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Michigan lawmaker cuts ties with Democratic Socialists of America over pro-Palestinian rally

Rep. Shri Thanedar, D-Mich., announced Wednesday that he was ending his relationship with the Democratic Socialists of America political organization. Photo courtesy of Re. Shri Thanedar/X
Rep. Shri Thanedar, D-Mich., announced Wednesday that he was ending his relationship with the Democratic Socialists of America political organization. Photo courtesy of Re. Shri Thanedar/X

Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Rep. Shri Thanedar of Michigan announced he is renouncing his membership to the Democratic Socialists of America political organization after its New York branch promoted a pro-Palestinian rally a day after Hamas launched a deadly surprise attack on Israel.

"After the brutal terrorist attacks on Israel, which included the indiscriminate murder, rape and kidnapping of innocent men, women and children, I can no longer associate with an organization unwilling to call out terrorism in all its forms," the Democrat said Wednesday in a statement published to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

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"Sunday's hate-filled and antisemitic rally in New York City, promoted by the NYC-DSA, makes it impossible for me to continue my affiliation."

The pro-Palestinian rally was held in Times Square on Sunday, coinciding with a pro-Israel rally being held at the same place and time, resulting in clashes. NYC-DSA had tweeted a since-deleted post on Saturday that had promoted the event.

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The rallies were organized a day after Hamas, a militant group recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States and several of its allies, launched a surprise attack on Israel. Israel responded by saying it was at war with Hamas, and has been conducting brutal mass air strikes on Gaza since.

In the five days of war, the combined death toll has grown to roughly 2,300, including 1,100 Palestinians and some 1,200 Israelis.

The pro-Palestinian rally came under swift condemnation, including from New York Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, who have ties to DSA.

"The bigotry and callousness expressed in Times Square on Sunday were unacceptable and harmful in this devastating moment," Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement to Politico's Play Book.

"It also did not speak for the thousands of New Yorkers who are capable of rejecting both Hamas' horrifying attacks against innocent civilians as well as the grave injustices and violence Palestinians face under occupation."

Bowman said in a statement that she was "shocked and disgusted by the rally held here in NY this weekend celebrating death or attacks on civilians and showing swastikas."

"I condemn any demonstration that does this in the strongest possible terms. We must proceed on the basis of recognizing our shared humanity."

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NYC-DSA responded to the criticism, stating it had tweeted a promotion of the rally in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

"We understand why many, including our allies, were shocked by the timing and the tone of this message in a moment of profound fear and grief," it said Tuesday in a statement. "We are sorry for the confusion our post caused and for not making our values explicit."

In his statement Wednesday, Thanedar said he stands with Israel and its right to defend itself, while proclaiming that there is "no place for moral equivocation in the face of unadulterated evil as we have seen from Hamas."

"I strongly believe that ending my association with DSA serves my constituents' interests as they expect me to represent them by helping to build a better, more just world, not fanning the flames of hatred," he said.

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