Chicago becomes largest U.S. city to call for ceasefire in Gaza
Why it matters: Chicago is now the largest U.S. municipality to urge President Biden to support a ceasefire, putting the Democratic National Convention's host city at odds with the administration's stance on the conflict and signaling growing discontent in the country.
Between the lines: The resolution, which also called for the unconditional release of all hostages and the allowance of humanitarian aid into Gaza, has stoked deep division within the City Council.
- Some have questioned the time spent on a largely symbolic measure, while others have emphasized how the violence in the region affects many in the Chicago area, home to the largest Palestinian American and third-largest Jewish populations in the nation.
What they're saying: "We as elected officials have the power to save lives by uplifting a demand that is now shared by many and to be on the right side of history, " Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33rd), the resolution's sponsor, said in the emotional meeting.
The other side: "I am disappointed in the mayor," Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th), the council's only Jewish member, said after Wednesday's vote. "He had an opportunity to be a unifier. And he could have sat down with us and come up with a solution that could have potentially gotten all of us a unanimous vote."
- Silverstein and other alders have criticized the decision to model the measure on a United Nations resolution that the U.S. vetoed in December.
- The 23 opposing alders signed a letter, stating that "passing a resolution that is counter to U.S. international policy and norms sends a dangerous message. It undermines the interest of the United States and hence the authority, power and influence of President Biden."
Catch up quick: Pressure to pass the resolution grew in recent days as Johnson, some CPS high school students, Rev. Jesse Jackson and many of the city's largest unions — including the CTU, SEIU and autoworkers — publicly added their voices of support.
- Large mainstream Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish United Fund, opposed the measure.
- However, Martin Levine, the former head of JCC Chicago, and local progressive Jewish groups Jewish Voice For Peace, Jewish Fast For Gaza and If Not Now Chicago came to the meeting to support the resolution.
Flashback: Issues around the Israel-Hamas war sparked similar rancor last October, when the council debated and ultimately passed Silverstein's resolution in support of Israel.
What's ahead: Ald. Desmon Yancy (5th), who voted to pass the resolution Wednesday, hopes the city can "work together and focus on providing solutions for other pressing issues like rising violence, the effects of disinvestment in the Black community, and beginning to close the book on a tale of two cities."
More Chicago stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.