Oct 25, 2023 - News

How the Israel-Hamas war is playing out in Colorado city councils

Animated illustration of a text box with a blinking text cursor in between quotation marks. In the background are the Palestine and Israel flags.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios.

The tension from the Israel-Hamas war has crept into the halls of Colorado's local governments.

Driving the news: An Aurora City Council meeting on Monday turned into a public clash between Israeli and Palestinian supporters over a resolution responding to the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack.

  • More than 5,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war started, while 1,400 Israelis died during the attack, Axios Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath writes.

By the numbers: More than 300 people attended the meeting, according to CBS Colorado, a majority of whom supported Palestinians.

Context: Progressive council members and community members wanted a resolution initially meant to condemn the terrorist attack and support Israel to also include a mention of violence and historical mistreatment of Palestinian civilians in the region.

  • It was sponsored by a conservative lawmaker, per the Sentinel, which reported the final resolution approved Monday includes a reference to "all innocent lives caught in the fighting" and was supported by a 6–4 vote.
  • Aurora's council includes a conservative majority.

What they're saying: "We're not saying, 'Support us and not them.' We're saying, 'Support both communities during this time,' because both communities are grieving," Reema Wahdan, director of the Colorado Palestinian Club, told CBS Colorado.

  • "I heard a woman speak about terrors she has had as a Muslim since Oct. 7. I share that feeling as a Jew," At-large Aurora Council Member Danielle Jurinsky, who supported the original and amended resolution, said during Monday's meeting.

Of note: Earlier this month, the conservative-leaning Colorado Springs City Council issued a statement and passed a formal resolution to "unequivocally condemn Hamas" and express "unwavering support of the people of Israel."

The intrigue: Meanwhile, council members in Denver β€” who lean liberal β€” have largely stayed quiet.

  • The body has not issued a formal statement or resolution addressing the war, and there are no current plans to do so, spokesperson Robert Austin tells us.

Between the lines: At-large Denver Council Member Sarah Parady briefly acknowledged the situation during the council's meeting on Oct. 16.

  • Parady tells us she's contacted federal officials to ensure international law is followed, to press for a ceasefire and for a safe return of all hostages.

Zoom out: Complications of addressing the Israel-Hamas war are also playing out in city halls across the country.

  • In Chicago, for example, council members and the city's lone Jewish alderperson clashed over the wording of a draft resolution standing behind Israel, Axios Chicago's Justin Kaufmann reports.
  • In Tampa Bay, demonstrators have expressed frustration at city council members over their "unbalanced" support after they issued a proclamation backing Israel "as it defends itself," Axios Tampa Bay's Kathryn Varn writes.

Go deeper: Liberals split on Israel-Hamas war

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