By Guy Page
Rep. Becca Balint’s most recent statement on the Israel-Hamas conflict lists expectations of Israel, the U.S., Egypt, and the world community – but asks nothing of Hamas.
Balint’s October 18 press statement doesn’t give the Oct. 7 invaders, killers and kidnappers a complete pass. She mentions “Hamas’ terror campaign.” Yet she makes no demands for the terrorist group that began the recent conflict, while in the name of humanitarianism cites many for Israel and others [highlighted in bold by VDC].
“I’m deeply saddened by the overwhelming, brutal loss of Israeli and Palestinian lives. The loss of civilian lives in Gaza and Israel is truly horrifying, and the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza will surely lead to the death of more innocent people, including children.
“To meet this moment with the moral clarity it requires, protecting innocent lives must be at the forefront of Israel’s response to Hamas’ terror campaign. The United States must work urgently with Israel, Egypt, and other countries in the region to ensure that critical supplies can reach the civilian population in Gaza. I support Israel’s right to defend itself after the unprecedented surprise attack against them. I’m calling for Israel to take all necessary measures to ensure the successful transport of aid to Gaza. With millions of lives at risk, attacks on homes, schools, water, and power must be off limits. Any acts of collective punishment are unacceptable, in keeping with international law.
“As a strong supporter of a two-state solution, I fear that the violence erupting right now will only serve as a setback to any hope of peace, security, and justice for both sides. The international community must find a path to reduce suffering and protect the innocent lives caught in the crossfire.”
VDC yesterday emailed to Balint’s press spokesperson: ‘Why does Rep. Balint not specifically call on Hamas to do anything constructive?’ As of this morning no response had been received.
State senators disagree on ‘end to the Israeli apartheid state’ – A day after one Chittenden County state senator called for an end to Israel, another has responded with a strong, public expression of support for Israel.
Thursday morning, October 19, Sen. Tanya Vyhovsky (D-P Chittenden, from Essex Junction) responded on her legislative email account to a pro-Palestinian email:
Thank you for reaching out and advocating for an end to the Gaza genocide. I am completely supportive of an end to the Israeli apartheid state and for the Palestinian people to finally have full rights and citizenship in Palestine. I know that there is not much that I can do as a state senator from Vermont but I will continue to advocate for an end to this humanitarian crisis in Gaza. I know this has been a difficult and divisive issue in the United States due to the widespread propaganda that we have been surrounded by for decades. Thank you for your bravery and for reaching out.
About 20 minutes after Vermont Daily Chronicle asked most of Vyhovsky’s fellow lawmakers to comment on her statements, Sen. Thomas Chittenden (D-Chittenden, from South Burlington) responded:
There are times when people want to know where I stand on global matters. Even though as a Vermont State Senator my influence over international matters like ‘peace in the middle east’ is practically non-existent, it is important for constituents to know where I stand on matters like this.
I stand with Israel.
On October 7th, a dozen Israeli communities suffered a brutal attack by Hamas militants who crossed the border from Gaza. A peaceful Saturday morning turned into a historical tragedy. Among the more than 1,300 victims, over two dozen were Americans. Israel is now in a war to protect its right to exist from terrorists who want to wipe it out, and I as one American stand with Isreal.
The scenes and stories from Israel are horrifying and nauseating. Hamas terrorists invaded communities, killing without mercy and taking hostages of innocent people. They massacred hundreds of Israelis at a music festival. Every American should denounce these terrible acts of violence and the terrorists behind them.
I am devastated by what is happening in Israel, and I’m praying for the victims and their families and those who are fighting to protect their country. Israel is one of America’s closest allies, and it is a stronghold of freedom and democracy in the Middle East.
Like many Americans, I am appalled by what Hamas has done to innocent Israelis, and I grieve the tragic deaths of our citizens. I hope you will join me in supporting the Israeli people as they face this crucial fight against terrorism and disorder.
Vyhovsky’s email drew this response from VTGOP Chairman Paul Dame: ”We are disappointed that a Vermont Senator is adopting talking points from a terrorist organization like Hamas, and using these talking points to gloss over the unprovoked attacks on innocent civilians earlier this month. While President Biden stands with our ally Israel, the only democracy in the middle east, it is disappointing to see extremist views like Sen. Vyhovsky’s coming from elected Democrats here in Vermont.”