Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey faced loud boos during a rally for solidarity with Israel when he advocated for reducing tensions in the Middle East region.
Speaking at Boston Common on Monday, Markey was met with disapproval from some in the crowd as he called for a “de-escalation of violence.” He expressed empathy, saying, “Many of you have family in Israel now, and many more have loved ones who have endured brutal conflicts to secure the continued existence of the Jewish state—we share your sorrow.”
His remarks came in the aftermath of an aggressive and devastating attack on Israel by Hamas militants just days earlier, which resulted in the loss of hundreds of civilian lives and the abduction of bystanders and soldiers as hostages.
In response, Israel launched airstrikes and declared a state of war. According to the Associated Press, this escalation of violence has resulted in the deaths more than 1,600 people.
During the rally, Senator Markey found himself at odds with another member of his delegation, Representative Jake Auchincloss, who opposed the ongoing conflict. Auchincloss received loud cheers from the same audience when he declared de-escalation was “impossible.”
A spokesperson for Congressman Auchincloss clarified that these remarks had been prepared in advance and were not a direct response to Senator Markey’s statements.
The differing views between Markey and Auchincloss are not new. Senator Markey advocated for de-escalation as early as Saturday when the Hamas attacks began, plunging Israel into a full-scale war. In contrast, Auchincloss had referred to these calls as “premature” and had urged the United States to support Israel in light of recent developments.
“This is not a situation where both sides are equally responsible; calls for de-escalation are untimely,” Auchincloss stated in a social media post on Sunday. “The United States did not seek de-escalation after Pearl Harbor. Israel needs the military flexibility to reestablish deterrence and eliminate terrorist elements in Gaza.”
During a televised appearance on Boston 25 News, he added, “What Israel requires from U.S. policymakers is not a ‘both sides’ approach that suggests both parties should lay down their arms. No, one side initiated this attack. One side caused civilian casualties. The other side is working to restore peace and security, and the U.S. must clarify that we stand with Israel in this situation.”
In contrast, a day before Israel officially declared war, Senator Markey stated on Saturday, “I condemn this atrocious attack on Israel and am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of civilian lives. We must do everything possible to de-escalate the violence, engage in diplomacy, and prevent further bloodshed. A war between Israel and Palestine would be catastrophic.”