Colorado Senate debates Middle East peace, nonviolence |

Colorado Senate debates Middle East peace, nonviolence

Colleen Slevin
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” The Colorado Senate took up back-to-back resolutions that led to a debate about the Middle East on Monday.

Senators first backed a motion (Senate Resolution 8) promoting nonviolence in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.

The resolution’s sponsor then voted against another measure supporting Israel’s right to defend itself from terrorist attacks and backing a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Senate Resolution 9). Freshman Sen. Linda Newell, D-Littleton, said she voted no because she didn’t think she was qualified to weigh in on international affairs.

Republicans then tried and failed to amend Newell’s nonviolence resolution to send a copy to Hamas.

“If you really want to give nonviolence a chance, here is your opportunity,” Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray said. “Members, there is no question at all in my mind that if the folks in Hamas stop raining down rockets on the folks in Israel they will have peace. Let’s give peace a chance.”

Majority Leader Brandon Shaffer called the amendment “political gimmickry at its best” but then apologized for questioning Brophy’s motives in violation of Senate rules.

Sen. Joyce Foster, D-Denver, sponsored the resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which was modeled after one passed in the U.S. Senate. She said she respected Newell’s decision to vote no on her resolution and asked senators not to change the nonviolence resolution.

“Some of it appears hopeless to me now. However, I’ll take any kind of peace we can get, as long as we don’t give up, as long as we don’t give up the right to exist,” said Foster, who is also a freshman.

Newell said the timing of the debate on the measures was coincidental.

The Senate passed the Israeli-Palestinian resolution in a 32-2 vote. Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora, was the other no vote. A protester was escorted out of the gallery when he tried to display a sign calling the measure a “hate resolution.”

Newell’s resolution promoted a national effort called Seasons for Nonviolence which encourages people to try different daily practices from driving with tolerance and patience to looking beyond stereotypes and prejudice. The Senate backed it in a 27-5 vote. Five Republicans voted against it ” Sens. Mike Kopp, Dave Schultheis, Ted Harvey, Scott Renfroe and Kevin Lundberg.

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