HANOVER (N.H.) — Rep. Dean Phillips, who is running for the Democratic nomination as president, has a lot of issues to address in his campaign. The Israel-Hamas conflict is the one that has sparked the most passion on the campaign trail.
Polling by the public shows that Israel is dividing the Democratic Party. This week, it sparked a protest outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. The Capitol Police ended up breaking up the demonstration. The members of the Democratic House caucus are divided and have made critical remarks against each other.
Phillips’s question keeps popping up in the uncontrolled atmosphere of the New Hampshire election trail, where voters are free to come and go, and ask questions at their leisure.
A worker stopped the Minnesota congressman as he was leaving Lou’s Bakery, near Dartmouth College. He asked him what he thought about the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
Phillips stated, “I think it is urgent that a Palestinian State be created which can thrive in safety and security.” “Hamas must be eliminated. “The Palestinian Authority must be eliminated.”
Phillips continued, “Israelis must choose a new Government, they have to stop the settlements. We have to end this nonsense.”
I care deeply for both sides. Deeply. Phillips went on to say, “Plain and simple.” “The fact that everyone is only taking one side right now, and that includes a recent conversation I had with someone else over there, is the exact problem. Only one side. That’s the issue. “I think that both deserve safety and protection, and what is happening right now is disgusting.”
She replied that she was more in favor of a pro Palestinian government.
Phillips asked if she was a Hamas supporter, and she replied, “Yes, Moreo.”
Phillips stated, “That’s hard — that is — I have to be honest. That’s hard for me.” “Because of what they’ve done, and I urge you to watch the videos to see what they’ve done to people,” Phillips said, referring specifically to the Hamas attack on Oct. 7.
He sat with a Dartmouth graduate student at the same restaurant earlier. She told him that she was against colonization, and Zionism. She said during a heated debate, “I would never support a colony, regardless of how I feel about the Holocaust.”
Phillips replied, “If this is something you want to resolve, then please show empathy for both sides.” As he left the room, he added, “I speak for everyone, Palestinian children and Israeli children.”
Phillips is not the only Jewish person to have faced the tensions over Israel within the Democratic Party.
A young voter asked Phillips, during his first town hall meeting in New Hampshire in November, why he hadn’t called for a Gaza ceasefire.
Phillips asked her first how she felt when Israelis were killed. He then told her that he was disgusted at the loss of innocent lives.
He tried to explain his position on the necessity to eliminate Hamas. He spoke about his Jewish religion and his desire to work on this issue with Rashida Tlaib (Rep. of Palestine).
Phillips said that he was calling for the elimination a terrorist group which would …”
He did not finish his sentence. He didn’t finish his sentence.
The voter who had asked the question eventually cursed and left the room. After that exchange, at least three other people left the room in protest.
A group of 20 House Democrats in Washington are calling for a truce. The group of Democrats sent a letter urging President Joe Biden to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
On Wednesday night, tensions were evident when U.S. Capitol Police officers and a group pro-Palestinian protesters calling for a ceasefire congregated outside the DNC near the Capitol.
The Capitol Police announced on X, that “people are illegally and violently demonstrating.”
IfNotNow, a group which describes itself as “American Jews organizing our communities to end U.S. Support for Israel’s Apartheid System,” posted on X that “We are joining arms, threatening nobody, and begging [our] politicians to support a stop to the killing and suffering in Gaza.” Begging peacefully for a truce.”
The broader tension has also led to hatred directed towards the party and its leaders. The New Hampshire Democratic Party office in Belknap county was vandalized on Wednesday with antisemitic, white supremacist and swastika symbols.
In a written statement, Ray Buckley, the chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party wrote: “We stand unwaveringly in solidarity with all those who are targeted by these abhorrent crimes.” We will not let our fight against racism be thwarted or intimidated. We ask every citizen to join our fight to ensure New Hampshire remains an area where hate has no harbor.