New Hampshire Jewish leaders lashed out at a progressive Democratic campaign to use write-in ballots in their party’s primary to accuse Israel of genocide and condemn President Joe Biden’s support for its war on Hamas.
Former Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky (D) and a grassroots group of progressives launched their “Vote Ceasefire” plan on Wednesday, urging their fellow Democrats to write “Ceasefire” on their ballots in the First in the Nation presidential primary.
“I think about this in terms of ending the regional conflict and stopping the annihilation of the people of Gaza,” Volinsky said during a Wednesday press conference. Another leader of the effort, self-described peace activist Morgan Brown, told reporters, “The United States has been funding genocide in Gaza.”
And Brown added, “The bombs being used in their genocide are coming from the Democratic Party.”
Asked to condemn the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, which governs Gaza, the “Vote Ceasefire” leadership declined to respond. Reached via Facebook after the press conference, Volinsky responded to a follow-up request for a statement condemning the terror attack with a heart emoji.
Tracy Richmond, chair of the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire, said she didn’t necessarily disagree with the idea of Democrats using their ballots to make a statement about the current conflict.
“I love the idea of a write-in,” Richmond said. “Perhaps they could write in ‘release the hostages’? While [Volinsky] might not support Biden’s Israel policy. the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire does not support holding innocent civilians — including women, children, and the elderly — for more than 100 days.
“If we want to advocate for peace for all people, let’s start with the innocent Israelis kidnapped from their homes on Oct. 7,” Richmond added.
The New Hampshire House USA-Israel Relations Caucus, a bipartisan group of Granite State lawmakers, released a statement condemning the “Vote Ceasefire” initiative, calling it “divisive and inappropriate.”
“New Hampshire holds its First in the Nation primary elections in accordance with upholding our constitutional duties, which is a serious responsibility and commitment,” it wrote. And, the caucus noted, “Nowhere in this campaign did Volinsky mention the unspeakable horrors committed by Hamas in executing over 1,200 Israelis and taking hostage 240 civilians, many of whom were women and children.”
“We don’t believe there is anyone with a beating heart who does not want to protect the innocent victims of Gaza,” the group added. “It is heartbreaking to see what is happening to an entire population, 47 percent of whom are children. However, hijacking the ballot to direct foreign policy is a dangerous, inappropriate, and slippery slope.”
Among the signatories are Caucus Chairman Rep. James Spillane (R-Deerfield) and Reps. Judy Aron (R-Acworth), Anita Burroughs (D-Glen), Kris Schultz (D-Concord) and Jordan Ulery (R-Hudson).
“When my caucus learned of the reprehensible attempt to attack Israel using our state primary, there was unanimous outrage and disappointment,” Spillane told NHJournal. “For Volinsky and his friends to attempt to spread their antisemitism so publicly is unfathomable to me. It shows me just how little a small minority in the state, and in fact the country, feel they have to hide their racist hate these days. It is unacceptable in every form, and makes me happy that we never elected Volinsky as governor and that he is not serving now.”
Volinsky told far-left media outlet The Nation that “organizers of the New Hampshire campaign have already heard from activists in other states.
“I’m not interested in replacing Biden,” Volinsky said, adding: “The Biden administration was able to veto the United Nations resolution on a humanitarian cease-fire. But on Tuesday, they won’t be able to veto my vote demanding a cease-fire.”