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Opinion: Cursing Klobuchar

When those in power don’t answer your calls, knock on their door.
Image by Spencer White
A banner left on Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s doorstep on Nov. 15.

I was sitting in my apartment getting ready to throw a chicken pot pie in the microwave when I got a call from a friend of mine saying there was a group of people gathered outside of his neighbor’s house holding a giant eyeball in the air.

I rushed to my car and drove to his apartment in Marcy-Holmes salivating at the thought of what might be awaiting me. Cultists? Religious extremists? Extremely religious cultists?

I would soon find out that this was the home of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL) and the people in front of her home were, to my horror, quite reasonable, albeit angry.

Protesters with the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Twin Cities chapter gathered outside of Klobuchar’s house in Marcy-Holmes calling for a ceasefire in Gaza on Nov. 15. At the time, Klobuchar has yet to vocally support a ceasefire.

JVP had attempted to schedule a meeting with Klobuchar before the protest, but nothing ever came of it, according to JVP member Kats Renie. Renie said she was present on Nov. 15 but was absent when JVP spoke with Klobuchar’s staffers to try to set up a meeting with the senator.

While a ceasefire is currently in place in order for hostage negotiations to take place, both Hamas and Israel have accused the other of violating the ceasefire.

Protestors performed traditional Jewish mourning rituals like Kriah — the rending or disposal of garments as an expression of grief — and prayed the Mourner’s Kaddish. And, of course, they held a giant eyeball in the air.

This giant eyeball, the “Evil Eye,” is said to be worn as a symbol of protection in Judaism, but it can also be used as a curse, according to Celeste Robinson, who organized the Nov. 15 protest. In the past, Robinson also organized around labor issues, most notably for the $15 minimum wage in Minnesota.

By the end of the demonstration, Klobuchar’s yard was littered with torn black cloth and a banner on her doorstep, which read “Does their blood haunt you?” in reference to the Palestinian civilian casualties in Gaza.

With so much of the discourse surrounding the siege on Gaza revolving around antisemitism, some may find it strange to see a Jewish organization rally in such great support of Palestine. Robinson disagrees.

“I’ve been a very strong supporter of Palestinian liberation. And I’ve been a strong anti-Zionist for a long time,” Robinson said. “There’s just like a huge, huge, huge manipulation of antisemitism in just the absolute most cynical way possible.”

The situation in Gaza is certainly dire, the fate of hundreds of Israeli hostages still hangs in the balance and the civilian death toll in Gaza has surpassed 10,000. It is inarguable the fate of those hostages is of great concern, but must it cost the lives of thousands?

This is not to say those lives are unimportant, rather, the destruction of civilian life at such an unimaginable rate is inexcusable and should not be done in the name of those hostages or the name of Jewish people generally.

“That’s why our slogan is ‘Not in our name’ because obviously, no genocide should happen ever, but it is happening in our name and we don’t condone it in our name at all,” Robinson said.

The protest in front of Klobuchar’s house was more than casting blame upon a senator and trying to make their voices heard. It was an act of catharsis.

“It damages all of us psychologically, to witness those things and to be bystanders and to be so powerless and to know that our tax dollars are funding those bombs,” Robinson said.

Congress is still talking about providing military aid for Israel, but this is certainly not the start. The United States has sent $158 billion in military aide to Israel since 1948 and that number only stands to grow.

When American dollars are responsible for increased civilian violence, those who allow this circulation are inherently liable for the deaths. Not to say that paying your taxes makes you a murderer, but you should be conscious of where your money is going.

The prospect of hostages in danger is a disheartening one, but when it is allowed to justify the deaths of civilians en masse the line of morality doesn’t become blurry, it becomes invisible. The United States is in a critical position to influence this conflict, pumping money into missiles resolves nothing.

We should be concerned about the hostages. We should be concerned about Palestinian civilians. And we should be concerned about where our government stands in all of this.

No one wants the blame of genocide levied at them on their doorstep, but that is why this is so important. The people meant to represent the citizens have failed to do so time and time again. When the stakes are so high and so many lives are at risk, silence is a death sentence.

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  • James Vlcek
    Nov 30, 2023 at 7:49 pm

    I don’t know the circumstances under which I would support an organization mounting a protest at someone’s home. I am certain, however, that Senator Klobuchar’s policies and statements do not even remotely approach such circumstances.

  • Judith Monson
    Nov 30, 2023 at 7:36 am

    I agree. Wave banners in the streets, not at someone’s home. Don’t personalize, try to shame one specific individual. Address the bigger issue. Let Gandhi and King be your guide. As Henry David Thoreau (that old-fashioned guy) wrote in “Civil Disobedience,” be “a majority of one.”

    As for Israel, whatever happened to “The Holy Land” promise of 1948? Democracy can never be about a select few being under an iron dome and others “less than” behind a wall.

  • David N
    Nov 29, 2023 at 11:23 am

    The irony of protesting at the home of Senator Amy Klobuchar, perhaps the most critical senator towards Israel in US history, claiming she doesnt support your politics, only makes clear how fanatical JVP is. If she won’t meet with them on this topic, what else do you need to know?

  • Stephanie Sarich
    Nov 29, 2023 at 9:38 am

    My thoughts exactly. I don’t understand why the Israeli government has such a hold on us. And I really am appalled at the gaslighting to us done by so many politicians. Of course Israel isn’t following international law. Do they think we’re stupid?