration. And that means ending U.S. intervention in other countries. So many people come here from Mexico, Central America, East Africa and Southeast Asia because they are displaced by U.S. intervention in their countries. We stand with the anti-war movement because today's war creates tomorrow's migrants and refugees.”

Meredith Aby-Keirstead, a member of the Anti-War committee, was the last speaker at the protest. She contrasted the courageous stands by Representative Ilhan Omar with the terrible positions that Senator Klobuchar has taken during her run for president. Minnesota’s 5th district Representative Ilhan Omar dared speak truth to power about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and exposed the injustice of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Senator Klobuchar is the only Democratic presidential candidate to vote to penalize the BDS – the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement; she is the candidate seeking to be recognized as most friendly with AIPAC, and joined in the racist attacks against Representative Ilhan Omar.

Aby-Keirstead continued by noting that Klobuchar’s support for Israeli human rights abuses is not new. From 2006 until the present, as thousands of Palestinians have been killed and wounded by Israeli aggressions, Klobuchar has been silent. To underscore this indifference she explained, “In 2008 I was at a constituent meeting with Senator Klobuchar where she heard testimony from our local Palestinian community about how Operation Cast Lead was affecting their families in Palestine. They showed her pictures of dead children and told her horror stories, but she was shockingly unmoved despite the heartache of her constituents.”

The protest was organized by the MN Anti-War Committee and endorsed by the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) UMN and Women Against Military Madness.

The next Twin Cities protest concerning U.S. intervention in Venezuela will be on March 30 at 1:30 p.m. at the intersection of Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue in Minneapolis.