One of the toughest parts about making sense of the conflict between Israel and Palestine is that so many kids are getting killed. People in the faraway safety of the United States choose up sides and make their cases for who is in the wrong and why. Some use religion as their basis. Some call for cooler heads on one side or both. Some can’t make sense out of any of it at all.
But when the United States entertains the notion of sending money to help our allies in Israel, there are people who have to take all these hard questions to heart and decide what to do. Those people sit in Congress, and they have to be ready to explain to their voters back home why they vote the way they do.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, a favorite among Progressive Democrats, recently voted to fund Israel and its airstrikes against Gaza to the tune of $225 million.
At a subsequent town hall meeting, which she hosted, Warren was challenged by one of her own supporters to explain her vote. He felt that it was wrong to fund Israel when their airstrikes hit schools and hospitals.
“We are disagreeing with Israel using their guns against innocents,” the man told Warren. “It’s true in Ferguson, Missouri, and it’s true in Israel. The vote was wrong, I believe.”
Lots of people in the room agreed with him. But Elizabeth Warren did not get where she is today by playing to please. Warren explained her vote in typical straightforward Warren style that her fans and supporters have come to expect from her.
“I think the vote was right, and I'll tell you why I think the vote was right," Warren said. "America has a very special relationship with Israel. Israel lives in a very dangerous part of the world, and a part of the world where there aren't many liberal democracies and democracies that are controlled by the rule of law. And we very much need an ally in that part of the world.”
As for the civilian casualties that have resulted from Israel’s airstrikes, Warren placed the blame squarely back on Hamas.
“[W]hen Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they’re using their civilian population to protect their military assets. And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself.”