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Anti-Israel Activists Organize ‘Vote Uncommitted’ Campaign in New Jersey Democratic Primary to Pressure Biden

Anti-Israel protesters demonstrate in front of Congregation Keter Torah in Teaneck, New Jersey, US, on March 10, 2024. Photo: Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Reuters Connect

Anti-Israel activists are encouraging New Jersey residents participating in the Democratic primary for this year’s US presidential election to vote “uncommitted” in support of “justice for Palestine” and a “permanent ceasefire” in Gaza, in lieu of voting for President Joe Biden.

The initiative, spearheaded by the group “Vote Uncommitted New Jersey,” aims to use political pressure to change the Biden administration’s approach to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. The strategy to get voters to mark “uncommitted” on their ballots mirrors other efforts by anti-Israel groups to use the Democratic primary as an outlet to signal their disgust with Biden’s support for the Jewish state. 

The campaign is part of a larger effort by anti-Israel activists to portray Israel’s military response to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel as a “genocide.”

“Voting ‘Uncommitted’ will let the Democratic Party and general public know what’s at stake and how many voters they’re losing over their unwavering position on the genocide in Gaza,” the group writes on its website. “This will pressure the Biden administration to reconsider their position and call for a ceasefire.”

The group adds that Biden’s “defeat is certain” in the upcoming election against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump if he does not adopt an anti-Israel posture. 

“Thousands of New Jerseyans have demanded an end to the genocide of the Palestinian people. Biden is on track to lose the election to Trump unless he chooses to listen to the working class of this country and change course. Defeat is certain if he fails to do so,” the group continues. 

The organization is also demanding that Biden secure an “immediate and permanent ceasefire” along with “the immediate and unrestricted entry of humanitarian aid” in Gaza.

Wednesday is the first day when New Jersey voters can go to polling places across the state to cast early in-person ballots. They will be able to cast votes for the presidential race, one US Senate seat, and all 12 of the state’s seats in the US House of Representatives. Voters can also choose party candidates in local and county races.

More than 235,000 people have already voted in the state using mail-in ballots. According to an official sample ballot shared with The Algemeiner, the third option listed for voters in the presidential contest — under the names of Biden and progressive activist Terrisa Bukovinac — is “Uncommitted,” under which are the words: “Justice for Palestine, Permanent Ceasefire Now.”

“Vote Uncommitted New Jersey” does not mention or condemn Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack, which started the ongoing war in Gaza when Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists invaded Israel, murdered 1,200 people, and kidnapped over 250 others as hostages. Nor does it mention the significant amount of aid that has flowed into Gaza. Between March and April alone, over 10,000 humanitarian aid trucks entered Gaza, according to data compiled by the United Nations. However, gangs and Hamas itself have reportedly ransacked aid trucks and stripped them of their goods, complicating relief efforts in the war-torn enclave.

Suraj Patel, an organizer with “Vote Uncommitted New Jersey” said in an interview that he believes supporting the Palestinian cause will help usher in a socialist economic system. 

“From the beginning, we saw this as a campaign aligned with our socialist values,” Patel told the Democratic Socialists of America. 

“What we are doing in New Jersey, deep community organizing, statewide collaboration, leadership development, I believe is the raw material for a real independent full-throated socialist party, with deep roots in labor, immigrant communities, and the multiracial working class, that can go toe to toe with the Democrats and the Republicans in our state,” he added.

In February, US Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), an anti-Israel firebrand and the first Palestinian American woman in Congress, endorsed the “vote uncommitted” effort in Michigan and would not clarify whether she will support Biden’s reelection effort. 

We feel completely neglected and just unseen by our government. If you want us to be louder, then come here and vote uncommitted,” Tlaib said.

Primary day in New Jersey is set for next Tuesday.

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Will Hostage-Taking Journalist Abdallah Aljamal Be Added to CPJ ‘Casualty’ List?

The Al Jazeera Media Network logo is seen on its headquarters building in Doha, Qatar, June 8, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon

One day after Israeli security forces rescued four Israeli hostages from their Gazan captivity, both the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security agency) confirmed that three of the hostages had been held captive in the family home of Abdallah Aljamal.

Aljamal, who was killed during the raid that freed the hostages, had previously served as a spokesman for the Hamas-run Gaza Labor Ministry and, as a journalist, had contributed to Al Jazeera, and served as a correspondent for The Palestine Chronicle.

His last article was published by the Chronicle one day before the Israeli rescue operation.

Abdullah Al-Jamal was not a “freelance contributor” for the Palestine Chronicle. As the outlet itself has repeatedly stated, he was in fact its “correspondent in Gaza.”

They clearly changed the bio to try and avoid legal repercussions

— Eitan Fischberger (@EFischberger) June 10, 2024

With Abdallah Aljamal’s death as part of the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, it begs the question whether he will be added to the running list of “journalist casualties in the Israel-Gaza war” compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Since the start of the war, the CPJ’s list of journalist casualties has been used by a variety of news outlets, activists, pundits, and politicians to highlight the seemingly disproportionate number of Gaza-based journalists killed during Israel’s counter-terrorism campaign, and to question whether Israel is purposefully targeting reporters and other media workers.

However, as noted earlier by HonestReporting, a significant number of the journalists who appear on the CPJ’s list were in some way affiliated with Hamas and other anti-Israel terror organizations.

As of this writing (June 10, 2024), close to 50% of the 103 Palestinian journalists listed by the CPJ either worked for news outlets affiliated with terror organizations, or were active members in these organizations themselves.

While he was working as a so-called “journalist,” Abdallah Aljamal also held hostages captive for Hamas.

Shockingly, his death qualifies him for the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (@pressfreedom) list of media workers killed in the conflict.

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) June 9, 2024

If Abdallah Aljamal is added to the CPJ’s list, this will only highlight the problematic nature of the list by including terrorists and kidnappers among the ranks of killed Palestinian media workers, and will serve to further debunk the libel that Israel is targeting journalists in order to stifle their reporting capabilities.

If Aljamal is not included on the CPJ’s list of killed Gaza-based journalists, it will ultimately need to be asked what separates him from the likes of Hamza Al Dahdouh, Mustafa Thuraya, and Mohammad Jarghoun — all three of whom are accused of being active members of terrorist organizations and who appear on the list.

In either case, the mere possibility that Abdallah Aljamal, a Hamas member who helped hold three Israeli civilians hostage, will be added to the CPJ’s list of killed journalists is a cold reminder of the interaction between terrorism and civilian life in Gaza, the influence that Hamas has over the media in Gaza, and the untrustworthiness of outlets that turn a blind eye to these salient factors.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

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Missile Barrage Hits Northern Israel, Emergency Services Report

Firefighters respond to a fire near a rocket attack from Lebanon, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, near Kiryat Shmona, northern Israel, June 14, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Israeli emergency services reported dealing with a string of fires in northern Israel on Friday after dozens of missiles were fired from southern Lebanon into the area around the border town of Kiryat Shemona.

The military said that warning sirens had sounded in northern Israel and emergency services said teams were searching the area, where they reported there was property damage but no casualties.

Television footage on Friday showed damaged buildings and cars as well as brush fires in several locations caused by strikes or falling debris amid heatwave conditions.

The Israeli military has exchanged regular fire with Hezbollah forces across the border in southern Lebanon ever since the start of the war in Gaza in October.

Neither side has appeared to wish a wider conflict, but there has been growing worry that the steady intensification of strikes could push the situation out of control with the risk of a wider conflict in a region that has already seen direct exchanges between Israel and Iran.

The latest salvo came after an Israeli strike killed a senior commander from the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group in southern Lebanon on Tuesday, drawing the heaviest bombardment of northern Israel since the start of the war in October last year.

Tens of thousands of residents have been evacuated from their homes on both sides of the border, creating growing pressure to resolve the stand-off, but diplomatic efforts have so far proved fruitless.

On Friday, the Israeli military said fighter jets and anti-aircraft systems had intercepted 11 of the 16 drones launched by Hezbollah against Israel in the past 72 hours.

“The Israeli Air Force is continuing to operate at all times to thwart terrorist activities and protect Israel‘s skies from any threat,” it said in a statement.

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G7 Warns Iran Over Continuing Nuclear Program Escalation

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Italian President Sergio Mattarella, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and European Council President Charles Michel pose for a family photo as they arrive to attend a dinner at Swabian Castle in Brindisi, Italy, June 13, 2024. Photo: Italian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

The Group of Seven leaders warned Iran on Friday against advancing its nuclear enrichment program and said they would be ready to enforce new measures if Tehran were to transfer ballistic missiles to Russia, according to a draft communique.

“We urge Tehran to cease and reverse nuclear escalations, and stop the continuing uranium enrichment activities that have no credible civilian justifications,” the statement seen by Reuters said.

Iran has rapidly installed extra uranium-enriching centrifuges at its Fordow site and begun setting up others, a UN nuclear watchdog report said on Thursday.

Iran is now enriching uranium to up to 60 percent purity, close to the 90 percent of weapons grade, and has enough material enriched to that level, if enriched further, for three nuclear weapons, according to an IAEA yardstick.

Iran must engage in serious dialogue and provide convincing assurances that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful, in full cooperation and compliance with the IAEA’s monitoring and verification mechanism, including the Board of Governors’ resolution of 5 June,” the G7 said.

Iran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

The leaders also warned Iran about concluding a deal to send ballistic missiles to Russia that would help it in its war against Ukraine, saying they were prepared to respond with significant measures if it were to happen.

“We call on Iran to stop assisting Russia’s war in Ukraine and not to transfer ballistic missiles and related technology, as this would represent a substantive material escalation and a direct threat to European security,” they said.

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