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We are lifelong Democrats who hold DFL Party positions and have given much to the party over time. We feel compelled to take leaves of absences, from now through Nov. 8, and we wish to express our reasons.

On the morning of Oct. 7, we woke to stories of unspeakable atrocities committed by the terrorist organization Hamas against thousands of innocent civilians, most Israeli but some Americans, too.

From its launching pad in Gaza, Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel's population centers, then breached its land defenses. Hamas poured into Israeli towns and villages, slaughtered entire families, set houses on fire and shot residents as they fled. They killed children and burned their bodies; they raped young women. Teenagers enjoying a music festival took refuge from them in a shed, and they lobbed cluster grenades at them. They seized children and elderly as hostages, dragged them back to Gaza, to unspeakable fates.

The Jewish members in our coalition have been unable to get through the days: They have been reliving pogroms and the Holocaust scripts in their heads that replay repeatedly.

Two days later, on Oct. 9, the Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America (TCDSA) released a statement expressing solidarity not with the victims, but with Palestine. It did not mention the Hamas atrocities, much less condemn them. The statement reiterated the TCDSA's routinely belligerent stance toward Israel, concluding with the slogan: "From the River to Sea!," which is a battle cry to eliminate the world's only Jewish state.

Hamas just had demonstrated what it would do in the absence of a strong Jewish state: It would massacre Jews. The TCDSA apparently approves.

On the evening of Oct. 10, Gov. Tim Walz, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and many other elected officials joined grieving Jews and supporters at a beyond-capacity gathering to express solidarity with Israel. In his remarks Gov. Walz said: "If you do not find moral clarity about what was seen Saturday morning, you need to re-evaluate where you're at." He added, "This is not a geopolitical discussion. It's murder."

We agree, and we deeply appreciate the governor's moral clarity. We also appreciate DFL Chair Ken Martin's immediate denunciation of TCDSA remarks, and his continued castigations as the TCDSA has doubled down. We appreciated the forceful condemnations from Jewish DFL lawmakers as well.

Perhaps realizing that it had created electoral vulnerabilities for its endorsed City Council candidates, on Oct. 12, the TCDSA issued a "clarification," acknowledging that yes, Jews had been killed. But then it immediately reverted to its customary denunciation of Israeli "apartheid," as if Hamas' Israeli victims had deserved their fate.

We cannot say if the TCDSA is steeped in Jew-hatred, or if it simply is unable to find the moral clarity of which Gov. Walz spoke. It hardly matters: Jew-hatred flourishes in the absence of moral clarity.

There is no room for moral vacuity or hate within the DFL. Yet in 2023, the DFL has endorsed four candidates for Minneapolis City Council who previously had sought and received endorsements by the TCDSA. The candidates are Soren Stevenson (Eighth Ward), Jason Chavez (Ninth Ward), Aisha Chughtai (10th Ward) and Aurin Chowdhury (12th Ward). In their TCDSA endorsement questionnaires, all said they support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which seeks to eliminate Israel. As of Oct. 15, none of these candidates had disavowed TCDSA's justification of Hamas' rampage against Jews, and when asked by Star Tribune reporters to comment about the TCDSA statement, all refused.

We cannot support these candidates, and we feel compelled to support their competitors, as we cannot allow the Minneapolis City Council to gain a morally bankrupt, ideologically rigid and quite likely antisemitic majority. But party rules prohibit us from doing what is right. For the sake of our metro region, our state and our party, we take immediate leaves of absences, returning to our positions when these candidates' DFL endorsements expire on Nov. 8.

While our leaves are temporary, this episode illuminates the untenable choices we will continue to face. We never can make common cause with those who give tacit support to Hamas and find ways to justify the mass murder of Jews. The party must address this issue long term.

Signed by: Tyler Balbuena, SD59 director; Latonya Reeves, Minneapolis DFL secretary, feminist caucus director; Teresa Coryell House, SD61 vice chair; Erica Pieske, SD59 director; Julie Wicklund, SD61 State Central Committee alternate, feminist caucus director; Martha Holton Dimick, senior caucus membership committee chair; Viviana Salazar, SD59 vice chair; Jacob Hill, feminist caucus director; Mary Pattock, W7 representative to Minneapolis DFL, founding member feminist caucus; Jessica Shaten, SD63 State Central Committee alternate; Patricia Pieske, W4-P05 precinct chair; Joe Radinovich, W11-P07 precinct chair; Sheila Ann Scott, W4-P02 precinct vice chair; Lacey Gauthier, W12-P08 precinct vice chair; Jean Ross, W13-P13 precinct vice chair.