DFL delegates condemn antisemitism and call for ceasefire in Gaza war

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DULUTH, Minn. — DFL delegates engaged in lively debate during their state convention in Duluth this weekend and came out with a cemented party platform and an endorsed candidate for the U.S. Senate.

“The most important thing about the convention is picking a candidate to lead our party’s ticket in November, and we united overwhelmingly behind Amy Klobuchar,” DFL Party spokesperson Darwin Forsyth said. “Meanwhile, Minnesota Republicans are mired in divisive costly primaries for Senate, Congress, and competitive legislative seats — with a convicted felon leading their party.”

Delegates this weekend voted on 113 different resolutions to add to the party platform, endorsed Klobuchar for reelection to the Senate, nominated national delegates and heard speeches from prominent Minnesota DFLers including Gov. Tim Walz.

Points of contention

While the convention overall was seemingly smooth, some points of contention did emerge surrounding Klobuchar’s endorsement, mining in northern Minnesota, and the war in Gaza.

Klobuchar, three times elected since 2006, faced no official Democrat challengers and an attempt to nominate another candidate failed to get the amount of support needed.

That nomination was led by a progressive anti-war wing of the DFL that tried to confront Klobuchar on the war in Gaza.

The Gaza issue led to some passionate speeches over the weekend. Views on what the party policy should be towards the war, Israel and the Palestinian people were diverse. Several dozen protesters joined party delegates outside the Duluth Convention Center on Saturday.

They called for a ceasefire and for U.S. divestment from Israel due to their belief that the country has failed to adhere to international norms in warfare.

Resolution on Israel

One of the resolutions, which would make it party policy to define as anti-Semitic denials of Israel’s right to exist as a country, was met with resistance from seven Jewish delegates.

The delegates, in a statement, said the resolution ignores Jewish disagreement with Zionism, which calls to sustain a “Jewish state” within the historical lands of Palestine. That resolution, which condemns antisemitism, was amended to take the contested language out and delegates approved the resolution on Sunday.

For context, the DFL current platform recognizes “Israel’s right to exist within secure borders, Palestinian rights to self-determination, and continued peace efforts in the Middle East.”

Meanwhile, another resolution relating to Gaza which called for a ceasefire, humanitarian aid, and release of hostages and prisoners was approved. Others dealing with civilian safety, Palestinian rights, political prisoners and funding U.N. relief work were not approved.

Copper-nickel mining

Also at issue this weekend were concerns about copper-nickel mining, an issue that pitted the DFL’s union members against its environmental wing.

A resolution to support a legislative hearing on the “Prove It First” legislation was amended to simply support a legislative hearing on copper-nickel mining in general. The “Prove It First” legislation would require proof a copper-nickel mine has operated in the U.S. for 10 years without causing pollution and had closed for 10 years without causing pollution. Delegates approved the amended resolution on Sunday.

While proponents of the “Prove It First” legislation did not support the amendment, they view it as a step forward, said delegate Chris Knopf.

Knopf is also the executive director for Friends of the Boundary Waters, an environmental group that seeks stronger protections for Minnesota’s ecosystem.

Republicans took a swing at DFLers over the mining debate.

“It is crystal clear — the DFL is the anti-mining party and will do anything they can to stifle us,” Rep. Peter Stauber wrote on social media. Stauber represents northeastern Minnesota in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Knopf said claims that the DFL is against mining in general is a distortion of the truth.

“We’re not against taconite mining,” he said, adding that copper-nickel mining presents a much different level of risk in regards to clean water in the state.

A look into DFL campaign strategy

The weekend also gave a window into what the DFL campaign strategy will be this election season.

DFL leaders and politicians boasted about the party’s successes in Minnesota while condemning the MAGA movement during their state convention.

“We’re heading into the general election with a record of delivering for working families on issues like free school meals and paid family leave,” DFL spokesperson Forsyth said. “Republicans will have to defend an extreme and unpopular agenda, from banning abortion to tax cuts to the rich.”

Trump’s recent conviction has given Democrats a talking point that likely will be repeated during the election season. The former president was found guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to hush money payments to a woman before the 2016 election.

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