On Thursday, Rep. Becca Balint (D-VT) became the first Jewish congressperson to join the congressional call for a ceasefire in the war in Gaza. A first-term representative, Balint made history last year as the first woman and LGBTQ person to represent Vermont in Congress.
Her call for a ceasefire comes one week after activists from the Vermont chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace protested outside one of Balint’s campaign events and days after a meeting between Balint and rabbis from Rabbis for Ceasefire, another pro-peace Jewish group.
Balint announced her position in an op-ed for VTDigger, a nonprofit newsroom based in the state she represents. She wrote: “I am grieving deeply — for the Israelis killed in the brutal attack and all those taken hostage; for the Palestinians killed and suffering in the chaos of violence; and for the children dead, injured, and orphaned, who will carry this trauma for the rest of their lives.”
Balint said a ceasefire would represent the “first step” in long term peace. Her statement also called for returning hostages and ensuring that Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have “true self governance and economic security.”
Balint made it clear that opinion comes from her Jewish background. “I’m one generation removed from the horrific trauma of the Holocaust, which impacted my family and reshaped the world,” she explained. “This same history also drives so many of us to fight for the protection of Palestinian lives.”