Mayor Frey, City Council allies, stand up to antisemitism, call for unity as divisive resolution passes
While an alternative resolution offered a chance to come together around our common humanity, a majority of Council Members chose division
Jan. 25, 2024
Today, two starkly divergent visions for addressing the Israel-Hamas war were presented by members of the Minneapolis City Council.
One, a divisive, antisemitic resolution presented a distorted view of reality by blaming Israel alone for the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza, even going so far to falsely labeling it a genocide. (The German government has intervened in the case, stating it “has no basis in fact” and rejected the “political instrumentalization” of the Genocide Convention).
It deliberately failed to ascribe any responsibility or agency to Hamas – for starting a war Israelis did not want, exacerbating the Palestinian civilian death toll by cynically using Palestinian and Israeli civilians as human shields, or refusing to end it by releasing the Israeli and American hostages held for 111 days in cruel captivity under Gaza.
In contrast, Council Member Linea Palmisano offered a unifying resolution mourning the deaths of Israeli and Palestinian civilians; expressing concern for the health and welfare of Palestinian, Israeli, Muslim, and Jewish Minneapolitans; recognizing the mutual right of self-determination and peaceful, safe futures for the Israeli and Palestinian peoples; and urged steps toward reconciliation and a two-state solution.
This alternative resolution was strongly supported from the dais by Mayor Jacob Frey who urged the City Council to honor the pain of Palestinians and Israelis.
Outrageously, but not surprisingly, most Council Members chose the divisive route; they opposed CM Palmisano’s alternative by reducing the conflict to a false binary of oppressor and victim and relied on tokenism (such as by citing “many rabbis” who supported the divisive resolution, when the vast majority of Minnesota’s rabbis roundly rejected it) to dismiss the consensus objections of the Jewish community.
We applaud Mayor Frey for his courageous leadership. The Mayor adamantly argued that the laudable project of defending our shared humanity must include Israeli Jews:
“Including some people’s histories as valid – truthful and righteous as it may be – while ignoring others is neither progressive nor inclusive. It’s just sad.” (Watch Mayor Frey’s full remarks here).
In addition to CM Palmisano, we also extend our gratitude to CM LaTrisha Vetaw for speaking up and recognizing the pain this division was inflicting on the Jewish community. We also thank CM Michael Rainville for steadfastly opposing the divisive resolution.
As we have said from the beginning of this charade, nothing the Minneapolis City Council says or does will impact the lives of Israelis or Palestinians enmeshed in a devastating, complicated conflict. Shamefully, however, the City Council has succeeded in amplifying antisemitism and causing Jews to be fearful in Minneapolis.
Finally, the JCRC has the deepest gratitude to the lay leaders and members of our Jewish community who have faced down antisemitic abuse at multiple city council meetings, engaged with their Council Members, and continue to place their confidence in the JCRC to be the consensus voice for our community.