council call-off

New York City Council indefinitely delays vote on cease-fire resolution

Brooklyn Councilmember Kalman Yeger told JI that ‘good number of members think this resolution is a very bad idea’

Selcuk Acar/Anadolu via Getty Images

Speaker of the New York City Council Adrienne Adams speaks during the demonstration in front of City Hall on January 30, 2024.

A resolution that calls for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, initially scheduled to be introduced at a New York City Council legislative meeting on Thursday, was tabled this week due to internal and external pushback, multiple sources familiar with the council’s schedule told Jewish Insider

The cease-fire resolution calls for “release of hostages and uses Hamas’ casualty numbers,” a source close to the council who saw a copy of the draft told JI. “It also equivocates antisemitism the same as Islamophobia even though there’s a significant increase of antisemitism. It does not say that Hamas is responsible for Oct. 7… it did condemn the murder of 1,200 Israelis on Oct. 7,” the source said, adding that “a lot of people were behind the pushback.” 

The language of the cease-fire resolution, which was drawn up by Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, was not made public, “which is unheard of,” according to Councilmember Kalman Yeger, who serves Brooklyn’s heavily Orthodox Jewish District 44, which includes Borough Park and Midwood. Yeger, a Democrat, has not seen a draft of the resolution, which was first brought up and discussed at a Democratic conference earlier this month. “A good number of members think this resolution is a very bad idea,” he said of the 51-member chamber. 

At the same time, “there are four members agitating this in a real, public way,” a council source told JI, requesting to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter.

“Other people may feel that we should [call for a cease-fire], they may not care one way or the other or feel that if it comes up they need to vote for it or against it,” the source said. “They have never said a word about cease-fire when Hamas was raining daily missiles on Israel or about any other conflict.” 

The source noted that the council did not pass a resolution to condemn Hamas after the terror group infiltrated Israel on Oct. 7, taking some 250 hostages and killing more than 1,200 people. “This is the first thing that’s being said on it by the council,” the source said, adding that the reason for the vote’s delay has not been disclosed.

Inna Vernikov, a Republican Jewish councilmember who represents District 48 in Brooklyn, told JI that the resolution was held back due to “political pressure.” 

“I have no doubt that they will find a way to push it through eventually,” said Vernikov, whose district includes the Russian-speaking neighborhoods of Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay.

A source familiar with the matter told JI that multiple Democratic officials had “reached out to Speaker Adams urging her to change course” on the resolution, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

Representatives for Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul also engaged to express concern from constituents “on the process the council was taking,” according to the source. Many Democrats “were sounding the alarm that the process itself was flawed.”

On Sunday, more than 80% of the Association of Legislative Employees, the New York City Council union, which is America’s largest legislative staff union, voted in favor of a cease-fire in Gaza and for divestment from all Israel bonds, through a push organized by City Workers for Palestine. 

If New York City does pass a resolution calling for a cease-fire, it would become the largest city in the U.S. to do so. More than 100 cities and municipalities nationwide have passed such measures since Oct. 7, including Chicago and San Francisco.

JI’s senior features reporter Matthew Kassel contributed to this report.

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