update deskIsrael at War

Mayor breaks tie, as Chicago City Council calls for ceasefire in Gaza

“Skeptics wonder when the mayor will support a ceasefire on the West Side,” wrote “The Wall Street Journal” editorial board.

Anti-Israel protesters in downtown Chicago on Nov. 18, 2023. Credit: James Kittendorf/Shutterstock.
Anti-Israel protesters in downtown Chicago on Nov. 18, 2023. Credit: James Kittendorf/Shutterstock.

Brandon Johnson, the mayor of Chicago, broke a 23-23 tie at the Chicago City Council and voted for a resolution demanding a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

The vote made Chicago—which followed Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Oakland and San Francisco—the largest city in the nation to support a ceasefire, CBS reported.

“Today, a divided Chicago City Council adopted a highly controversial resolution calling on Israel to engage in an immediate ceasefire in Gaza,” stated the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest. 

“This resolution undermines the position of the Biden administration, the International Court of Justice and the European Union and the overwhelming majority of Americans, who understand that the release of all the hostages held in Gaza and dismantling Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure are preconditions to any ceasefire,” the consulate said.

It added that the resolution “will have no impact in the Middle East” but “will create more division among communities in Chicago and inspire more antisemitism, as we saw on the floor and in the galleries of City Hall today.”

The debate got so heated that the mayor “cleared the public gallery after repeated interruptions from protesters, just as he did in October during a contentious vote on a resolution condemning the Hamas surprise attack that sparked the war,” per CBS.

“The Chicago City Council on Wednesday passed a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson cast the tie-breaking vote. Skeptics wonder when the mayor will support a ceasefire on the West Side,” wrote The Wall Street Journal editorial board.

The editorial board noted that the Chicago mayor has cited casualty numbers from “the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry” and that the vote caused a “flag-waving ruckus in Chicago City Hall Tuesday but has zero effect on Israel or Hamas.”

The board added that Chicago Public Schools aided the resolution by letting students walk out for a ceasefire and that the mayor said he is “incredibly proud” of the students.

“We hope those students got home safely from the walk-outs. Chicago had 617 murders in 2023, and its murder rate is five times that of New York City. On some weekends in the warmer months, dozens of people are killed by gunshots or stabbings,” the editorial board wrote. “Two high school students were killed in the Loop last week in the early afternoon.”

 “Amid national notice of this mayhem last summer, Mr. Johnson said critics had to live in Chicago before they had the right to criticize,” it added. “Israel might ask the same of Mr. Johnson.”

The Chicago Tribune editorial board wrote that one of the mayor’s largest mistakes “can be summed up in one sentence: He seems to have decided to speak only to his base.”

“Everyone else? Either a sworn enemy or chopped liver. This is the kind of thinking that can cleave a city,” the Tribune board added, referring to Johnson’s “ridiculous posturing” on the resolution.

“On Wednesday Johnson became, in the tortured syntax of one report, ‘the biggest city mayor now calling for a ceasefire,’ as if the size of a Midwestern metropolis is a measure of its likelihood of affecting the trajectory of a war 6,000 miles away,” the board wrote. “After flicking away the Hamas atrocities, Johnson discussed the crucible of the Middle East in terms of Black ‘liberation,'” and “in stark terms of the oppressor and the oppressed.”

The mayor and members of the City Council “advocated for a one-sided resolution that divides our city, emboldens Hamas and dangerously undermines U.S. global influence,” stated the Jewish United Fund and ADL Midwest jointly.

“The debate and rhetoric around this resolution has fanned the flames of antisemitism as antisemitic incidents in the city and U.S. reach unprecedented levels,” they added.

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