PGH DSA calls upon Sara Innamorato to end her seven months of silence on the US-funded Israeli genocide of Palestinians

Image: White text on a black background. Below that is a logo for Pittsburgh Democratic Socialists of America. Text: Pittsburgh DSA calls upon Sara Innamorato to end her seven months of silence on the US-funded Israeli genocide of Palestinians.

Pittsburgh Democratic Socialists of America calls upon Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato to end her seven months of silence on the US-funded Israeli genocide of Palestinians.

On October 11th, Sara Innamorato issued a statement which remains one of very few she has issued since Israel’s genocide began. In this statement, she:

  • Explicitly endorsed the forced displacement of Palestinians–a textbook case of ethnic cleansing.
  • Condemned our chapter, and DSA nationally, for our solidarity with Palestine and our stance on the correct side of history in opposition to Israeli aggression.
  • Explicitly affirmed Innamorato has solidarity with Jewish people and endorsed Israel’s right to defend itself, while including no mention of solidarity with Palestinians or their right to defend themselves.
  • Implied accusations of antisemitism toward a statement written and edited nearly entirely by Jewish constituents of hers.
  • Opportunistically attempted to score cheap political points off a genocide that could be seen escalating in real-time and has only worsened since.

As time has clarified which side of this is the right side of history to stand on, we are confident Sara Innamorato hoped her silence in the months since then means she will never have to answer for her choices in a critical moment. However, our County Executive has repeatedly been called upon to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine, and her silence is shameful. 

When hundreds of constituents spoke passionately at County Council on February 20th and March 5th asking for Allegheny County to pass a resolution in favor of a ceasefire, our County Executive remained silent.

While voting against the ceasefire resolution, County Councilor Bob Macey justified his rationale based on blatantly xenophobic, white supremacist conspiracy theories. Just 10 days later our county executive announced her reappointment of Councilor Macey to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission Board, despite widespread outrage at Macey. In our most generous interpretation of that appointment, which we’re grateful County Council rejected, it seems Innamorato’s determination to avoid any perception of changing her prior stance may have been a higher priority than preventing a bigoted councilor from having a say in how federal funds are distributed to which communities. 

When Congresswoman Summer Lee faced repeated attacks for her votes for a ceasefire and against unconditional military aid to Israel, Sara Innamorato did not join community members in defending Lee’s stances, despite endorsing Rep. Lee.

When University of Pittsburgh students joined a national movement of student-led encampments and campus protests by setting up their own encampment and issuing demands, including calling on Pitt’s Board of Trustees to disclose and fully divest from all university investments in the Israeli apartheid regime and to acknowledge the genocide, Sara Innamorato remained silent despite being a member of that very Board of Trustees.

In the past 7 months, Israel has killed over 35,000 Palestinians, including 19,450 children. Israel has used chemical weapons on civilians repeatedly, systematically tortured Palestinians, tortured UNRWA staff, systematically targeted and bombed hospitals in Gaza, attacked healthcare facilities or providers in nearly 800 documented occasions, destroyed every university in Gaza, killed over 220 aid workers, and killed nearly 100 Palestinian journalists. The United Nations Security Council has referred to the situation as “a catastrophic humanitarian situation [with] the threat of imminent famine in Gaza.” And every day of those ongoing horrors, Sara Innamorato has remained silent.

Since Sara Innamorato’s endorsement of Israel’s ethnic cleansing by forced displacement, Israel has ordered Palestinians to evacuate to southern Gaza only to bombard the supposed evacuation routes and areas. In the past week, now that such evacuations have left 1.2 million Palestinians sheltering in Rafah–a city in southern Gaza, Israel has again announced Palestinians must evacuate and begun attacking Palestinians while preventing any viable mass evacuation. Each time these supposed humanitarian forced displacements have been proven anything but humanitarian, Sara Innamorato has remained silent.

In 2017, we endorsed Sara Innamorato’s campaign for State Representative because she came to us then as a member and a socialist sharing our vision for building a better world. In her application for our endorsement, she stated, “Yes, I am a democratic socialist, because I believe that government should put people first when making policy decisions.” 

As she made clear in her Allegheny County Executive campaign, Sara Innamorato either abandoned those ideals or never actually held them to begin with. Additionally, we can confirm as she’s stated, Sara Innamorato has not been a member of DSA since 2019.

Despite a strained relationship, we had been hopeful for what an Innamorato-era of Allegheny County could mean for the ability to build an Allegheny County for all. Many of our members volunteered on their own for her campaign, especially in the primary. Even after her condemnation of us, we’d held out hope that at least on local matters, she might still be more willing to fight for what’s right than the prior County Executive was.

But County Executive Innamorato’s continued silence, even when choices on whether to oppose or stand with Israel’s genocide come before her in her capacity as County Executive, calls into question whether Sara Innamorato will prioritize her support for genocide over the vision for an “Allegheny County for All” she campaigned on. Allegheny County includes Palestinian residents whose families and friends are being killed by weapons all of our tax dollars fund. Does her vision of an Allegheny County for All include Palestinians?

It is possible Sara Innamorato thought she was making a shrewd political calculation putting notions of electability over morality, but Innamorato’s stance is wildly out of step with the views of the public, especially those of her own party. According to a recent poll, 70% of Americans support a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. 83% of Democrats support a ceasefire, and 56% of Democrats believe Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

It is too late to have stood on the right side of this from the beginning, and there is real harm for her to repair for that. However, it is not too late to begin standing on the right side of history now. We call upon Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato to:

  • Issue an acknowledgment of genocide and a statement in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
  • Apologize for her previous remarks in support of ethnic cleansing.
  • Fully disclose Allegheny County’s investments in the Israeli apartheid regime and those profiting off its genocidal war, especially weapons manufacturers.
  • In her capacity as a Trustee of the University of Pittsburgh, push for Pitt to meet the demands of the Pitt student encampment, specifically:
    • Full disclosure of all university investments in the Israeli apartheid regime.
    • An acknowledgment of genocide and a statement in solidarity with the Palestinian people by the university administration.
    • Full material divestment from any entity associated with the Israeli apartheid regime including through academic boycotts and demilitarization.
    • Reject the normalization of ties with the Israeli apartheid regime.
    • Demand legal and disciplinary amnesty for all Pitt encampment arrestees, as well as all student protestors.

Pittsburgh DSA Statement of Solidarity with Palestine Oct 2023

Pittsburgh DSA expresses our continued full and unequivocal support for the Palestinian struggle for freedom. We mourn the loss of life across the region which is a direct result of over 75 years of brutal occupation and apartheid including 17 years of a blockade and siege on Gaza, funded and backed by our own government.

Living deep in the belly of the US Empire, we must do all we can to address our own capitalist government’s attacks on the working class and oppressed peoples both here and abroad.   To secure the socialist future, we fight for democracy, and demand that democracy bloom and expand in all areas of life and all corners of the earth. 

That flower cannot bloom in Palestine while the IDF carries on a daily campaign of terror and oppression against the Palestinian people, while Gaza is kept under siege, while settlements in the West Bank continue to displace and attack Palestinians, and while Palestinians are subjected to daily violations of their basic democratic rights at the hands of the IDF and the rest of the Israeli state apparatus, including the encouragement of reactionary opposition to justify further atrocities. All the while, the deadly exchange of police and military training between the US and Israel continues to intensify tactics of repression and surveillance in both countries.

 Violent opposition is the inevitable response to the conditions imposed by Israeli occupation. The conflict can only end if the apartheid regime is lifted from the river to the sea. Our goal as socialists and internationalists is liberation for all oppressed peoples, especially those oppressed by the largest recipient of United States foreign aid. Our desire for peace goes much further than the cessation of active warfare, and must include active reversal of over 75 years of systematic violence and oppression.

In accordance with DSA’s national political platform, we continue to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement, and we continue to demand the right of return for Palestinian refugees, the end of all US military aid to Israel and all military cooperation with Israel, an end to all training exchanges between US police forces and police and military in Israel, the closure of all US military bases on foreign soil, and the immediate withdrawal of the US from NATO. We also call on members and non-members alike to consider the action list from Jewish Voice for Peace and to get involved in Palestinian solidarity actions as this situation develops.

-Pittsburgh DSA Coordinating Committee

Pittsburgh DSA Statement on the BDSWG and the NPC

We, the Pittsburgh Chapter of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), reaffirm our commitment to Palestinian Liberation. We join the chorus of DSA chapters formally rebuking the DSA National Political Committee’s (NPC’s) decision to de-charter the Boycott, Divest, & Sanction and Palestine Solidarity Working Group (BDSWG) and to remove the organizers who were doing work in that group from current and future leadership positions. 

At the 2019 Convention of the DSA, member delegates voted to pass Resolution #35 which reads, (in part, full text can be read here):

Be it resolved that the Democratic Socialists of America establish a national working group dedicated to BDS and Palestine Solidarity; 

Be it resolved that the National will allow autonomous leadership and membership of said working group; 

Be it resolved that the National will reaffirm BDS and Palestine solidarity as a priority for the national organization and further commit itself to organizing in solidarity with the BDS movement, which urges nonviolent pressure on Israel until it meets three demands: ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

In late 2021, a DSA-endorsed congressman, Jamaal Bowman of New York’s 16th district, voted to support Israeli Iron Dome defense funding, met with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and took a trip to Israel sponsored by J Street, a pro-Israel lobby group. These actions, along with a failure of attempted meetings to produce course corrections from Rep. Bownman led to calls from BDSWG (among others) for the NPC to censure or expel Rep. Bowman from DSA membership. Ultimately, neither occurred. Instead the NPC retaliated against the BDSWG by de-chartering the working group and banning its leaders from future leadership positions in the DSA for one year.

The decision to de-charter the group was undemocratic, was not supported by our bylaws, and remains highly detrimental to the future of this organization on a strategic level insofar as it sent a message to our Palestinian members and other leftist organizations that Palestine is not a priority for DSA, and that we are more interested in building personal relationships with elected officials than adhering to our democratically determined values.

It is the position of the Pittsburgh DSA that the BDSWG was unjustly punished for legitimate public criticism of the NPC’s actions in contravention to the will of DSA’s membership, as expressed at the 2019 convention. While the NPC has attempted to justify these undemocratic actions as a response to harassment, grievances among individual members should have been resolved through existing harassment and grievance channels, rather than through the undemocratic collective punishment of the BDSWG.

While the NPC has since partially reversed their decision, by reinstating the BDSWG as a working group, it has failed to reinstate the leaders who were unjustly removed from the group and banned from future leadership positions for one year. 

As an chapter, we want to be clear: Palestinian liberation is a priority in our organizing. The Pittsburgh DSA has been proud to support local Palestinian justice coalitions—including The Pittsburgh Coalition to End the Deadly Exchange and the Pittsburgh BDS Coalition—and to host the BDSWG at our January 2022 General Body Meeting. Our chapter also voted unanimously at our March General Body Meeting to issue our own BDS Resolution which holds us to support the Pittsburgh BDS Coalition, to avoid purchasing boycotted products or services with chapter funds, and to hold our own endorsed candidates accountable for anti-BDS stances or actions. 

Therefore, the Pittsburgh DSA makes the following demands:.

  1. Reinstate the leaders of the BDSWG who have full rights, in a democratic organization, to freely and openly critique the broader organization and its leadership, the NPC, when they violate adopted resolutions of the general membership. The freedom to publicly criticism of leadership is essential to any democratic institution.
  2. Revoke the one-year ban on these members running for future leadership positions.

In closing, we want to thank the members and leaders of the BDSWG, the minority of the NPC who spoke out against the decision and provided the membership with transparency throughout the process, and our fellow DSA chapters, working groups, and members who have continued to unconditionally support Palestinian liberation.

[Approved by the General Body, May 16, 2022]

Pencils Out! The National DSA Trips to Peru and Venezuela (ft Austin G)

For our August General Meeting we’re honored to have Austin Gonzalez from the DSA National Political Committee to talk about the International Committee’s trips to observe the elections in Peru and representing the organization in the Congreso Bicentenario de los Pueblos in Caracas, Venezuela while taking another week to visit the famous communes of Venezuela.

For the official reportback from the delegation check out this video on the Official DSA Youtube:…

Also be sure to check out Austin’s podcast Machete Y Mate which is an overview in the going ons with the Global South in the face of US Imperialism

DSA and The PRO Act

From our April General Meeting; author & PGH DSA Member Ryan Brown (writer of Pittsburgh and the Great Steel Strike of 1919) discusses the history Labor acts in the US from the 1930s on today with the PRO ACT and how the DSA is involved in the organizing trying to pass this landmark act.

Link to Ryan’s Book:…

Abortion Access History and the Current Landscape

For our March 2021 General Meeting; the Political Education Committee reached out to the Socialist Feminist Committee to give an Ed Segment for Women’s History Month. The committee focused on presenting the history of Abortion Access and the current challenges to abortion access.

Here is a link to the chapter’s official fundraiser for Western PA Fund For Choice! Likewise consider joining the team as well!

Outside Pittsburgh? Then email for advice on how to start your own abortion drive website!