A pro-Israel resolution that passed Monday, Feb. 2, in the Colorado State Senate sparked unexpected legislative fire on its road to victory.
Introduced by State Sen. Joyce Foster (D-Denver) on Jan. 30, the resolution drew pro-Palestinian and pro-peace protestors to the Capitol that Friday and again on Monday.
On Monday morning, state troopers on high alert were posted at the entrances to the Senate gallery.
The stage was set for confrontation, but few anticipated what followed.
Prior to Fosters resolution in support of Israel, an unrelated resolution on local nonviolence efforts sponsored by Sen. Linda Newell (D-Littleton) was put to a vote.
Newells resolution passed 29-5.
But when Fosters resolution came before the legislative body, Newell voted against it.
A heated debate ensued, with Republicans venting their fury on Newell and decrying Hamas repeated attacks on Israel.
Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray) took the podium and tried to amend Newells measure by saying that a copy should be sent to Hamas.
His attempt failed.
Then Foster presented her resolution, which reads in part:
We express our deep and sincere regret about the loss of human life on both sides of this conflict, extend our condolences to innocent Israeli and Palestinian families, and express our strong belief that innocent civilians be protected to the greatest extent possible;
We hereby express our vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security and survival of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and recognize and support its right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens;
We reiterate our strong support for the efforts by the United States government to promote a just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a serious and sustained peace process that leads to the creation of a viable and independent Palestinian state living in peace alongside a secure state of Israel.
After the resounding passage of Fosters resolution, a 71-year-old protestor with a sign reading Shame on senators for a hate resolution started yelling about Palestinian rights and questioning Americas role in arming the Middle East.
He was escorted from the gallery.
Newell told the IJN that Senate rules prevented her from abstaining. Otherwise I would have abstained.
She said she voted against the Israel resolution because I wasnt elected to make opinions on international affairs or policy. My business is the state of Colorado.
Les Canges, an official with Brit Tzedek vShalom who said he was not speaking for the group, showed up at the Capitol Monday morning with a poster reading War Is Not The Answer and then went inside to observe the Senate proceedings.
He said that he primarily objected to the history and wording in what he called the whereases, the preamble to the resolution.
They appeared to assign blame to only one side in this conflict, he said.
But when I was listening to what they said on the floor, all they read was the actual resolution which was a pretty good resolution. After hearing it, I felt pretty good.
At lunchtime on Monday, Newell said she attended a luncheon hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council.
When I walked in, Joyce Foster took me by the hand, she said. She was great. She asked whether I wanted to explain anything about my vote to the attendees.
I did, and they seemed receptive, especially when they found out that I was unable to abstain.