January 17, 2009 9:00 AM
Protesters Unhappy With Congressman's Support of
by Christine Stuart
More than 40 people braved biting cold temperatures Friday afternoon
protesters waved a Palestinian flag as they paraded down
for a meeting with US Rep. John Larson's District Chief of Staff John Rossi.
Margaret P. Levy of
several days ago, despite the freezing cold temperatures. "People are
getting killed everyday. We don't want it to be said we stood silent."
About 12 of the protesters made their way up to Larson's
office a few blocks from where they started their protest and were
ushered into a conference room where they discussed their strategy
while they waited for Rossi to join them.
"It's so hard to get our voices heard," Liz Aaronsohn, the daughter of
a Rabbi, said as she turned to the lone reporter in the room.
When Rossi entered the room he apologized for keeping them waiting and
asked the one reporter in the room (me) to leave, but Aaronsohn argued
on our behalf and Rossi allowed us stay for the more than one hour meeting.
The group was upset by Larson's Jan. 9 vote in favor of a resolution
Reps. Joe Courtney, Chris Murphy, Rosa DeLauro, and Jim Himes in
supporting the resolution.
"When our entire Congressional delegation endorses the massacre, we
must refuse to be silent," a statement that the group distributed to
Aaronsohn told Rossi that it was one thing to support the resolution,
but it was another thing to be the one of the co-sponsors of the
resolution. "Not just
she said. There are now 43 Islamic Centers in the state of
Before reading off a list of their demands for Larson the group went
around the conference room and talked for about two-minutes each about
why this issue was important to them.
David Amdur, from the American Friends Service Committee, told Rossi
he would like to see Larson support an investigation proposed by US
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. He said Kucinich is calling for an
investigation of the 1976 Arms Export Control Act, which says if the
to specific conditions and use those weapons solely for defense— not
escalation of a conflict. He said he believes
violating this act.
"America does not always have to fund Israel," Flo Woodiel of West
Youness Bakr, a member of the Palestinian American Congress, said the
any other crisis in the world." He said the United Nations has called
for a war crime probe and no journalists have been allowed in
since the offensive started more than three weeks ago, so it's
difficult to know what's going on. He said the
said it will allow reporters into
preoccupied with the presidential inauguration.
According to the New York Times, the Israeli military recently gave a
small group of reporters a tour of
"What more has to happen?" Bakr asked. "When you have the context it's
hard to make a decision against humanity."
"We are looking for some representatives with a moral backbone," he said.
Christopher Allen-Doucot, a Hartford Catholic Worker, said he knows
Larson is a moral man and was unequivocal in condemning the civilian
support such a resolution.
civilian, he said.
"Where is Mr. Larson's concern for those people?" he asked.
Levy told Rossi she was proud of Larson's early stance against the war
theorized that many people who come to hold positions of power support
"Israel does not have a monopoly on righteousness," she said. "And
yes, there's violence on both sides."
"The notion that the
to stop this makes no sense at all," she said.
Toward the end of the meeting, the group gave Rossi a list of their
demands, including a face-to-face meeting with the Congressman as soon
as he returns to the District and a public statement saying he
supports a bilateral cease fire.
Rossi told the group that Larson supported a cease fire based on a
statement he released Jan. 9 after a vote on the resolution. As copies
of Larson's statement were distributed the group read them and left
them on the conference table.
"I support a ceasefire that ends rocket attacks by Hamas, prevents
additional arms and explosives from entering
diplomatic initiative in the region," Larson said in the statement.
"This is disgusting," Bakr said. "I'm going to leave it here."
Allen-Doucot got up from his chair in disgust and grabbed his jacket
as he prepared to make an exit. "What am I going to tell my sons when
they're old enough to vote?"
Dr. Jamshid A. Marvasti of
Larson. "I hope he would not lose our trust, but honestly I cannot
defend him any more."