Duluth City Council votes against resolution to call for Gaza ceasefire

The Duluth City Council voted against a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza amidst the Israel-Hamas war on Monday evening, March 25.

The resolution failed in a 5 to 4 vote.

As written, the purpose of the resolution was “to support a permanent ceasefire to prevent loss of human life in the Middle East and support the provision of humanitarian aid.”

Prior to the councils vote, a full house of community members shared their thoughts on the resolution. A large showing spoke in favor of the resolution.

“I’m Jewish and I was raised in a strongly Zionist environment and I was raised with certain cherished beliefs about the state of Israel,” explained Joel Sipress, “I was raised to believe that in a world where it is unsafe to be Jewish, and it is a world where it is unsafe to be Jewish, that a Jewish state was necessary for my safety and security. I was raised to believe that questioning or criticizing the state of Israel and its policies put Jews at risk. But over the years, as I came to a deeper and better understanding of the history of Israel and Palestine, I had to change my views and I had to change my beliefs and it was difficult and it was sometimes painful and it was sometimes even scary for me, but I had to change and we have to change.”

Cory Maria Dack was another of many speaking in favor of the resolution.

“I looked to my community leaders and our elected public officials, and I asked myself, do they stand for justice? Do they protect all people? Can they do the bare minimum in the face of a genocide and call for a ceasefire?,” asked Dack. “If we do the right thing here tonight, I will know through the call for a ceasefire that it is really safe for me and other people of color to raise our children in Duluth.”

Others spoke in opposition of the resolution. One specifically cited the city charter, “I’m confident you do not have authority to make this resolution. Your authority relies in the physical boundaries of the city of Duluth. Police power and authority resides with federal officials.”

Duluth Citizen Michael Grossman stated that he believed the city should focus on city issues.

“Nothing that happens in Israel or Gaza will affect whether the snow gets plowed tomorrow, that lead gets out of Duluth pipes or my property tax rate,” said Grossman.

The resolution was discussed for more than 3 and half hours before the vote.