With intense controversy over Gaza continuing to drive the news and with the conflict being a heated topic of conversation among ordinary Americans, it’s only natural and to be expected that voting constituents would seek answers from the their elected representatives.
One activist, who says he voted for Democratic Senator from Pennsylvania John Fetterman, attempted to do just that days ago. Daniel Kovalik, a 55-year-old former professor and human rights lawyer, paid a ticket to attend an event with Fetterman, who in the wake of Hamas Oct.7 attack on Israeli civilians said, “Now is not the time to talk about a ceasefire…We can talk about a ceasefire after Hamas is neutralized.”
Kovalik is seen on camera at the event confronting Fetterman over his stance, at a moment the Gaza death toll had surpassed 7,000 killed in airstrikes. Kovalik asked the senator for a response: “Ten thousand people in Gaza have been killed, half are children. The pope is calling for a ceasefire, the UN has called for it.” he said. “I’m just asking, you’re a good guy, I voted for you, I know you’re a nice guy, this is important.”
— Dan Kovalik (@danielmkovalik) October 29, 2023
But instead of engaging what appears to be an honest inquiry (Kovalik even says at one point he voted for Fetterman), Sen. Fetterman walks away and a staffer violently pushes Kovalik away, through restaurant doors and out into the street.
As Newsweek explains of what happened next:
Fetterman, who had remained silent while listening to Kovalik, can be seen walking away as the former professor is physically pushed out of the building.
The person taking the video, who keeps on filming, can be heard saying that the staff member who pushed Kovalik away had “just assaulted” him, as he was only talking to the senator.
The clip of the tense encounter has since gone viral, receiving around three million views. Fetterman has been among those Congressional leaders, which has included both sides of the aisle, seeking robust and muscular support for Israel at a moment fears ratchet of broader regional war.
But The Intercept has recently reported he’s received severe pushback from within his own ranks, writing that
“Sixteen former campaign staffers of Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., have penned a letter urging their onetime boss to back a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, telling him that “it is not too late to change your stance and stand on the righteous side of history.” The open letter comes as Fetterman, a consistent supporter of Israel, has defended its war on Gaza and is the latest effort by former or current U.S. government employees urging an end to the violence.
To be sure, Fetterman has long demonstrated that he has trouble forming coherent on the spot answers in terms of verbal responses. So his silence when confronted by Kovalik could at least in part be due that, especially given the complexity of the issue.