NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A Connecticut union leader resigned from his job Thursday after making a controversial speech at a New Haven rally.
The executive director of the Service Employees International Union Connecticut (SEIU), Kooper Caraway, spoke about Hamas at the All Out for Palestine rally in New Haven last week.
“Our enemies are not in Gaza, our enemies are the CEOs who are cutting our pay and benefits,” Caraway said at the rally. “Our enemies are the politicians who lock our people up and leave them to sleep on the streets. Our enemies are not in Gaza. Our comrades are in Gaza,” Caraway said.
Since then, Caraway has received backlash from both the Democratic and Republican parties.
Gov. Ned Lamont, who heard Caraway’s speech said it was not appropriate.
“Incredibly insensitive given the timing,” Lamont said. “Absolutely inappropriate and dead wrong. He has the right to say what he says and I have the right to condemn it.”
State Rep. Devin Carney (R-District 23) agreed that Caraway’s comments were intense.
“The comments that came from Mr. Caraway were extreme, they were sympathetic to terrorist acts and to be perfectly honest, I don’t believe that most members of the union he was the executive director for, agreed with those comments,” Carney said.
After backlash, the SEIU confirmed they received Caraway’s resignation letter on Thursday.
“SEIU believes that all Israelis and Palestinians deserve safety, freedom from violence and the opportunity to thrive,” Caraway said in part of his resignation statement to SEIU. “We stand against antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism and hate in all its forms around the world.”
Caraway also provided the following statement to News 8.
“The only comment I’ll be making about this episode is: All Power to the working class.”