A resolution calling for a "sustained cease-fire" in the Israel-Hamas war and the release of hostages in Gaza was introduced Tuesday at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, drawing hundreds of demonstrators who showed up to speak out about the conflict.
The resolution, which follows other statements about the war in neighboring cities, had already sparked debate, apprehension and public demonstrations outside City Hall before it was officially introduced Tuesday.
Holding Palestinian flags and signs, scores of residents formed a long line, which stretched outside City Hall and around the block, to speak in support of the cease-fire resolution.
Ahead of Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center and other groups supporting a cease-fire rallied supporters to speak in support of Supervisor Dean Preston's resolution.
Alia Salem, a Muslim woman who lives in the Bay Area, said she supports the cease-fire resolution because it is paramount to end the “genocide and murder" of Palestinians. She also praised the “humanitarian aspect” of its language.
“It’s not an issue of religion,” Salem said. “The resolution speaks to that, that all lives are precious.”
The language of similar cease-fire resolutions has been subject to heavy scrutiny. In Oakland, for example, a national backlash ensued after councilmembers who passed a cease-fire resolution declined to include language condemning Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which killed roughly 1,200 people and spurred a punishing counteroffensive.
More than 15,900 Palestinians have been killed since the outbreak of the war, according to Reuters, citing numbers from the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Before introducing the resolution, Preston circulated a draft—which was received cautiously, according to some of his colleagues. The version he introduced for Tuesday's meeting condemns antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry and calls for a surge in humanitarian aid, in addition to a "sustained" cease-fire.
The Jewish Community Relations Council advised members not to attend the board meeting, citing "public safety concerns" that arose at an Oakland City Council meeting last week, when members passed a cease-fire resolution after hours of charged and, at times, inflammatory public comments.
Across from City Hall, supporters of Israel held a vigil for Israeli hostages held in Gaza. Officials present said they did not support the resolution being introduced Tuesday.
“Those who call for a cease-fire but don’t condemn Hamas should be ashamed of themselves,” said Jonathan Singer, a Rabbi at Congregation Emanu-El.
Singer went on to call for a thriving Jewish state with “Arab states around it as well.”
State Sen. Scott Wiener said he did not support the resolution going before supervisors Tuesday and said he was concerned about antisemitic language surfacing during public comment about the resolution.
Wiener, who is Jewish, also said a resolution that does not condemn Hamas is insufficient, saying that any possibility of peace in Israel while Hamas is in power in Gaza is “an illusion.”
“We all want an end to hostilities,” Wiener said. “But a resolution needs to include that Hamas cannot rule Gaza.”
Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who was also present at the vigil, said the board has other priorities it should be focusing on rather than a cease-fire resolution, including the city’s twin crises of homelessness and mental health struggles, as well as property crime.
“We should stay in our lane,” Mandelman said.