Silicon Valley congressional candidates talk antisemitism, Gaza war during forum

Candidates running to replace Rep. Anna Eshoo gathered tonight to address issues important to the Jewish community. Five leading candidates participated in tonight’s forum.   

Dozens of people came out to hear what these candidates had to say about the rise in antisemitism and the war in Gaza. People also wanted to know what they planned to do about it if elected to Congress.   

"Because this is a chance to elect a new candidate for potentially a generation in this seat," said Tyler Gregory, CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council.   

Held at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto, dozens of potential voters listened to five of the 13 candidates running to represent Silicon Valley. Longtime Congress member Anna Eshoo announced she would not seek reelection. Candidates were asked to tell the audience where they stood on the war in Gaza.  

"Quite simply, the situation is dire, and I unreservedly side with Israel. I am the only candidate in this race that has taken an explicit pro-Israel stance in the Israel-Hamas conflict," said Rishi Kumar, an Engineer and Dist. 16 candidate.     

"Let us recognize that there are still hostages, American hostages. We must not lose sight of that there have been rape victims. We must not lose sight of that and that is the commitment that we make. That is the commitment that you want in your member of Congress," said  Evan Low, a State Assembly member and Dist. 16 candidate.

The Jewish Community Relations Council says the forum was a chance for candidates to tell voters how they’d support the Jewish community as antisemitism rises around the country and the war in Gaza continues.  

"We grieve for all of them, and we must do all that we can to support a path to peace, a two-state solution that ensures protection and security for Israel, which is facing existential threats," said Sam Liccardo, former San Jose Mayor and Dist. 16 candidate.  

"Israel’s attack on Gaza jeopardizes Israel’s security because of what’s happening every day in Gaza and generations of Palestinians will want to avenge the deaths of their loved ones and that is not going to lead to peace," said Julie-Lythcott-Haims, a current Palo Alto City Council member and Dist. 16 candidate. 

With each candidate vying to represent District 16 in Washington D.C., the war in Gaza, and U.S.-Israel relations will remain a top priority for the next representative.  

"Some sense of common humanity with the commitment and the notion that it was a terrorist attack by a terrorist organization. Israel has a right to defend itself and an obligation to minimize civilian casualties to the greatest possible degree," said Joe Simitian, a current Santa Clara County Board Supervisor and Dist. 16 candidate.   

JCRC says they’re also considering holding a similar forum for the San Francisco Mayor’s race and other local elections coming soon.