Following Oakland City Council’s lead in approving a resolution for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza on November 27, activists from across the Bay Area on December 5 mobilized to attend public meetings in an effort to encourage local city and county governments to adopt similar resolutions at their next meeting.
The call to action was made by the Council on American-Islamic-Relations (CAIR-SFBA) who according to their news release urged residents of six cities to attend meetings to voice their support, while commended San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston who introduced a Gaza ceasefire resolution there. They said Preston’s resolution will “include a call for a sustained ceasefire, humanitarian aid, the release of hostages, and condemning antisemitism and Islamophobia.”
The Board of Supervisors in both San Francisco and Marin County along with city council meetings in Alameda, Berkeley, Hayward and San Jose today heard from both supporters of the Israeli war in Gaza who presented counter arguments against such resolutions and pro-ceasefire advocates who spoke of their concerns for resolutions in ending the human tragedy unfolding in Gaza.
At the Marin County Board of Supervisors meeting, one pro-Israeli speaker questioned why a local governing board should be involved in international politics and American foreign policy. The answer to which was addressed by CAIR-SFBA Executive Director Zahra Billoo who in an earlier news release was quoted as saying: “While some may question the value of local governments weighing in on international conflicts, resolutions like this communicate very strongly that ‘We see you. We care about this also.’ It is also an important way for communities and local legislators to articulate that U.S. funding should be focused in the U.S. We don’t have money for schools or homes but are sending billions of dollars to Israel.”
Another speaker in Marin pointed at a group of young activists lecturing them on a sign they held at the back of the room reading “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” calling it antisemitic by saying that it calls for the destruction of Israel. This while Israel has stated that it will destroy Hamas and in so doing is destroying Gaza and thousands of Palestinian lives in that effort.
Another speaker, a woman who identified herself as a lifelong Jewish activist, urged the Marin County board to adopt a resolution and later showed this reporter a photo of her adopted Palestinian daughter in Gaza.
Fatima Hansia who spoke via the internet asked a simple question, “When is enough? How much – How many Palestinian deaths?” This while in Gaza the death toll has reached 16,000 people.
The objective of such resolutions according to CAIR is in showing “their solidarity with the Palestinian people, convey concern and heartache for Palestinians living under constant peril, share personal stories that humanize the profound loss experienced by the San Francisco Palestinian-American community and its toll on them.” And to “Express deep concern for the rise in racist and Islamophobic attacks happening across the Bay Area.” While sending “a message to our local members of Congress that they demand support for a permanent ceasefire now and to end the unfettered U.S. aid for Israel’s military that has terrorized Palestinians for decades.”
(This article has appeared in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and Nuzeink)
Phil Pasquini is a freelance journalist and photographer. His reports and photographs appear in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Pakistan Link and Nuze.ink. He is the author of Domes, Arches and Minarets: A History of Islamic-Inspired Buildings in America.
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