Monday’s rally, organized by Jewish groups and attended by several prominent politicians, put on full display the divides among top Massachusetts Democrats — and the party writ large — about how to approach the escalating crisis in the Middle East that’s taken the lives of at least 11 U.S. citizens and hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians.
On one end of the spectrum are Markey and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, two of the most progressive members of the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation. Both have called for de-escalation, and Pressley for an “immediate ceasefire.”
On the other end is Rep. Jake Auchincloss, a Jewish military veteran who called on President Joe Biden to send Israel “all military and diplomatic support necessary” in its fight against the Palestinian militant group. He whipped the Boston Common crowd into frenzied cheers as he declared that “de-escalation is not possible when [Hamas is] taking hostages” — a direct and unmistakable rebuke of what Markey had said minutes before.
Then there was Gov. Maura Healey, who said that “Massachusetts stands with Israel now and always.” There was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who described the U.S. as a “strong and faithful ally” to Israel and said she’s “committed to Israel’s safety and security.” There was Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, who said “Boston stands with Israel.” And there was Treasurer Deb Goldberg, who called for a “two-state solution.”
Massachusetts Democrats’ disparate views serve as a microcosm of sentiments within the party that are poised to intensify should the fighting between Israel and Hamas drag on. And their divisions could become a headache for Biden, who is already facing widespread Republican criticism of his administration’s policies in the Middle East as he navigates another test of his leadership abroad and at home.