Tensions rise at Chicago City Council meeting during Holocaust Remembrance Day resolution

Craig Wall Image
Thursday, January 25, 2024
Tensions rise at during city council Holocaust remembrance resolution
A Chicago alderwoman said tensions rose as Pro-Palestinian supporters disrupted a city council meeting during a Holocaust Remembrance Day resolution.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A controversial resolution supporting a cease fire in the war between Israel and Hamas caused more division in the Chicago City Council Wednesday, even though it never came up for a vote.

The debate was sparked during a resolution supporting Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"January 27th will mark 79 years since the liberation of Auschwitz," 50th Ward Ald. Debra Silverstein said.

The council took up the resolution to remember the Holocaust and to honor those who stood up to the Nazis.

However, the war in the Middle East sparked by the Oct. 7th Hamas attack and Israel's subsequent retaliation in Gaza is still causing deep divisions in the city council.

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"To join together around the globe with one voice and say never again. Never again," Silverstein said.

Pro-Palestinian supporters in third floor gallery and down below booed those supporting Israel.

"And as you see individuals twisting words and narratives and playing the victim when they are the aggressor," Ald. Ray Lopez said.

Tensions rose between council members on both sides.

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"With such atrocities and war crimes are committed, I do think that the council should have a little more... some members of the council should have a little more empathy," Ald. Bryon Sigcho-Lopez said.

Alderwoman Rosanna Rodriguez Sanchez, who sponsored the cease fire resolution, said while she supports Silverstein in remembering the Holocaust, she could not be in chambers during discussion. Her seat was noticeably empty during Wednesday's meeting.

"We see what's happening in Gaza," Rodriguez Sanchez said. "It's really hard to process. I'm somebody that absorbs intense moments, and when I get emotional, I prefer to leave the chamber."

Ald. Silverstein was disappointed by what she called a lack of respect and decorum during discussion of her resolution.

"I can tell you that the people that we had on the box today for Holocaust Memorial Day were quite shaken by what happened here," Silverstein said.

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Mayor Brandon Johnson, who supported the original resolution condemning the Hamas attacks, said he now supports the cease fire resolution, which is expected to be introduced at next week's city council meeting.