Rusty Hicks, chairman of the California Democratic Party (CDP), warned delegates to a Sacramento convention on November 25 that they would be “held accountable” if they participated in anti-Israel protests at the event.
Protestors besieged the conference in the Californian capital, calling for an immediate ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that dozens of demonstrators descended on the event and disrupted proceedings, including drowning out the speech of Rep. Katie Porter, who has not backed a cessation of the conflict.
Rep. Adam Schiff, who, like Porter, has not called for a ceasefire, also had his speech interrupted. Rep. Barbara Lee, one of the few Congress members to advocate a military cessation, was cheered by the crowds when she took to the stage and said, “I’m calling for a ceasefire now!”
Around 90 minutes after the protestors entered the building, organizers canceled the evening’s remaining events. Sherry Yang, communications director for the California Democratic Party, announced the closure of the conference, saying it was “Due to circumstances beyond our control, and for the safety and security of our delegates and convention participants.”
The Democratic Party is divided over the Middle East conflict that began with a terror attack by Islamist group Hamas on Israeli civilians on October 7. Protests and demonstrations erupted worldwide, and tensions and emotions heightened. One New York City rally was denounced as “abhorrent and morally repugnant” by New York’s Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, who said she could not condone pro-Palestinian protests while Israeli civilians faced “violent terrorist attacks.”
Left-wing Democrats known as the “Squad” courted controversy over their reactions to the attack on the Jewish state. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemned Hamas but accused Israel of “human rights violations.”
Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib faced a formal resolution in the House of Representatives when she defended chants of “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” The phrase is widely seen as a call for the annihilation of Israel.