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Support for #VoteNoPreferenceMA grows as coalition contacts over 100k voters in 3 days

Editor’s Note: The following article is derived from officially released information, published with few or no editorial changes. The Greylock Glass  occasionally provides our readers with such content if the information is factual in nature, and requires little to no interpretation or analysis, often when original reportage would not provide additional relevant information.

BOSTON — Massachusetts organizers of the Vote No Preference campaign have texted and called over 100,000 Massachusetts voters in only 3 days of organizing, and vow to contact another 200,000 before the polls close in Massachusetts on super Tuesday, March 5th. The group is planning standouts at major polling sites across the Commonwealth, including Somerville, Arlington, Medford, and polling places throughout the state. 

The group held a virtual press conference on Monday, March 4th to educate voters to use their ballot to send a protest vote to President Biden regarding his unconditional support that one-third of the US public agrees is genocide in Gaza. The Uncommitted Campaign in Michigan lit a fire across the country when over 100,000 people voted “Uncommitted in the Democratic primary. In Massachusetts, the equivalent option is filling the “No Preference” bubble on the Democratic ballot, which the coalition says, sends an important message to Biden: “Count us out for genocide!” 

March 4 Press Conference: Live Video & slides with poll data & graphics

Support for the campaign continued to grow on Monday, as Carlos Aramayo, President of UNITE/HERE Local 26, one of Massachusetts largest unions, endorsed “No Preference” on Monday in an open letter posted to X and Instagram. “It is imperative for our President to use all powers to achieve a lasting ceasefire. For those reasons, I will be voting “no preference” in Tuesday’s primary and am asking the members of Local 26 to consider doing the same. We are a Local of immigrants from around the world. We believe in peace, solidarity and justice. I believe we need to live those values every day.”

Speakers at Monday’s press conference spoke of their frustration as elected leaders have ignored the increasingly mainstream position of ceasefire. Repeated polls show that two out of three Americans and 80% of Democrats support a ceasefire in Gaza.

“As an elected official, I feel a particular responsibility to my constituents to not only hear their voices, but to amplify them and to heed their actions when necessary,” said Somerville City Councilor Willie Burnley, Jr. “Every vote for no preference here or uncommitted in other states is a direct message to the president that we will not be complicit, that we will not stand beside you and vote ‘Blue no matter who,’ when our elected leaders are funding the greatest crime against humanity, genocide.”

Coalition members gave impassioned speeches, but none more so than Jewish community organizer, Eli Gerzon, who pressed Rep Katherine Clark (MA-D) for more than tweets:

“I also want to speak as an American Jew who lost 44 members of my family in the Holocaust. Politicians like my representative, Katherine Clark, say things like, ‘I stand with the Jewish people and Israel’s right to defend itself.’ But what she really means when she says that is, ‘I support the genocide against Palestinians.’” said Eli Gerzon, of Arlington for Palestine and #VoteNoPreferenceMA. “In truth, the Jewish people will be safe when Palestinians are safe. …And a large majority of Jewish Democrats support a ceasefire…I met with Rep. Clark in person, one of the few people who did. And she met with us, but she did not listen to us. Until this Friday, she took a tiny step towards doing that, where she actually used the word ceasefire for the first time in a tweet. What she called for was not adequate. We need a permanent ceasefire. But that was a significant step. But we need much more than tweets.”

Organizers also emphasized the fact that sending money to Israel was harming constituents in Massachusetts and highlighted that the outsized influence of the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was undermining American democracy. 

“In Massachusetts, we have a housing crisis. The MBTA is falling apart. Many of our people are struggling to make ends meet. Action on climate change is woefully inadequate. It is outrageous that instead of meeting the needs of our people, our political leaders are sending billions of dollars to commit genocide in Palestine,” said Cole Harrison, Executive Director of Mass Peace Action, and advocacy group. “AIPAC is planning to spend $100 million in this election cycle… AIPAC’s targets are the most progressive Democrats. If AIPAC is successful in defeating progressives, Palestinians will not be the only victims. Medicare for all, action on climate change, and strong action on racial and social justice will also lose their strongest advocates.”   

“140 million in defense contracts and federal taxes paid by Massachusetts residents alone go to Israel every year,” said Aparna Nair-Kanneganti, a medical student at Harvard. “And as we speak, this money is funding the genocide of the Gazan people and the decimation of their health system.…Here in Massachusetts, 140 million could pay for 75 percent of treatment for all lung cancer patients. It could fully sponsor assisted living for 2,000 seniors. It could make at home insulin free. It could even purchase Medicaid for all uninsured children in the state twice over. We cannot in conscience support any candidate who continues the American policy of unconditional aid to Israel…So until we obtain a permanent ceasefire, we see voting no preference as the most ethical and really as the only choice.”

“US voters Democrat and Republican alike support a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, not a 6 week truce.” said Lara Jirmanus, member of the Boston Shai House, an Arab and Muslim GOTV group, and the New England Scholars Speak group, which sponsored a national letter of over 4000 US professors and educational leaders calling for ceasefire. “Over a third of Americans agree with the International Court of Justice that Israel is committing genocide with our tax dollars, and over half of Democats are less likely to support a candidate who continues to send military aid to Israel. It’s time for our leaders to listen to their constituents.” 

The multi-racial, multi-faith, multi-generational coalition is run by volunteers with GOTV experience from the Cape to the Berkshires.  Over the weekend, organizers spoke to a rally of thousands of people, which shut down Massachusetts streets, demanding an end to Israel’s siege of Rafah Crossing where 1.4 million Palestinians have taken refuge. Voters attending the rally from around the state pledged to vote “No Preference!” on Tuesday. In Massachusetts the list of local Palestine organizations grows daily, and now includes groups in Arlington, Medford, Malden, Belmont, Watertown, North Shore, Southeastern Massachusetts, Barnstable, Hyannis, North Hampton, Martha’s Vineyard, Williamstown, and more. 

If a candidate (or Uncommitted) receives 15% of the vote in a primary, and at least 15% in one Congressional District, then delegates to the DNC Convention can be awarded to the candidate – or will not be committed to vote for Biden, in the case of “Uncommitted,” or “No Preference.” 

“We have mobilized this incredible network of organizers and volunteers because we all feel the same deep frustration in the last five months that we cannot stand by as our government funds and supports the genocide of the Palestinian people,” said Mia Haddad of Somerville for Palestine and member of the #VoteNoPreferenceMA coalition. “We have written letters, garnered thousands of signatures…passed many more ceasefire resolutions. But based on our leader’s actions to continue sending billions of dollars and weapons to Israel so that it can continue starving and killing Palestinians, we see that they are not hearing us and they are not responding with the urgency that we are demanding of them.”

Jason Velázquez

Jason Velázquez has worked in print and digital journalism and publishing for two decades.
Phone: (413) 776-5125

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