The City Council during a five-hour meeting held virtually on Tuesday approved two resolutions that I cosponsored, which resulted from the Israel-Hamas war. The resolutions were supported by every councilor except Quaverly Rothenberg of Ward 3 who abstained from voting.

City Council President Alex Jarrett of Ward 5, Vice President Rachel Maiore of Ward 7 and Deborah Pastrich-Klemer of Ward 2 also sponsored the resolutions supporting our Jewish, Muslim, Arab, Israeli and Palestinian community members, and calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The resolution condemning acts of hate “calls on all elected officials, faith leaders and other civic leaders to stand in solidarity with our Jewish, Muslim, Arab, Israeli and Palestinian family, friends, neighbors and community members, reject inflammatory, threatening and violent language of all kinds, condemn and combat all manifestations of antisemitic, Islamophobic and anti-Arab actions, and affirm the rightful existence of all historically marginalized groups.”

It adds “that the City of Northampton seeks to educate its residents about these acts of hate through public events, workshops, school curricula, and other suitable means, with the goal of making them more knowledgeable about antisemitism, Islamophobia and anti-Arab acts of hate and how they connect to racism and other forms of hate.”

In my remarks supporting the resolution, I said it resulted from an increasing number of incidents during the past five months since the start of the Israel-Hamas war that have made many people feel unsafe in our community. Whether these antisemitic, Islamophobic or anti-Arab threats are directed at places of worship, schools, community centers or a single individual, such acts of hatred are reprehensible, morally indefensible and cannot be tolerated in our community.

My hope is that in addition to condemning them, focusing attention on these acts of hate will lead to a greater understanding of the pain felt by many in the community and help provide opportunities for education and a pathway to healing.

The full resolution is available here:

The cease-fire resolution states “that the Northampton City Council calls for an immediate, enduring and permanent ceasefire by both sides, suspension of unrestricted military aid from the United States, the provision of unrestricted, life-saving humanitarian aid in Gaza, and the release of all hostages taken by Hamas and Palestinian political detainees, and urges the Biden administration, U.S. Senate and House to work toward those goals.”

It adds “that we extend our support to all the broken-hearted and vulnerable members of our Northampton community who are affected by this ongoing crisis, reaffirm our commitment to the safety of all members of our community, and pledge to join with others seeking just and peaceful solutions, and encourage school, community, and religious leaders to work together on increased education and understanding within the Northampton community about the roots and consequences of this conflict.”:

In my remarks supporting the resolution, I thanked community members who shared very personal stories about how the war affected them, including accounts of relatives and friends killed in Israel and Gaza. Although it’s been difficult to read and hear those stories, they helped inform my reaction as a human being to the horrific violence, and convinced me that, as a city councilor and a leader in the community, I had to act.

Ward 4 Councilor Jeremy Dubs withdrew a third resolution that he had sponsored, saying that it largely duplicated the ceasefire resolution that was approved.

Northampton is the first community in western Massachusetts to adopt a ceasefire resolution. Earlier this year, city councils in Cambridge, Somerville and Medford approved similar resolutions.

The full resolution is available here: