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Chaos erupts at WisDems’ Milwaukee convention

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//June 10, 2024//

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at the 2024 Wisconsin Democrats State Convention in Milwaukee on Saturday. Staff Photo Steve Schuster

Chaos erupts at WisDems’ Milwaukee convention

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//June 10, 2024//

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Chaos erupted on the streets and inside the halls of the Wisconsin Democratic Party’s State Convention in Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon as four pro-Palestinian protesters were escorted out the door after interrupting Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s speech.

Milwaukee Police told the Wisconsin Law Journal on Monday no arrests were made.

For most of the day Saturday, WisDems held sessions which the news media was not allowed to attend, including a discussion on the state of the Wisconsin courts.

WisDems’ policy is in stark contrast to WisGOP’s policy, which allowed the media nearly full range of access to the state Republican convention in Appleton in May.

According to WisDems Attorney Lester Pines, he along with his colleague, Eduardo Castro, were the primary speakers at the WisDems “State of Courts” closed press session Saturday.

During an interview with the Wisconsin Law Journal, Pines said most of his lecture was focused on “the third branch of government.”

“On a state level, we elect judges, but our governor appoints those judges. People need to be more aware that these positions set them up for state Supreme Court positions,” Pines said, specifically giving examples of Brian Hagedorn and Rebecca Bradley.

On Saturday, Democrats took time away from discussing the issues to roast former President Donald Trump.

“Republicans are going to nominate the guy who has more felonies than Baskin-Robbins has flavors,” Evers said.

During Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s keynote address, he said, “(Trump is) a flatulent old man with an orange spray tan who fell asleep at his own trial.”

Pritzker, who is heir to Hyatt Hotels and worth $3.5 billion, has had some legal troubles of his own, after removing the toilets from his own property to avoid paying property tax.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at the 2024 Wisconsin Democrats State Convention. Staff Photo Steve Schuster

Throughout much of Saturday, pro-Hamas protesters lined the streets in front of the Potawatomi Casino’s hotel, calling for the total destruction of Israel as Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul took the stage inside.

“The only thing we are settling for is an end of the Israeli state,” shouted a Pro-Palestinian protester Saturday.

Only minutes later, Wisconsin District Attorney Association’s Past-President Eric Toney, who currently serves as Fond du Lac County district attorney, called for Wisconsin Democrats to immediately condemn the violent and hateful language used by protesters who were supporting terrorism.

“Every Democrat candidate and elected official at the WisDems convention has a moral obligation to condemn these protestors and any of their supporters that are calling for genocide through the destruction of Israel,” Toney posted to X, formerly known as Twitter.

One common theme throughout Saturday’s convention – there is a lot at-stake in November.

“This is the most important election of our lifetime,” Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said Saturday.

“The stakes could not be higher,” Kaul added.

Kaul briefly discussed the felony forgery charges his office filed June 4 against two attorneys and an aide who helped submit paperwork falsely saying that Trump had won the battleground state in 2020.

They “sought to undermine confidence in our elections and now is seeking to undermine the rule of Law. We cannot afford to go down that path,” Kaul said.

Kaul also discussed abortion.

“We are not going to stop fighting to protect our reproductive freedoms,” Kaul said.

Pro-Palestinian protesters spray painted a President Joe Biden sign with “Never again” in front of the WisDems convention on June 8, 2024. Staff Photo Steve Schuster

As Kaul was discussing progress made in Wisconsin with regard to election maps, the street protesters chanted as they stood in front of a President Biden / Vice President Harris’ campaign sign that that was spray painted with “Never again.”

When a Biden-Harris Campaign spokesperson was asked to comment on the Biden sign protesters had spray-painted “Never again,” the campaign deferred to WisDems, who declined to comment.

In addition to the anti-Semitic and anti-Biden rhetoric, dozens of hostile protesters chanted “Wisconsin Democrats you can’t hide,” only moments before disrupting the state Democrat convention inside of the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino.

Evers’ speech also highlighted his administration’s accomplishments, including having the “highest rainy day fund in the state’s history.”

As U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s speech was interrupted multiple times by hostile protesters, the crowd chanted “Tammy! Tammy!” to drown out the angry rhetoric of the protesters, who were shouting “You are all murderers” to the Democrats.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Columnist Dan Bice posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, “The Protests shook the room.”

Baldwin’s staff downplayed the incident in a statement issued to the Wisconsin Law Journal on Saturday night.

“A few protestors in a room of several hundred excited and proud democrats. Tammy chants drowned them out. She crushed the room and the applause she received shows that voters know the work she’s done and the fights she’s in,” said Baldwin spokesperson Andrew Mamo.

On Monday, “Baldwin has forcefully condemned Hamas’ horrific October 7th attacks and will always stand alongside Jewish leaders against the rising tide of antisemitism in the United States and around the world,” a campaign spokesperson wrote in a statement.

The Milwaukee Jewish community is calling for elected officials to step up against hate.

“We need leaders to stand up and speak out to speak out against these atrocities,” said Roberta Clark, JCRC Executive Director, during an interview with the Wisconsin Law Journal on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, Wisconsin Democrats passed a resolution calling for an immediate cease fire in Gaza, sparking criticism from Wisconsin Republicans and the Jewish community, who said it’s unconscionable to call for a cease fire as there are still more than a hundred hostages in the hands of Hamas terrorists.

“This resolution does not align with American values. It absolves Hamas, a terrorist organization, and attempts to strip Israel of its basic right to self-defense,” Clark said.

WisGOP Chairman Brian Schimming agreed with Clark on Monday.

“The Wisconsin Democrats have sold out and abandoned the remaining 120 hostages kidnapped by Hamas. Come Election Day, voters will hold Democrats accountable for betraying the hostages including five Americans held captive in Gaza,” Schimming said in a written statement on June 10.

On June 6, the Wisconsin GOP also issued a statement about this proposed resolution, as well as other resolutions that WisDems passed or were considering.

“The Ayatollah and Yahya Sinwar couldn’t be more pleased with the Wisconsin Democrats,” Matt Fisher, a spokesperson for the Wisconsin GOP, noted in a written statement.

“The first resolution, 24-FA-01, demands an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in Gaza with zero regard paid for the 124 civilians held hostage by Hamas, including five Americans,” Fisher noted.

“But it only gets worse. The Wisconsin Democrats will also consider adopting resolution 24-FA-03 that draws a moral equivalency between Israel’s response to the attacks of Oct. 7 and the documented atrocities of Hamas, including rape and mass murder,” Fisher added.

WisDems ultimately decided to table 24-FA-03 on Sunday as they were only allotted one hour to discuss all resolutions.

Another resolution WisDems considered was a “change in leadership in Israel.” That resolution failed to pass in light of a dispute over a proposed amendment.

Despite WisDems passing a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, WisGOP officials continued to express concerns over the WisDems’ failure to support the Jewish people.

“While Wisconsin Democrats may win the Ayatollah’s approval with these resolutions, they have completely betrayed the trust of Wisconsin voters with their shameful indifference to the victims of Oct. 7. Wisconsin Republicans proudly stand with Israel and demand the immediate and unconditional release of the 124 hostages held by Hamas.” Fisher said.

Pro-Palestinian protesters call for the total destruction of Israel at the WisDems’ 2024 state convention. Staff Photo Steve Schuster

WisDems declined to comment, however The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation issued a statement on Sunday.

“The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation is shocked and disappointed that Wisconsin Democrats have refused to acknowledge the actions of Hamas on and since 10/7, including their murder of over 1,200 Israelis and the taking of hundreds of hostages. On the same weekend in which Israel has accepted a United States endorsed ceasefire deal, the Convention refused to include in their ceasefire resolution a demand that Hamas accept any agreement which includes the release of innocent hostages.

“The Wisconsin Democratic Convention also voted against including factual evidence of anti-Semitism in America,” the statement added. “The Anti-Defamation League has confirmed that 8,873 anti-Semitic incidents occurred in 2023 – representing a 140% increase since 2022 and the highest number on record since ADL began tracking anti-Semitic incidents in 1979. We are stunned that the Convention could in one breath vote on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism but refuse to acknowledge the significant rise in incidents following October 7. Facts are facts.

“On the same weekend that four hostages were rescued from two residential apartments in Nuseirat, the Convention resolution falsely accuses Israel of genocide while entirely ignoring that Hamas is in violation of humanitarian law by embedding hostages amongst civilian populations in order to use civilians as shields.

“To call for a ceasefire without demanding the release of all the hostages is a great injustice. Israel is not engaging in genocide; it is responding to the greatest attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust and is acting to bring its citizens home.

“What began on October 7 appears to have been lost on the delegates who voted on these resolutions. Hamas continues to use the Israeli hostages and the people of Gaza as human shields, putting their lives at risk. Hamas’s willingness to sacrifice civilians as a war tactic reveals much about the evil of this organization.

“It is profoundly misguided to refuse to hold Hamas responsible for rejecting a ceasefire and returning the hostages.”

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