What Happens When You Talk About Gaza (And Heckle a Senator) in Vermont

A recent town hall meeting with independent Senator Bernie Sanders turned into a shouting match when Israel and Hamas became the topics of the moment.

A recent town hall meeting with Senator Bernie Sanders became heated when the conversation turned to Israel, Hamas and the recent fighting in Gaza.   

One member of the audience at the meeting in in Cabot, Vermont lauded the independent senator for not voting in support of a resolution last month comfirming Senate support for Israel in its battle against Hamas in the coastal enclave. However, she asked, "are you willing to go further?" 

Responding to her question, the senator said that Israel did overreact in Operation Protective Edge, but he added that Hamas fires rockets from populated areas and uses resources needed by ordinary Gazans for tunneling into Israel.

Someone in the crowd heckled Sanders, and the discussion became even more heated. One audience member was berated by the senator for interrupting him, saying, “Excuse me, shut up. You don't have the microphone.”  

After the senator said that Hamas doesn't think Israel has the right to exist, a woman in the audience yelled that Hamas is “not just terrorist group — it’s a service organization.”

“It’s a word that means something to people! F*** Israel!,” she said.