Palestinian Group Clashes With Swalwell Over His Support for Israel

Constituents show opposition to U.S. support for Israel at a town hall in San Lorenzo Thursday held by Rep. Eric Swalwell. PHOTO/Steven Tavares

CONGRESS | 15th DISTRICT | On July 11, Rep. Eric Swalwell riled Palestinian groups and constituents in the 15th Congressional District with a Facebook posting that expressed sympathy for Israel in its ongoing conflict with Palestinians in Gaza. “Innocent civilians in Israel have been under constant attack from rocket attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza,” Swalwell wrote. “These attacks have recently escalated, with over 500 rockets fired at Israel in just the past month. I stand with Israel as it seeks peace and security in the region.”

It didn’t help the a photo of the Israeli flag accompanied the post. Hundreds made forceful comments in opposition and the item was shared over 1,300 times. Later that day, Swalwell posted another, but more even-handed response. “As the situation in Middle East escalates I am praying for a shared peace between Israel and Palestinians.”

A vast majority of the 90-minute town hall featured over a
dozen comments on Swalwell’s support for Israel.
PHOTO/Steven Tavares

Swalwell used the latter opinion often at a town hall Thursday night in San Lorenzo while over a dozen pro-Palestinian speakers dominated the proceedings and criticized him for his support of Israel. Swalwell repeatedly called for peace in the region, but also labeled Hamas a terrorist organization. “I don’t have a dog in this fight,” he said. “I just want peace in this area.”

When some speakers called him out for receiving campaign contributions from pro-Israeli organizations, Swalwell said, “You’re right. I have vote for and supported aid to Israel. I have supported aid for the Palestinian people,” and he added recently voting to send $47 million in aid to Palestinians. “We must give Palestinians economic opportunity and access to the rest of the world,” he said.

But, similar to the controversial online posting, Swalwell maintained Israel has a right to defend itself. “I firmly believe it has a right and that it does so in a targeted way, only going after Hamas. It’s unacceptable for any innocent people to die in this conflict. It is also unacceptable to use innocent people in this conflict as shields.” Later, he said, separating Hamas from the Palestinian people is essential to solving the conflict. ”It’s not going to be easy,” said Swalwell. A number of speakers expressed skepticism over Swalwell’s neutral stance. Whenever someone raised the subject of Palestine, dozens flashed sheets printed with the words, “Congressman Swalwell. End the occupation now.”

Saba Maher, a law student from Emeryville, and others, said the $47 million in humanitarian aid was a meager amount in contrast to $3 billion in support the U.S. gives Israel. “I know that may seem like a lot to you, but that translates to band-aids and cupcakes and maybe bricks to rebuild the infrastructure,” said Maher. “You continue to say Hamas is a terrorist organization, but congressman, I‘m here to tell you, it’s Israel’s policies and it’s the U.S. blanket support for Israel that is creating Hamas aggression against Israel.”

While the number of deaths on the Palestinian side greatly outnumbers those in Israel, Swalwell said, “Every rocket that is fired by Hamas is intended to kill innocent Israelis.” To date, just three Israelis have perished, while nearly 2,000 Palestinians have died from rockets fired on Gaza. In addition, an estimated 9,000 more Palestinians have been injured. “In the face of these numbers, and in the face of this injustice, how can you continue to send support to Israel?” Maher asked. “How can you sit there and say it’s not just body count? They have faces, they have names. They are people.”

Another speaker named Layma Ahmadzai began her remarks with “I’m an American. I was born in Fremont,” and also criticized Swalwell’s Facebook posting for being one-sided and not taking into account the loss of life on the Palestinian side of the border. Swalwell responded, “Body counts is not a measurement for the harm.”

Since his election nearly two years ago, Swalwell’s public support for Israel has been consistent. Just weeks after winning the election in November 2012, the then-congressman-elect Swalwell made comments regarding Israel  similar to rhetoric heard Thursday night. “No nation should face constant attacks on its civilians. I stand with hundreds in Congress who support Israel’s security and right to defend itself. I hope we can see long-term peace in the region and immediate calm for those who are living in fear,” he said, Nov. 16, 2012.

Swalwell’s political campaigns have also benefited from pro-Israeli groups. Since arriving on the political scene in 2012, Swalwell has received over $50,000 in contributions from such lobbying groups. The amount ranks as his fourth largest group of contributors. After one constituent Thursday charged Swalwell with accepting donations from the most powerful Israeli organization in the U.S., the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), he denied ever receiving money from the group. But, the comment is not entirely true. While fundraising records show AIPAC has never directly contributed to Swalwell’s campaign, his congressional trip last year to Israel, which he referenced Thursday, was paid for by a group called the American Israeli Education Foundation. This group is an offshoot of AIPAC.



Categories: CA15, campaign finance, congress, Eric Swalwell, Facebook, Gaza, israel, Palestinians, pro-israel, San Lorenzo, townhall

125 replies

  1. We have utterly NO interest in anything that you have to say.

    As this article is about the great representative our district NOW has, we return you to regular programming–anti-Semite free!

    Thanks for being a great friend to Israel and representing our district well, Congressman Swalwell!

    Keep up the good work and forget the anti-Semites in the district, who were permanently marginalized with your election two years ago. They can go cry their terrorist tears for Barbie Lee.

    Like

  2. Swalwell should be trying to bring peace to this area. Both Israel and Hamas doesn't want peace. Israel steals from us,spies on us, and in a manner of speaking spits in our face by refusing to agree to peace negotiations. In return we give them almost four billion a year. With allies like this we don't need enemies.

    Each country needs to go back to the United Nation borders that were set up years ago. That means Israel needs to stop building more settlements on Palestinian land and remove the ones that are on Palestinian land. These settlements are what enabled Hamas to come to power. Neither Hamas or Netanyahu want peace. The conservatives in Israel just want to take more land for settlements that they aren't entitled to and Hamas just wants to destroy Israel. Stop the settlements or peace will be impossible.

    Like

  3. (Pleasanton, CA) – Recently released polling shows a major development in the race for the 16th Assembly District. Democratic pollsters Penn Schoen and Berland surveyed 500 likely voters, on behalf of JobsPAC, showing Republican Catharine Baker starting the race in a dead heat with 42 percent of the vote to union backed Tim Sbranti’s 43 percent. But after testing the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, she jumps to a commanding lead 53-32% on the informed ballot.

    In recent weeks there has been a flurry of Democrat establishment activity and special interest donations to Sbranti from outside of AD-16, including donations from Southern California Democratic legislators and a $100,000 transfer from the Democratic Party. This recent activity demonstrates a concern among party bosses in Sacramento over Sbranti’s chances to win the centrist East Bay Assembly District.

    “Baker’s move among Independents was significant and resulted a net shift of 13% toward Baker,” said political analyst Joe Justin.

    Justin Matheson, an advisor to Baker’s campaign, said, “Baker’s bipartisan supporters are extremely motivated, as demonstrated by over 120 plus volunteers showing up to canvass this past weekend. She is also receiving key endorsements from local leaders from both parties. We are talking directly to voters, and one thing is clear: voters are not happy about Sbranti’s support for the BART strike, nor his being beholden to Labor Unions on every other issue. They want independent leadership and they are responding to Catharine’s message of common sense and independence.”

    To see the complete analysis of the survey, please [Click Here].

    Catharine is a mother of school-age twins and an active parent leader in local schools, having served as Vice President of the Dougherty Elementary School Site Council and on several school improvement committees.

    Catharine is also a volunteer leader in her community, previously serving on a local preschool board and volunteering with Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts in the region as an archery instructor. She also volunteers on the board of the Diablo Regional Arts Association in Walnut Creek, supporting arts and educational programs for families and schoolchildren throughout her community.

    Like

  4. We have utterly NO interest in anything that you have to say.

    As this article is about the great representative our district NOW has, we return you to regular programming–anti-Semite free!

    Thanks for being a great friend to Israel and representing our district well, Congressman Swalwell!

    Keep up the good work and forget the anti-Semites in the district, who were permanently marginalized with your election two years ago. They can go cry their terrorist tears for Barbie Lee.

    Like

  5. Back to the topic at hand——–worth repeating:

    Swalwell should be trying to bring peace to this area. Both Israel and Hamas doesn't want peace. Israel steals from us,spies on us, and in a manner of speaking spits in our face by refusing to agree to peace negotiations. In return we give them almost four billion a year. With allies like this we don't need enemies.

    Each country needs to go back to the United Nation borders that were set up years ago. That means Israel needs to stop building more settlements on Palestinian land and remove the ones that are on Palestinian land. These settlements are what enabled Hamas to come to power. Neither Hamas or Netanyahu want peace. The conservatives in Israel just want to take more land for settlements that they aren't entitled to and Hamas just wants to destroy Israel. Stop the settlements or peace will be impossible.

    Like

  6. We have utterly NO interest in anything that you have to say.

    As this article is about the great representative our district NOW has, we return you to regular programming–anti-Semite free!

    Thanks for being a great friend to Israel and representing our district well, Congressman Swalwell!

    Keep up the good work and forget the anti-Semites in the district, who were permanently marginalized with your election two years ago. They can go cry their terrorist tears for Barbie Lee.

    Like

  7. It's the American taxpayer that's paying for this war through our over generous 3.5 billion gift to the war Machine of Israel. Not only that we are paying for that Iron Dome that Israel hides behind so that it can steal land from the Palestinians and build new settlements. They need to go back to the 1967 borders and sit down and negotiate with Abbas not Hamas for a Palestinian state. I'm tired of our taxpayer money being wasted on Israel who has NO desire to sit down with us and Abbas ( not Hamas) to negotiate a peace settlement.

    Like

  8. We have utterly NO interest in anything that you have to say.

    As this article is about the great representative our district NOW has, we return you to regular programming–anti-Semite free!

    Thanks for being a great friend to Israel and representing our district well, Congressman Swalwell!

    Keep up the good work and forget the anti-Semites in the district, who were permanently marginalized with your election two years ago. They can go cry their terrorist tears for Barbie Lee.

    Like

  9. Swalwell should be trying to bring peace to this area. Both Israel and Hamas doesn't want peace. Israel steals from us,spies on us, and in a manner of speaking spits in our face by refusing to agree to peace negotiations. In return we give them almost four billion a year. With allies like this we don't need enemies.

    Each country needs to go back to the United Nation borders that were set up years ago. That means Israel needs to stop building more settlements on Palestinian land and remove the ones that are on Palestinian land. These settlements are what enabled Hamas to come to power. Neither Hamas or Netanyahu want peace. The conservatives in Israel just want to take more land for settlements that they aren't entitled to and Hamas just wants to destroy Israel. Stop the settlements or peace will be impossible.

    Like

  10. We have utterly NO interest in anything that you have to say.

    As this article is about the great representative our district NOW has, we return you to regular programming–anti-Semite free!

    Thanks for being a great friend to Israel and representing our district well, Congressman Swalwell!

    Keep up the good work and forget the anti-Semites in the district, who were permanently marginalized with your election two years ago. They can go cry their terrorist tears for Barbie Lee.

    Like

  11. Swalwell should be trying to bring peace to this area. Both Israel and Hamas doesn't want peace. Israel steals from us,spies on us, and in a manner of speaking spits in our face by refusing to agree to peace negotiations. In return we give them almost four billion a year. With allies like this we don't need enemies.

    Each country needs to go back to the United Nation borders that were set up years ago. That means Israel needs to stop building more settlements on Palestinian land and remove the ones that are on Palestinian land. These settlements are what enabled Hamas to come to power. Neither Hamas or Netanyahu want peace. The conservatives in Israel just want to take more land for settlements that they aren't entitled to and Hamas just wants to destroy Israel. Stop the settlements or peace will be impossible.

    Like

  12. The Final word:

    We have utterly NO interest in anything that you have to say.

    As this article is about the great representative our district NOW has, we return you to regular programming–anti-Semite free!

    Thanks for being a great friend to Israel and representing our district well, Congressman Swalwell!

    Keep up the good work and forget the anti-Semites in the district, who were permanently marginalized with your election two years ago. They can go cry their terrorist tears for Barbie Lee.

    Like

  13. The final, final word:

    Like

  14. The final, final, final word:

    Anonymous above you posted the same post multiple times now. We definitely have NO interest in what YOU have to say!

    The United Nations needs to set a deadline for Israel to end it's occupation of lands captured in the 1967 war and make way for an independent Palestinian state. Israel also needs to stop taking land from the Palestinians through settlements.

    Swalwell needs stop listening to one of the most powerful lobby in Washington D.C. and work for peace. He's supposed to represent ALL the people, not just the ones who give him money.

    Like

  15. We must say that we are mighty impressed with bitch's 6:17 entry, which represent the vacuous entity between her ears. She really knows how not to waste our time and bore us to yawns.

    Well done, bitch!

    The Final word:

    We have utterly NO interest in anything that you have to say.

    As this article is about the great representative our district NOW has, we return you to regular programming–anti-Semite free!

    Thanks for being a great friend to Israel and representing our district well, Congressman Swalwell!

    Keep up the good work and forget the anti-Semites in the district, who were permanently marginalized with your election two years ago. They can go cry their terrorist tears for Barbie Lee.

    Like

  16. Remember I've said BOTH Israel and Hamas are wrong. They need to go back to the boundaries the United Nations set up. Instead Israel keeps taken more Palestinian land and building settlements that prevent peace from happening. I guess when you are losing an argument you resort to name calling. Our Congressman should work for peace.

    Like

  17. Swalwell should be trying to bring peace to this area. Both Israel and Hamas doesn't want peace. Israel steals from us,spies on us, and in a manner of speaking spits in our face by refusing to agree to peace negotiations. In return we give them almost four billion a year. With allies like this we don't need enemies.

    Each country needs to go back to the United Nation borders that were set up years ago. That means Israel needs to stop building more settlements on Palestinian land and remove the ones that are on Palestinian land. These settlements are what enabled Hamas to come to power. Neither Hamas or Netanyahu want peace. The conservatives in Israel just want to take more land for settlements that they aren't entitled to and Hamas just wants to destroy Israel. Stop the settlements or peace will be impossible.

    Like

  18. Remember, I've said that you BORE us all to no end!

    We must say that we are mighty impressed with bitch's 6:17 entry, which represent the vacuous entity between her ears. She really knows how not to waste our time and bore us to yawns.

    Well done, bitch!

    The Final word:

    We have utterly NO interest in anything that you have to say.

    As this article is about the great representative our district NOW has, we return you to regular programming–anti-Semite free!

    Thanks for being a great friend to Israel and representing our district well, Congressman Swalwell!

    Keep up the good work and forget the anti-Semites in the district, who were permanently marginalized with your election two years ago. They can go cry their terrorist tears for Barbie Lee.

    Like

  19. It's the American taxpayer that's paying for this war through our over generous 3.5 billion gift to the war Machine of Israel. Not only that we are paying for that Iron Dome that Israel hides behind so that it can steal land from the Palestinians and build new settlements. They need to go back to the 1967 borders and sit down and negotiate with Abbas not Hamas for a Palestinian state. I'm tired of our taxpayer money being wasted on Israel who has NO desire to sit down with us and Abbas ( not Hamas) to negotiate a peace settlement.

    Like

  20. Remember, I've said that you BORE us all to no end!

    We must say that we are mighty impressed with bitch's 6:17 entry, which represent the vacuous entity between her ears. She really knows how not to waste our time and bore us to yawns.

    Well done, bitch!

    The Final word:

    We have utterly NO interest in anything that you have to say.

    As this article is about the great representative our district NOW has, we return you to regular programming–anti-Semite free!

    Thanks for being a great friend to Israel and representing our district well, Congressman Swalwell!

    Keep up the good work and forget the anti-Semites in the district, who were permanently marginalized with your election two years ago. They can go cry their terrorist tears for Barbie Lee.

    Like

  21. The final last word to the troll who bores us all:

    Swalwell should be trying to bring peace to this area. Both Israel and Hamas doesn't want peace. Israel steals from us,spies on us, and in a manner of speaking spits in our face by refusing to agree to peace negotiations. In return we give them almost four billion a year. With allies like this we don't need enemies.

    Each country needs to go back to the United Nation borders that were set up years ago. That means Israel needs to stop building more settlements on Palestinian land and remove the ones that are on Palestinian land. These settlements are what enabled Hamas to come to power. Neither Hamas or Netanyahu want peace. The conservatives in Israel just want to take more land for settlements that they aren't entitled to and Hamas just wants to destroy Israel. Stop the settlements or peace will be impossible.

    Like

  22. Remember, I've said that you BORE us all to no end!

    We must say that we are mighty impressed with bitch's 6:17 entry, which represent the vacuous entity between her ears. She really knows how not to waste our time and bore us to yawns.

    Well done, bitch!

    The Final word:

    We have utterly NO interest in anything that you have to say.

    As this article is about the great representative our district NOW has, we return you to regular programming–anti-Semite free!

    Thanks for being a great friend to Israel and representing our district well, Congressman Swalwell!

    Keep up the good work and forget the anti-Semites in the district, who were permanently marginalized with your election two years ago. They can go cry their terrorist tears for Barbie Lee.

    Like

  23. Swalwell should be trying to bring peace to this area. Both Israel and Hamas doesn't want peace. Israel steals from us,spies on us, and in a manner of speaking spits in our face by refusing to agree to peace negotiations. In return we give them almost four billion a year. With allies like this we don't need enemies.

    Each country needs to go back to the United Nation borders that were set up years ago. That means Israel needs to stop building more settlements on Palestinian land and remove the ones that are on Palestinian land. These settlements are what enabled Hamas to come to power. Neither Hamas or Netanyahu want peace. The conservatives in Israel just want to take more land for settlements that they aren't entitled to and Hamas just wants to destroy Israel. Stop the settlements or peace will be impossible.

    Like

  24. Remember, I've said that you BORE us all to no end!

    We must say that we are mighty impressed with bitch's 6:17 entry, which represent the vacuous entity between her ears. She really knows how not to waste our time and bore us to yawns.

    Well done, bitch!

    The Final word:

    We have utterly NO interest in anything that you have to say.

    As this article is about the great representative our district NOW has, we return you to regular programming–anti-Semite free!

    Thanks for being a great friend to Israel and representing our district well, Congressman Swalwell!

    Keep up the good work and forget the anti-Semites in the district, who were permanently marginalized with your election two years ago. They can go cry their terrorist tears for Barbie Lee.

    Like

  25. Swalwell should be trying to bring peace to this area. Both Israel and Hamas doesn't want peace. Israel steals from us,spies on us, and in a manner of speaking spits in our face by refusing to agree to peace negotiations. In return we give them almost four billion a year. With allies like this we don't need enemies.

    Each country needs to go back to the United Nation borders that were set up years ago. That means Israel needs to stop building more settlements on Palestinian land and remove the ones that are on Palestinian land. These settlements are what enabled Hamas to come to power. Neither Hamas or Netanyahu want peace. The conservatives in Israel just want to take more land for settlements that they aren't entitled to and Hamas just wants to destroy Israel. Stop the settlements or peace will be impossible.

    Like

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