UPDATE: Minneapolis City Council ceasefire resolution sent to committee
After a motion to introduce a resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza passed at the Minneapolis City Council meeting agenda on Monday morning, councilors ultimately decided to hold off on voting on it until it goes through the legislative process.
The resolution vote was added after a weekend of demonstrations throughout Minneapolis. The Free Palestine Coalition ended a week of planned protests and calling for a ceasefire during a Sunday event, when they marched from the federal building to senator Amy Klobuchar’s Office.
However, there seems to be a divide between some of the councilors and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
Council members Robin Wonsley, Aurin Chowdhury and Aisha Chughtai are authoring the resolution, calling it an important step that other big cities across the country have taken.
“While I appreciate that foreign policy is not the responsibility of this body, I believe it is our responsibility to express the collective values of our constituents and of this community. And this resolution is an important part of our work to reflect those shared values of our community,” said councilor Chowdhury.
Frey, who is Jewish, said on Friday he was never consulted about the resolution.
“A resolution calling for return of hostages or an end to indiscriminate bombing I would gladly support,” said Frey. “A resolution that calls for Israel to drastically change its approach I would support, a resolution calling for a two-state solution I would proudly support.”
Part of the reason councilors decided to hold the vote at a later time was to ensure transparency and communication with residents, Frey and others. Councilors also want to get full input on the resolution through due process and have another week to discuss it with each other and constituents.
“To send a message to our federal leaders whether it’s our president or congressional leaders that the largest city in Minnesota wants a full immediate permanent ceasefire,” said Chughtai, who represents Ward 10.
A discussion is now scheduled for the Jan. 23 meeting of the Committee of the Whole.
In a statement, the Jewish Community Relations Council for Minnesota and the Dakotas denounced the ‘inflammatory’ resolution.
“While JCRC does not believe that any such resolution should be a priority for the Minneapolis City Council given the pressing needs of the city, if the Council is intent on passing a resolution regarding the Israel-Hamas War, further conversation with constituents and community stakeholders is necessary to produce language that brings people together and reflects our shared values of embracing the humanity of Israelis and Palestinians alike,” the council said, in part.
The council also denounced behavior at the meeting that it says was antisemitic, including council member Robin Wonsley accusing Israel of genocide, signs that read, “Both sides are thirsty / Israel for blood / Gaza for water” and shouting down council member Linea Palmisano who spoke in favor of focusing on local issues.
JCRC’s full statement can be viewed here.