It took six days for newly appointed State Representative Tim Hernández to clearly and publicly condemn the terrorist group Hamas, which on October 7 savagely invaded Israel to shoot people in the streets and rape people to death before parading their mutilated bodies through the streets. Six days.
Soon after the assault, Hernández sang a different tune when he attended a superficially “pro-Palestine” rally—more of an anti-Israel rally—where he pointedly declined to condemn Hamas and mocked the person asking him to do so. With that behavior, Hernández embarrassed and shamed decent Coloradans on an international stage.
If only someone, anyone, had been able to warn Democrats that installing as a state legislator a “Democratic Socialist” who speaks longingly of a Marxist-Leninist “forceful cultural revolution,” who supported an anti-capitalist resolution by the teacher’s union, and who was let go from his Denver teaching job where he openly propagandized students with his hard-left ideology, would continually embarrass Colorado Democrats along with the people of the state. Such a surprise.
As video from CBS reveals, people at the rally seemed to defend the violence, chanting, “No peace on stolen land” and “for Palestine we will fight.” Such language leaves open the question: How much of Israel do they regard as “stolen?” In other cities, Hernández’s “Democratic Socialist” comrades chanted, “from the river to the sea,” implying that Israel should be wiped completely off the map and the Jews there removed, subjugated, or exterminated.
A person who took a video of his interaction with Hernández at the rally asked, “Do you condemn the murder of women and children in the street by Palestinian terrorists?” Hernández answered, “I condemn any form of colonial violence perpetuated upon any group of people. . . . I believe in the liberation of Palestine.” Yes, when asked point-blank to condemn Hamas’s grotesque butchery, Hernández instead blamed Israel for the violence.
The reaction from some Democrats was swift. State Senator Dafna Michaelson Janet, a member of the Jewish Caucus, told CBS that Hernández and his fellow ralliers “seemed a little bit blind to what was happening in the world at that moment, and the terror that our families were experiencing in real time.” (See also Michaelson Janet’s written statement.)
Republican Ron Weinberg stood by Michaelson Jenet and added, “What is being conducted is literal war crimes. Every single lawmaker should stand firm, shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, regardless of party affiliation, and declare this as unacceptable.” But Hernández is more accustomed to raising his clenched fist.
Governor Jared Polis sent CBS this statement: “The only proper response is to condemn Hamas for these evil terrorist attacks on innocent civilians, and stand with Israel.”
House Speaker Julie McCluskie and House Majority Leader Monica Duran released a statement: “We’ve had several conversations with Representative Hernández over the last few days and are deeply disappointed that when there was doubt, he chose not to explicitly condemn the violent Hamas terrorist attacks on innocent Israelis. Serving as a state representative means bearing the weight of responsibility for how our actions and words impact others, and we are called upon to lead with compassion, sensitivity, and humility in the most painful moments.
“The murder of nearly 1,000 innocent people so far is an atrocity that demands unequivocal condemnation. We should be denouncing, not promoting, hateful rhetoric on social media [alluding to some of Hernández’s retweets]. We stand with the people of Israel and the Jewish community in Colorado as we continue to mourn the loss of life and reel from the shock of the still unfolding horrors of this violent terrorist attack on innocent Israelis.”
On October 9, Hernández did say he’s “against attacking innocent people” and he “did not speak or attend the rally in support of Hamas or in support of the attacks on Israel.” But he could not bring himself to explicitly condemn Hamas and its acts of brutal terror.
Too little, too late
With a loudening drum-beat calling for Hernández’s removal from office, finally, on October 13, Hernández condemned Hamas and apologized for his previous behavior: “I just wanted to take a quick minute to make some things real clear. I condemn Hamas, and their attack on innocent civilians, that was targeted toward Israelis, but has resulted in the deaths and murder of Israeli folks, Palestinian folks, Arabs, Americans, and so many others. People who were harmed and suffering deserve our respect.
“And I have to apologize for the way that I caused harm in community by not making that explicitly clear. I got here because of my choices, my [?] decisions, and because I wasn’t engaged with impacted community members. I liked Tweets that were harmful. And my lack of condemnation when I was asked a question at a rally during a tense exchange left people with a lot of painful questions. . . .”
Readers may watch Hernández entire video and judge for themselves whether the newly appointed legislator adequately answered those questions.
Taking a wider view, no sensible person will pretend that the situation between the people living in Israel and the people living in Gaza is simple or that a solution to the tensions there is obvious. As a hint of some of the problems, see Arnold Kling’s reflections about his 1980 trip to Israel.
Yet some things are blindingly clear. The terrorists of Hamas attacked Israelis, not because they love Palestinians, but because they hate Jews and want to see the state of Israel utterly destroyed. As President Joe Biden said, “Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination. Its stated purpose is the annihilation of the state of Israel and the murder of Jewish people. They use Palestinian civilians as human shields. Hamas offers nothing but terror and bloodshed, with no regard to who pays the price.”
As for those who “keep repeating ‘I condemn . . . but,'” Kling writes, “Those are the words that disturb me the most.”
Ari Armstrong writes regularly for Complete Colorado and is the author of books about Ayn Rand, Harry Potter, and classical liberalism. He can be reached at ari at ariarmstrong dot com.
Our unofficial motto at Complete Colorado is “Always free, never fake, ” but annoyingly enough, our reporters, columnists and staff all want to be paid in actual US dollars rather than our preferred currency of pats on the back and a muttered kind word. Fact is that there’s an entire staff working every day to bring you the most timely and relevant political news (updated twice daily) from around the state on Complete’s main page aggregator, as well as top-notch original reporting and commentary on Page Two.
CLICK HERE TO LADLE A LITTLE GRAVY ON THE CREW AT COMPLETE COLORADO. You’ll be giving to the Independence Institute, the not-for-profit publisher of Complete Colorado, which makes your donation tax deductible. But rest assured that your giving will go specifically to the Complete Colorado news operation. Thanks for being a Complete Colorado reader, keep coming back.