Boston's stories of justice, hope and resilience

The Scope

Boston's stories of justice, hope and resilience

The Scope

Boston's stories of justice, hope and resilience

The Scope

City Council considers resolutions for Israel-Hamas conflict

Two resolutions were proposed; both will be debated further in committee.
Photo: Ben Crawley
Boston, MA – Oct. 25, 2023: Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson spoke passionately about the conflict in Gaza at the Oct. 25 City Council meeting.

Boston’s City Council met on October 18 to authorize spending from the Mayor’s office, as well as to discuss the adoption of several resolutions – of which many were approved by consent – and committee reports. 

The council meeting preceded a protest by IfNotNow, a Jewish advocacy group pushing for Senator Elizabeth Warren to join calls for a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza. The Boston Globe reported a heavy police presence – including barricades – outside of City Hall before the council meeting in preparation to the protest. One protester was arrested inside the building during the demonstration later that day.

Conflicting Resolutions Ignite Divisions Among councilors in response to Israel-Palestine Conflict 

Two resolutions were introduced on Wednesday regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict. Councilor Michael Flaherty offered the first resolution in support of the state of Israel and the Israeli people as well as innocent Palestinians affected by the terrorist attack of Hamas. 

Flaherty said his resolution is “focusing strictly on the terrorist attacks on Hamas and what took place last week, condemning that as a body and supporting our allies.” 

Councilor Julia Mejia was the first to comment on the resolution. In her address, she asked the chamber to be consistent with the resolutions considers, referencing a similar discussion about Cuba held in the council meeting earlier this year. Mejia added that in her view, the council should stick to city business before suggesting that the resolution be referred to committee and opened to a public hearing. 

For his part, Councilor Frank Baker urged the council to condemn Hamas, emphasizing his support for the state of Israel and the Israeli people. He asserted that “standing with Israel is not against the Palestinian people but it is against Hamas.” 

Councilor Gabriela Coletta highlighted the nuances of the conversation and asked that the resolution go to committee, while Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson offered a second resolution calling for immediate deescalation and ceasefire in Israel and occupied Palestine, co-sponsored by Mejia. The resolution also supports the current efforts by members of Congress calling for a ceasefire in the region. Fernandes Anderson joined Mejia in calling out their colleagues for hypocrisy on bringing an international issue to the floor for debate in a city council meeting. 

“They are playing these political games because they know it’s campaign season,” Fernandes Anderson said. “It’s horrible, let’s just focus on the good we can do.” 

Mejia supported this particular resolution because of the emphasis on condemning violence and supporting peace. 

Both resolutions were referred to the Committee of the Whole for further debate. Should they be adopted, these statements will point to the City Council’s overall position on an ongoing and international conflict. These resolutions do not have a direct foreign policy influence.

Appropriation Approvals by the City Council

The City Council also approved some funding requests from the Mayor’s office during last Wednesday’s weekly meeting. The requests ranged from public safety and family engagement. The appropriations include the acceptance of a grant from the United States Department of Justice supporting the purchase of SafetyNet tracking for 275 families of individuals with dementia or other disabilities who tend to wander. The council also authorized the city to accept and use a donation from Northeastern University which would support the Mayor’s Office of Early Childhood’s family engagement program. 

All appropriations passed can be found online here.

Boston’s City Council meets every Wednesday. Meetings are open to the public and are streamed for free online.

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