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Sen. Boxer forcefully defends Israel, refutes divide amongst Democratic voters

by Jared Sichel

August 22, 2014 | 3:12 pm

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.) at an Aug. 22 press conference at Los Angeles City Hall. Photo by Jared Sichel.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.) at an Aug. 22 press conference at Los Angeles City Hall. Photo by Jared Sichel.

In a Friday press conference at Los Angeles City Hall, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.), when asked about a July poll by Pew Research that showed low support for Israel amongst Democratic voters in its current war with Hamas, said she has not “seen that poll” and that the “American people have supported Israel all the way.”

Boxer, who sits on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, held the Friday morning gathering as a chance for journalists to ask questions on a range of issues, including the Islamic State’s beheading of American journalist James Foley, Ukraine’s fight with Russian-backed separatists, and the local water drought.

When she was asked by a reporter if she was concerned about the falling support for Israel amongst voters who identify as Democrat, she responded, “I don't know what poll you’re looking at,” and then blasted Hamas for provoking the war with its murder of three Israeli teenagers in June, subsequent rocket fire, and its extensive cross-border tunnel network.

The survey, released on July 28 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, documented a stark divide in support for Israel in its current war with Hamas between Democratic and Republican voters. Amongst Democrats, 29 percent blamed Hamas while 26 percent blamed Israel. Amongst Republicans, 13 percent blamed Israel and 60 percent blamed the Gaza militant group, which is recognized by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization.

The war, which has paralyzed much of southern Israel and devastated the densely populated Gaza Strip, has resulted in 67 Israeli deaths according to the Israeli military and a reported 1,881 deaths according to the Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry and the United Nations.

Boxer, a vocal supporter of Israel, said, “I defy anyone to name a country [that] can exist if they have rockets being lobbed at them.”

“If we had rockets being lobbed at Los Angeles from Mexico or Washington State from Canada,” Boxer said, “It wouldn't take us two minutes before we retaliate.”

On Aug. 18, a group of activists from the American Muslims for Palestine and the left-wing Jewish Voice for Peace staged a sit-in at Boxer’s downtown Los Angeles office, protesting her strong support of Israel.

Friday, she acknowledged the protestors’ concerns but added regarding domestic support for Israel, “I don’t think that the American people are confused."

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