CHICAGO — A vote on a Chicago City Council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza set for Wednesday will be postponed after a group of 28 aldermen petitioned for a delay, according to the measure’s sponsors.
The aldermen calling for the delay, led by Ald. Debra Silverstein, 50th, pointed last week to a council vote set for this week on a resolution commemorating 79 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp. They cited sensitivity concerns as they asked for the cease-fire vote to be put off for a month.
Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez, a lead sponsor of the cease-fire resolution, plans to use a procedural move Wednesday to table it. The Northwest Side alderman expects the vote will be rescheduled for a new City Council meeting in the next few weeks, she told the Tribune Monday.
“We absolutely want to be sensitive to our Holocaust survivors,” Rodriguez-Sanchez said. “But I don’t think talking about the pain that Palestinians are suffering right now and the huge loss of life … I don’t think that is insensitive.”
The delay marks further struggle over where Chicago should place its symbolic support as the war in Gaza continues.
The war began with Hamas’ attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7, when the group killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took about 250 hostages back to Gaza. Since the war started, over 25,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, while nearly 63,000 have been wounded, according to the Gaza-based Ministry of Health.
Days after the initial Hamas attack, the City Council passed a resolution sponsored by Silverstein, the council’s lone Jewish member, supporting Israel during an emotional and often unruly special meeting. Silverstein and others condemned democratic socialist colleagues, including Rodriguez-Sanchez, who wanted the resolution to highlight Israel’s role in the ongoing conflict as pro-Gaza protesters chanted.
The council’s Human Relations Committee, which Rodriguez-Sanchez chairs, last month passed the cease-fire resolution originally penned by Ald. Daniel La Spata, 1st.
At the time, the Jewish Community Relations Council and Anti-Defamation League Midwest described the resolution as “misguided ... reckless, irresponsible and dangerous,” for failing to describe Hamas as “a genocidal terrorist organization.” The resolution has since been updated to more directly call for the release of Israeli hostages being held by Hamas as it demands a cease-fire and humanitarian aid.
While Rodriguez-Sanchez doesn’t believe holding a vote on a cease-fire resolution close to International Holocaust Remembrance Day would be insensitive, she hopes accommodating the delay requests will garner more support.
Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration is working with her to schedule a vote on the resolution at a new City Council meeting that would occur before the council’s next currently scheduled meeting, Rodriguez-Sanchez said. Several aldermen who signed the petition calling for a delay have told her they will support the cease-fire resolution, she added.
It is urgent that the council passes the resolution to support the city’s Palestinian population, among the largest in the country, as civilian deaths rise in Gaza, Rodriguez-Sanchez said.
“The idea that we can ignore the people that live around us, the people that are a part of the fabric of our community and their pain, is just unthinkable to me,” she said. “We should always show solidarity with people who are suffering.”