The Chicago City Council on Friday passed a resolution during a special meeting to show solidarity with Israel that saw pro-Palestinian protesters removed from the chambers as tensions flared over events happening thousands of miles away.
The measure was passed in a voice vote with no official tally taken following nearly three hours of a sometimes heated debate. Under the Israel Solidarity Resolution, the city will “condemn this heinous terrorist attack by Hamas, stand in support of Israel, express our deepest sorrow for all innocent civilians, and pray for the safe release of all the hostages taken into Gaza.”
Supporters of the Palestinians were at City Hall protesting against the measure, calling it “Anti-Palestinian.” They had planned to “flood city hall” with hopes of blocking the show of support to Israel.
The vote came as Israel continues its military offensive against the Hamas terrorist group following the killing and kidnapping of Israeli civilians, including babies and young children, in communities near the Gaza Strip last week.
At one point, Mayor Brandon Johnson ordered the sergeant-at-arms to remove everyone on the second floor of the council chambers after the protesters kept interrupting the city clerk as she read the proposed resolution, FOX Chicago reported.
They began protesting in the lobby. Some protesters chanted, “Free, free Palestine.” At one point, when a person supporting Israel interrupted, the crowd began chanting, “Kick them out!” The council eventually took a five-minute break as the protesters were cleared out.
The resolution was proposed by Alderperson Debra Silverstein. During the debate, Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez stated her opposition to the measure.
“Although I wholeheartedly agree that the attacks from Hamas are brutal and that no one should be subjected to that violence, I also understand that the situation is more nuanced than what this resolution expresses,” he said.
During his remarks, Alderman Raymond Lopez assailed critics of Israel amid the deadly events perpetrated on its citizens.
“Too many in here and out have worked to manufacture a narrative and blame the victim of terror as being responsible for what has unfolded,” he said. “Would any of us… would try to legitimize attacks on our own country following 9/11? Would we have given excuse or safe harbor or an apology to Osama bin Laden for killing nearly 3,000 Americans?”
Several American cities have seen protests against Israel by pro-Palestinian supporters since the Oct. 7 attack. Instead of condemning Hamas, many have spoken out against Israel for military operations in besieged territory, citing civilian casualties.
Israel has stopped supplying the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip with electricity, food, water and fuel. On Thursday, Israel’s military told some 1 million people to evacuate to the southern part of Gaza ahead of an expected ground invasion.
Israel has long accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields. Hamas told Gazans to ignore the evacuation order.