Shri Thanedar

Democratic lawmaker cuts ties with prominent left-wing group over pro-Palestinian rally

WASHINGTON — Rep. Shri Thanedar, D-Mich., announced Wednesday that he is renouncing his membership in the Democratic Socialists of America after the left-wing group promoted a pro-Palestinian rally a day after Hamas’ deadly terrorist attack on Israel.

In a statement, Thanedar, who is in his first term, cited what he called a “hate-filled and antisemitic rally in New York City,” which other progressives in Congress have also condemned.

“After the brutal terrorist attacks on Israel, which included the indiscriminate murder, rape, and kidnapping of innocent men, women, and children, I can no longer associate with an organization unwilling to call out terrorism in all its forms,” Thanedar said in his statement.

“Sunday’s hate-filled and antisemitic rally in New York City, promoted by the NYC-DSA, makes it impossible for me to continue my affiliation,” he added. “I stand with Israel and its right to defend itself. There is no place for moral equivocation in the face of unadulterated evil as we have seen from Hamas.”

A spokesperson for Democratic Socialists of America did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.

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The group has helped elect some of the most progressive members of Congress, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who was among those who have condemned Sunday’s rally.

“The bigotry and callousness expressed in Times Square on Sunday were unacceptable and harmful in this devastating moment,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement first shared with Politico’s New York affiliate late Monday. “It also did not speak for the thousands of New Yorkers who are capable of rejecting both Hamas’ horrifying attacks against innocent civilians as well as the grave injustices and violence Palestinians face under occupation.”

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Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a fellow New York Democrat, also chastised rallygoers, saying on X: “I am shocked and disgusted by the rally held here in NY this weekend celebrating death or attacks on civilians and showing swastikas. I condemn any demonstration that does this in the strongest possible terms. We must proceed on the basis of recognizing our shared humanity.”

The Times Square rally involved clashes between Palestinian activists and pro-Israel demonstrators who protested that the pro-Palestinian rallygoers were antisemitic and terrorist sympathizers.

“On Saturday, in anticipation of escalatory violence to come, we tweeted a promotion of a rally in solidarity with the people of Palestine,” NYC-DSA said in a statement Tuesday in response to the criticism.

“We understand why many, including our allies, were shocked by the timing and the tone of this message in a moment of profound fear and grief. We are sorry for the confusion our post caused and for not making our values explicit.”

At least 1,200 Israelis — including 189 soldiers — were killed as a result of the terrorist attack Saturday, and more than 2,700 were injured. In Gaza, officials say, at least 1,120 people have been killed and 5,300 have been injured.

Thanedar said he will continue to work toward goals he campaigned on before he was elected to Congress in November, including “universal healthcare, workers’ rights, strong labor unions, equity for communities of color, environmental justice, and compassionate immigration.”

He said ending his membership with DSA serves the interests of his constituents, saying they expect him “to represent them by helping to build a better, more just world, not fanning the flames of hatred.”

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Thanedar represents a congressional district that covers parts of Detroit and nearby towns.

Rebecca Shabad

Rebecca Shabad is a politics reporter for NBC News based in Washington.