Colorado Congresswomen Pettersen, Heavily Funded by Israeli Interests, Shows No Interest in Representing Her Constituents

Gun Rights

By: Vanessa Byrd

For the last six months, Americans have been complicit in an Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people.

Despite empty rhetoric of two state solutions, Colorado congressmembers continue to defend the interests of Israel in contradiction of their own constituent’s calls for a ceasefire.

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Denver protest against the horror in Gaza. Photo by Red Tornado

You hear all kinds of responses from the Colorado Congressional delegation when you bring up genocide.

  • Israel has the right to defend themselves.
    When does self-defense end and genocide begin when one nation has a well funded army and the other no army? How many deaths suffice? Is it an eye for an eye (have we evolved at all as a species)
  • It’s complicated.
    So is life, but we’re not going to ignore nearly 100 years of history, Israeli settlers, blockades and the fact that Palestine is an open air prison.
  • It’s not for us to say.
    It most certainly is when our government is funding it.
  • As long as Hamas doesn’t release hostages – it will continue.
    Collective punishment is immoral, illegal (see Hague and Geneva Convention) and does not deter the behavior of bad actors. You don’t get to claim there aren’t prisoners on both sides. Punishing all Palestinians for the actions of Hamas is the definition of collective punishment.
  • The numbers of dead aren’t to be trusted.
    Ask yourself to explain why you think they’re not accurate and if that has had any effect on Israel’s actions. If you argue the numbers are inaccurate, consider whether you’re privy to information that the medical journal the Lancet, Johns Hopkins and the London School are unaware of. Ignore that Israel assigns ID numbers to Palestinians at a very young age.

If you’re lamenting the situation but think there’s nothing our Colorado Congressional leadership could do – you’re sorely mistaken. Take for instance, Congresswoman Brittany Pettersen, serving CD7 and in a positon to influence her party’s administration, is deafeningly silent about this genocide.

Why are she and others so silent?

Because she has received 75,704 reasons to turn a deaf ear to what is happening as a junior Congressperson. That’s a bargain basement investment for Israel and they even got their obligatory video where she pledges her undying support

I am a constituent of Rep. Pettersen, having knocked on hundreds of doors for her in successful campaigns for the State House, State Senate and U.S. House campaigns. As a longtime Democratic party volunteer, I have served as a poll watcher, election judge, Election Protection volunteer, precinct committee person and chair of my House District for the Democratic Party.

Do I like taking someone who I once admired to task? Not particularly, but when our Administration and my former party is gaslighting, ignoring facts and funding a genocide with our tax dollars – here we are.

Rep. Pettersen, just moments after learning she won her Congressional race in 2022, made a video thanking AIPAC, saying she “couldn’t have done it without them.”

Pay no mind to the people who make phone calls, or knock doors, or make individual contributions, she’s thanking a PAC that represents a foreign interest. Forget accusations of NRA and their influence in Congress, AIPAC is an equal opportunity influencer and it’s paying off.

“Free Palestine” carved in the Colorado snow. Photo by Red Tornado.

What does AIPAC reap for their annual 3.8 billion dollar investment?

They use our loaned money to buy weapons from us and to own our politicians to keep the relationship going. They certainly don’t spend it on universal healthcare as they’re wealthy enough to afford this for their own citizens.

Do you know who relies on the United States for 16% of their military budget? Different question – but the same answer. * Source – CRS. The non-partisan data center, USAFacts, points out those totals don’t include funds for Israel’s missile defense systems, which to date have amounted to about $10 billion more in U.S. contributions. These are funds Israel must use to purchase U.S. military equipment and services. Israel has also historically been permitted to use a portion of its FMF aid to buy equipment from Israeli defense firms—a benefit not granted to other recipients of U.S. military aid.

In August 2023, Rep. Pettersen and two other members of the Colorado Congressional delegation, Yadira Caraveo and Joe Neguse, traveled to Israel for 8 days on AIPAC’s dime. These all-expenses-paid trips are crucial to how AIPAC keeps both parties on their side. You can even see her gushing testimonial on AIPAC’s website which concludes with, “I promise I will always stand alongside them.”

When Israel began their offensive in Gaza and the West Bank, myself and others began calling and emailing Rep. Pettersen with our concerns that the indiscriminate bombing amounted to collective punishment (and endangers the Israeli hostages – which is seldom mentioned)

Sandra Weathers, a constituent of Rep. Pettersen, was frustrated with the canned responses she was getting from the Congresswoman. “It made me believe she wasn’t even reading my letters. My calls were not returned nor were my requests for a meeting granted. I didn’t know what else to do so I decided to organize a protest outside of her office.” There have been two protests outside her Lakewood office and interruptions of her speeches at local events. Pettersen called a member of Democratic party leadership to ask him to support her as a delegate and he expressed reservations and asked her to read The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine and she responded with “concern for the loss of Israeli lives on October 7th.”

Israel’s actions are not self-defense when they control the flow of aid and can switch off Palestinian’s electricity and gas supply.

Israel’s heavy hand extends to exit and entry into Gaza which is prohibited by sea and air. Cries of “They have a right to respond” cannot be viewed in a vacuum but in the context of one hundred years of strife.

As the death toll of civilians climbed, Rep. Pettersen’s canned responses changed little:

January 24th, 2024

Only the bold text below differs.

“While hostilities have restarted, I continue to support the release of all hostages. All parties in the conflict must protect civilians and ensure the swift passage of humanitarian aid. Israeli, Palestinian, and international officials must work together to secure an agreement that ensures peace, security, and human rights for all people in the region.

Every action the United States takes must be directed toward a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine. I strongly believe the only viable path toward this is a two-state solution with an independent Israel and independent Palestine.”

March 20th, 2024

“I continue to call for the release of all hostages. All parties in the conflict must protect civilians and ensure the swift passage of humanitarian aid. Israeli, Palestinian, and international officials must work together to secure an agreement that ensures peace, security, and human rights for all people in the region.

Every action the United States takes must be directed toward a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine. I strongly believe the only viable path toward this is a two-state solution with an independent Israel and independent Palestine.”

It is easy to dehumanize those in this conflict, Palestinians have a right to exist too. Photo by Red Tornado

You cannot claim to support peace, security and human rights for ALL people in the region when you are a part of our government that continues to fund, with no stipulations, a rich country to buy weapons from us. You cannot continue to pay lip service and tsk tsk the killing and injuries suffered (not to mention starvation and death from lack of access to healthcare) and still sign the checks. All while proclaiming a two state solution.

Recently, myself and members of Arvadans for Progressive Action had a call with Colin Anonsen, her Deputy Chief of Staff, regarding our concerns.

Any facade of treating Palestinian civilians and Israeli civilians on an equal footing was quickly quashed when Mr. Anonsen relayed, “In respect to the 1,100 murdered, think about that in terms of population. Right? It was equivalent to about four of our 9/11s per capita. So that is significant.” 15:56 – 18:40, 19:55-20:29

Significant you say? Let’s back up and look at what he said. On 9/11/01, 2,996 people died, including 19 hijackers, so four 911’s would be 11,984 people.

The population of Gaza is estimated at 2.27 million people before 10/7. The number of deaths on Slingshot as of 3/31/24 is 32,782 since October 7th.
32,782/2,270,000 = 0.0144 (1.4% of total population killed)

Since Mr. Anonsen is concerned about deaths in a per capital view. In 2022, the U.S. Population was 333.3 million.

1.4% of that number is 4,832,850. So, when equated to U.S. population, it would be the same as 4 million dead in the U.S.

Mr. Anonsen, in response to our calls for a ceasefire, says “You said that the violence will continue with or without Hamas. Do you think there is a world in which Hamas can live peacefully side by side with Israel? I mean, what does that look like?” 20:52 begin 21:27 stop.

Pettersen’s chief of staff’s words hardly mesh with his boss’s calls for a two state solution. Hearing the quiet part out loud is disheartening and only drives home where her allegiances (and most of Congress’s) lie.

If Israel, with the most well funded and sophisticated army in the world, besides us, wanted to take this fight to Hamas militants, they could do so. They showed precision is possible when it came to tracking and killing Mohammed Suleiman Al-Arouri in Southern Beirut, Lebanon.

The Israeli military has said little about what kinds of bombs and artillery it is using in Gaza. But from blast fragments found on-site and analyses of strike footage, experts are confident that the vast majority of bombs dropped on the besieged enclave are U.S.-made. They say the weapons include 2,000-pound (900-kilogram) “bunker-busters” that have killed hundreds in densely populated areas. source

If appeals to humanity fail to convince Democrats, consider how this Administration’s hand wringing and lip service will cause many voters to stay home – not willing to vote for a dictator or a genocide funder. The most recent Gallup poll shows 18 percent of Democrats supporting the military action in Gaza. Appeals to vote blue no matter fall flat when the U.S. funds genocide and enables the once oppressed in their role as oppressor.

It is not too late for the U.S. to stop supporting genocide.

Ask your Congressperson to:

  • Call for a permanent ceasefire
  • End all Military aid to Israel
  • Restore UNRWA funding
  • Stop taking AIPAC money

Email Rep. Pettersen or call 303-274-7944.
Email Rep. Neguse or call 303 335-1045.

Script: Hi. My name is ______ and I am a constituent of _______ and my zip code is _____I’m calling to ask that they (repeat 4 bullets)

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