Chicago becomes latest US city to call for cease-fire in Israel-Hamas war

CHICAGO– The Chicago City Council on Wednesday narrowly approved a resolution calling for a permanent ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas, with Mayor Brandon Johnson casting the deciding vote.

The symbolic declaration in the country’s third-largest city follows weeks of rowdy public gatherings with disruptions by protesters, including on Wednesday when things got so rowdy that the first-term mayor had to temporarily clear the council chambers. The resolution, which was approved 24 out of 23, includes a call for humanitarian aid and the release of all hostages. Supporters in the rooms included the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Chicago is the latest U.S. city to pass such a non-binding resolution, following Atlanta, Detroit and San Francisco in recent months.

“Do I believe that the words we speak today, how we vote today, directly influence international policy? Not me. I have no such illusions,” says councilor Daniel La Spata, one of the initiators of the resolution. “But we vote with hope. We vote in solidarity. We vote to help people feel heard in a world of silence.”

The ordinance remained largely unchanged in recent months, despite pushes from the council’s only Jewish member, Councilwoman Debra Silverstein, who sought greater support for Israel and criticism of Hamas.

“We all want an end to the bloodshed and an end to the war. But it is vital to understand what caused the conflict, and we must adopt a resolution that addresses the issue responsibly,” she said at the meeting. “We must not adopt a resolution unless it makes it clear that Hamas cannot and must not attack again.”

The war began when Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking about 250 hostages. Since then, Israeli attacks have killed more than 26,000 Palestinians and driven nearly 2 million others from their homes.