The Jersey City Council heard more calls for a resolution supporting a Gaza ceasefire at last night’s meeting, one day after the Union City Board of Commissioners approved one.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
“Are we gonna call for a ceasefire?” Cameron Orr asked, to which Council President Joyce Watterman just said “thank you” at the conclusion of his remarks during another lengthy public portion.
Mo Hamzeh said the war has been difficult for pregnant women in Gaza, as well as that many people still unjustly blame Palestinians for the conflict in the Middle East.
“There is now a significant increase in miscarriages. You’re about to hear from a bunch of dehumanizing hypocrites that are here today asking for the release of their hostages without a mention of the over 10,000 Palestinian hostages being held,” Hamzeh asserted.
“If you’re able to do this simple gesture due to pressure from a group of people that think Palestinians are subhuman, specifically those that contribute to some of your campaigns, then you are a failure of a human being. It’s time for you to swallow your pride and push these lying Zionists aside.”
Meera Jeffrey, who is affiliated with the Ceasefire JC group, also said the time to pass a resolution is long overdue.
“I am Jewish, and my family is Israeli, and I am begging you to pass the ceasefire. Since I came here last time, hundreds of Palestinians have been killed, and possibly more of the hostages are dead.”
Justin Rivera said that despite several protests/rallies, Jersey City’s elected leaders continue not to hear their voices.
“We have marched, rallied, called, and protested for Palestine against the hyper-violent Zionist regime, against our corrupt government. We, the People, have done our part.”
Julie Monge criticized the Holocaust memorial and Egyptian flag raising and lack of response to the war.
“You have no regard for Arabs or humanity whatsoever,” she exclaimed.
“It is not too late for Jersey City to add its voice. What you do here has an impact on federal legislators and the White House. This should not be political. Reconsider passing a permanent ceasefire resolution,” said Steven Marlow, of NJ Peace Action.
“I’m not sure who you really are. To not call for a permanent ceasefire at this point is something I hope to never understand. Innocent people have been dying for months because we live in a corrupted world,” stated Dania McBain.
Jenny Brover said she was there to speak out against anti-Semitism.
“I’m here to speak out against anti-Semitism. I actually believe most people who call for a ceasefire are coming from a place of empathy. But the rhetoric is dangerously crossing a line,” she said, claiming that such things had been applauded in council chambers in recent weeks.
“Long live the intifada is a call to harm. The term ‘Zionism is terrorism’ denies Jews the right to self-determination.”
Still, the vast majority of speakers on this topic wanted a measure on an agenda approved immediately.
“I’m here to ask you for a ceasefire. We have witnessed over a thousand civilian deaths … Stop funding bombs over there,” Rebecca Fisher said.
Still, Eyal Menashe did not want them to pass a ceasefire resolution, acknowledging that other cities across the country had done them and it did not do accomplish anything.
“It’s not helping the Palestinians. It’s harming our local community. It didn’t make them reconsider their actions,” he argued.
Jim Legge sought to tie February being Black History Month to the issue in the Middle East.
“Both the African American community and the Palestinians have been described as subhumans. This is a big issue. Mayor Fulop is a racist. He does not like Palestinian people. Being anti-Zionist is not anti-Semitic” he argued.
Ward D Jersey City Councilman Yousef Saleh, who is Palestinian, addressed some of the tensions in the room.
“Regarding the Palestinian flag raising, the flyer was sent to my office October 6th. And then October 7th happened. It wasn’t Steven Fulop’s call to postpone it. It was mine. He is not a racist,” Saleh explained.
“He has actually shown a great deal of empathy and support for me personally,” adding that some of his family had died in the conflict in the Middle East.
He also assured everyone that the flag raising would happen this year, as well as that Holocaust Remembrance Day in January is a United Nations-recognized day of observance.
“Steven Fulop has not been racist with me. It’s an interesting friendship. He was even warmer to me after everything that has happened, and he’s been very brotherly to me,” he said to applause.
The council took no formal action, as the ceasefire resolution was not on Wednesday evening’s agenda.