Senator Ron Latz Responds to Statement by Senate Colleagues

Senator Ron Latz Responds to Statement by Senate Colleagues

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Senator Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) has issued the following statement:

“It is very surprising and disappointing that my Senate DFL colleagues- some of whom have worked with me for years and know well who I am – have chosen to misrepresent and publicly attack my speech by taking one sentence out of context on the topic of BDS’ proposal to divest state funds from Israel.  What is even worse is their choice to assign awful intent to the misrepresented information. 

The one sentence that they are criticizing with such vigor and accusation does not stand alone.  It is preceded by information that makes it clear that I am not referring to “all” Palestinian youth.  I am not sure why they chose to ignore the previous statements right before the one that they cite where I specifically identify the individuals I am talking about: the Gazans who are taught at UNRWA schools that Jews should be killed; who attend summer camps that teach young kids how to be terrorists; who play “kill the Jew” on the streets of Gaza; who watch children’s TV shows that glorify the killing of Jews, and who play on UNRWA elementary school playgrounds with plastic AK-47s.

Here is my entire speech for you to hear for yourself: 

I want to make it crystal clear that I will stand alone if necessary, but I will stand against Hamas terrorism including Hamas indoctrination of Gazan youth.  I will never support nor justify terroristic acts or terrorist groups.  This sentiment is noticeably absent in my colleagues’ statement about my remarks yesterday. Hamas’ conduct is inflammatory. My colleagues’ silence enables similar sentiment here.

As to the accusation that I made prejudicial and demonstrably false claims, there is ample evidence available to support every statement that I made. I am including some of the links below about the organized indoctrination of hate in Gaza and the West Bank. I have personally watched the online videos of the cases I cited, and did not even mention the kindergarten graduation performance in which the young children simulate a terrorist attack on Israel, complete with military fatigues, battle gear and weaponry:

Kindergarten graduation ceremony (Gaza Media)

Another kindergarten play (Gaza Media)

Summer camp video (Al Jazeera TV)

Glorifying martyrs (Al Jazeera TV)

Children TV show (MEMRI TV)

Indoctrination in UNRWA school (this one in the West Bank)

I fully agree with my colleague that the language we use, especially at this moment, matters.  They stated that they “denounce and condemn” the alleged “dangerous” language and rhetoric.  Please tell me what part of bringing the atrocities of the terrorists and their students into the open so they will no longer be empowered to repeat the massacre is “dangerous” for a democratic community.  Please tell me where there is “respect for the humanity of everyone” that they are asking for in their statement, in keeping silent about the innocent victims that were murdered or held hostage and tortured.  Where is the “humanity” in that? What purpose does it serve to keep quiet or worse, misrepresent and attack those willing to speak up against the violence of the terrorists?  What is the purpose in silencing the truth?

They also criticized my use of the word “poisonous” in describing the present state of Gaza as it relates to Israel.  Please tell me what you would call a place where a terrorist group takes food and water and medicine along with fuel from its citizens to give to the terrorist fighters so they can attack Israel.  What kind of place would torture and kill their own Palestinian people who speak up against the government?  What would you call a place where military tunnels and weapon storage rooms are built inside schools, hospitals, and children’s rooms to attack the innocent Israeli civilians instead of using the materials to build infrastructure to better the lives of their own citizens? 

Terrorists who attack from Gaza, sending thousands of rockets to bomb innocent civilians without warning, raping women, cutting fetuses out of live mothers, burning families alive… what would you call that? If that is not poison, to them and to Israel, what is?

My colleagues’ absent condemnation of Hamas terror is particularly galling as I suspect that most of those Senators have not publicly condemned the vitriolic antisemitic statements made by CAIR, DSA, MFT, GWSS and others following the Oct. 7 attacks, including the initial failure of some of those organizations to even condemn the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks themselves. I also am not aware of any of those Senators condemning the rally chants of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” an unequivocal call for the annihilation of Israel.  

Sadly, my colleagues chose to engage in the very hyperbolic falsity that they decry in my remarks, saying that I described “all” of the children as aspiring murderers, which I did not, and claiming that my claims were “demonstrably false,” which, as shown above, is itself a false statement.

I have spent a lifetime fighting against prejudice and discrimination of all kinds against all people. I have carried or actively advanced almost all of the anti-bias, anti-hate, pro-civil and pro-human rights legislation in the Senate since I came here in 2007. I have fought to defeat noxious and hateful legislation as well. I have chosen to speak on this topic to educate all of us on these issues. I invite my colleagues to sit down and talk about the Middle East and the respective roles of Hamas and Israel in the ongoing conflict and the terrible loss of innocent lives. I prefer to engage my colleagues in ways other than in the media. I look forward to those discussions.”

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Senator Ron Latz
Ron Latz represents District 46, which includes portions of Hennepin County in the western Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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