NEWARK, NJ – Cory Booker sent a message of love and unity when his campaign was kicked off Saturday, but the New Jersey senator's speech was interrupted by pro-Palestinian activists shouting " Justice for Palestine.
The event marked the launch of a two-week tour titled "Justice for All" in the city where he had been mayor from 2006 to 2013. Booker articulated his campaign around an emotional speech and optimistic for voters. He maintained this tone by outlining some of his core policies, including lowering the age of eligibility for Medicaid and introducing a "birth certificate" program designed to provide low-income children with savings in adulthood.
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"We are here today to ask for justice. We are here today because we are looking forward to receiving this justice and our sense of moral urgency. Our impatience comes from the most demanding values: the love, the love of our families, the love of our communities, the love of our country, and the l & # 39; love 39 one of the other, "said Booker.
Protesters, who brandished Palestinian flags and keffiyehs, returned Booker's slogan against him when they spoke to Yahoo News later.
"You say justice for all and he named, you know, clean water, housing, affordable health care, freedom but he does not talk about Palestine. They fight just as much as we do, even more, "said Wajeeh Abushawish, who was part of the group.
There were about 10 protesters in three groups, some of whom were right behind Booker during his speech. Most of them left after interrupting the speech, although two of them stayed behind and shouted at Booker as he greeted supporters after the event.
Abushawish said the protesters were going to Rutgers Newark and were part of a group called Students for Justice in Palestine. Booker angered some pro-Palestinian activists with his strong support for Israel. He is one of the co-authors of a Senate bill to fight the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement, which aims to pressure Israel to end it. occupation claimed by Palestinians.
"Booker is actively supporting the oppression of Palestine," said Dylan Terpstra, another protester.
While the protest was clearly focused on the Palestinian cause, some members of the group also had a list of other concerns.
"Justice for all" is an unlimited concept. It should be a generic term for all people who are suffering and oppressed, "Wasim Kannan said. "Justice for ICE detainees, justice for Palestine, justice for Kashmir, justice for the suffering people in China. All who suffer in the world need justice. "
The three protesters who spoke to Yahoo News all said that they were supporting Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as president.
"Bernie 2020!" Shouted Abushawish.
Booker did not address the protesters during their break. Later in his speech, however, he encouraged the Democrats to "fight high" against President Trump.
"We can not allow them to divide us and we must also resist the urge to divide us because people in my neighborhood … and people from all over the country can not wait," said Booker , adding, "They can not be a divisive policy that sacrifices progress for purity. "
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