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Rep. McGovern Fundraiser Met with Protests in Worcester

By Sam Bishop | March 28, 2024
Last Updated: April 4, 2024

WORCESTER – U.S.House of Representatives minority leader Hakeem Jeffries joined Rep. Jim McGovern at Worcester Plaza, at 446 Main St. on Tuesday morning. Attendees paid up to $3,000 for the breakfast meet and greet and reelection campaign fundraiser.

As soon as Jeffries began speaking, a group of activists at the event revealed a banner and led chants demanding an end to US military aid for Isreal and an end to Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip.

“70% of Gaza’s population is on the brink of famine. Israeli soldiers are now hammering Rafah where 1.3 million Gazans have fled. There can be no possible justification for sending additional weapons to Israel under these circumstances,” said Rena Grasso, a retired professor of Women Studies and Worcester resident who helped organize the disruption.

Anger from protestors was directed at Jeffries, who protestors assert has been a major receiver of donations from the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC), a powerful lobbying and fundraising PAC that donates heavily to candidates supportive of Israel.

“You’ve received over $300,000 from AIPAC while bombs were dropped on Gaza!” one unidentified protestor yelled at Jeffries while he attempted to begin his speech.

According to Open Secrets, a charitable organization that tracks campaign donations, Hakeem Jeffries has received $323,000 from donors connected to AIPAC in the current election cycle

“AIPAC’s pro-Israel at any cost politics enable horrific crimes against humanity. The Palestinian people deserve to thrive in freedom and justice. Congressman McGovern should not be fundraising with the most pro-war, pro-genocide members of the Democratic party.” said protestor Sarah Lerman-Sinkoff.

Outside of the event,  around 40 additional demonstrators held signs and handed out literature.

One protestor who unfurled the banner inside was escorted out of the event. She told the crowd that she was part of a Jewish community who rejected Zionism and that her faith impacted her decision to disrupt the event.

A group of activists previously spent three days occupying the Northampton office of McGovern in protest of his refusal to unequivocally call for an end to U.S aid to Israel.

The militant group Hamas led an attack from the Gaza Strip on Oct.. 7 that killed  695 Israeli civilians, 71 foreign nationals, 373 members of security forces, and led to 240 hostages taken. Since Oct. 7, 110 hostages were released. Since Israel launched a military response in the Gaza Strip, reports indicate that over 30,000 have been killed, 70,000 injured, and 1.7 million people, about 80% percent of the population, has been displaced.

Since the attack, the Biden administration has approved more than 100 arms sales to Israel, according to a report by the Washington Post on March 6. Two of those transfers were worth over $253 million. The rest were transaction below the amount the law requires disclosed individually.

Twice this month, Representative McGovern spoke out against sending more weapons to Israel as long as the Netanyahu government restricts humanitarian aid into Gaza. He previously called on President Biden to use US arms for Israel as leverage to get humanitarian aid trucks into Gaza.

The activists present on Tuesday say McGovern must unconditionally block all military to aid Israel, noting that US arms export laws prohibit sending weapons to countries engaged in gross violation of human rights.

Activists say their demands to the Democratic congressmen also include support for a permanent ceasefire and immediate restoration currently suspended US support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNWRA). Many plan to continue to protest McGovern until they feel these demands are met.

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