Chicago passes Gaza ceasefire resolution, sparking concerns of increased anti-Semitism

Just hours after a divided Chicago City Council passed a symbolic ceasefire resolution between Israel and Hamas, there was growing concern that the political action could lead to an upswing in anti-Semitism.

Alderwoman Debra Silverstein faced hecklers on Wednesday as she argued for the City Council to reject what she described as a lopsided ceasefire resolution between Israel and Hamas. Despite opposition, the resolution passed by a single vote, thanks to Mayor Brandon Johnson.

The U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) says Chicago is the largest city in the country to pass a ceasefire resolution.

The resolution, known as "Uniting for Peace," was introduced by Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) and Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd). It is modeled after one put out by the United Nations General Assembly last month.

In addition to calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, the resolution seeks "the unconditional release of all hostages and ensuring humanitarian access."

Now, the Israeli Consulate of Chicago is condemning the resolution, characterizing it as out of touch with the country.

"This resolution goes against the position of the Biden administration, the International Court of Justice, and the overwhelming majority of the American people," said Yinam Cohen, Consul General of Israel to the Midwest.

Cook County is home to more Palestinians than any other county in the nation. As news of the council's ceasefire resolution broke, Palestinians in the area celebrated.

"The Chicagoland area has one of the largest Palestinian American populations, and it is just so tragic to think that it has taken four months for our City Council to call for a ceasefire," said Worwood Shouli.

The Jewish community is now expressing concern that the recent spate of anti-Semitism could worsen in the wake of the City Council's vote.

"This resolution doesn't make us anti-Semitic. In fact, we are saying we value life, and the ceasefire is absolutely necessary," said Alderwoman Jessica Fuentes.

Consul General Cohen added, "I heard anti-Semitic slurs today at the City Council meeting, and my concern is that it will continue to rise after this resolution."

Cohen expressed disappointment that Mayor Johnson cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the measure.

The Illinois Republican Party issued a statement on the City Council's decision, shared below:

"Democrats in Chicago and across the state would rather engage in posturing theatrics than take action to protect our citizens. Today's vote is not only a slap in the face to the hostages held at the hands of terrorists abroad, but sends a clear message that the City Council and Chicago Democrats would rather do anything except their jobs. Much like Nero, Chicagoans are dying due lax criminal prosecution backed by Brandon Johnson and JB Pritzker. Migrants are overrunning Chicago due to inconsistent, dysfunctional responses from the city and state. Chicago Public Schools are failing and about to become less safe if Johnson succeeds in removing police officers from schools. 

Democrats would rather waste time virtue signaling about a conflict half a world away than do the hard work of governing for the common good."

On Tuesday, Chicago Public Schools students staged a walkout in solidarity with Palestine outside City Hall.

Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel that sparked the war killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and about 250 people were taken hostage, according to Israeli authorities.