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Sen. Blumenthal says he stands with Israel as civilian deaths mount in Gaza

Senator Richard Blumenthal speaks at the state Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Connecticut November 03, 2023
Eddy Martinez
Connecticut Public
Senator Richard Blumenthal speaks at the state Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Connecticut November 03, 2023

Sen. Richard Blumenthal cites his personal ties to Israel and national security concerns as the reasons for his continued support of the Israeli military's war against Hamas in retaliation for a series of attacks by the militant group in Israel.

“Like many people in Connecticut, I have friends and family in Israel,” Blumenthal said. “One of my cousins is in the IDF serving at the front.”

Blumenthal and other members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation expressed support for Israel in the wake of a series of attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7.

But while Sen. Chris Murphy is now calling for a change in strategy, citing disproportionate civilian casualties, Blumenthal has not made a similar statement, and continues to support a pause in the fighting as long as Hamas hostages are released.

But he is also calling for more restraint to avoid civilian casualties.

“I've also urged that civilian casualties be minimized during the trip that I made to Israel and afterward in my meetings with the Israeli ambassador, and other officials,” he said.

Murphy has also called on the Israeli military to avoid civilian casualties in a statement.

“The current rate of civilian death inside Gaza is unacceptable and unsustainable. I urge Israel to immediately reconsider its approach and shift to a more deliberate and proportionate counterterrorism campaign,” Murphy said.

Both senators have been criticized for their support of Israel during recent protests in Connecticut by pro-Palestinian protestors. Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s New Haven office was vandalized this week with pro-Palestinian graffiti.

Blumenthal said he’s willing to talk to protestors, which he did last week. But his support for the country is resolute according to him.

“I may disagree with them, but I will fight for their right to protest as long as it's peaceful. And if they disagree with me, I have my views, they have theirs. I happen to believe that Israel has a right and responsibility to defend itself.”

But while elected officials are being criticized for their pro-Israel stances, the war is occuring as antisemitic incidents are increasing throughout Connecticut in recent years.

In late October Gov. Ned Lamont condemned the rise of antisemitic incidents in Connecticut.

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