Supporters of Palestinians in Gaza took over the Tuesday, Dec. 5 meeting of the Greensboro City Council.
The first council meeting of the month is primarily devoted to a public forum, also called speakers from the floor on non-agenda items. It is the only City Council meeting of the month where the public is invited to speak on the topic of their own choosing.
At the Dec. 5 meeting, 47 people signed up to speak and all but a few of them were there to ask the City Council to pass a resolution in support of a ceasefire in Gaza.
Many of the speakers accused Israel of “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” and spoke of the horrible living conditions in Gaza where people are living without clean water, adequate food or medical care.
After listening to all the speakers, Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter said, “I know that our City Council cannot sway the minds of governments, that is the unfortunate part of this. But I have already spoken to several of my councilmembers and we are going to work on some kind of draft to address this situation. Unfortunately, I don’t know if our request for a ceasefire will work. However, I am willing to draft one and I would like to read what I would like to consider.”
Abuzuaiter continued, “I would first like to mention something about family. We’ve all spoken about family but I want to tell you about our family.”
She talked about her husband’s family that lives in Gaza and listed them by name and age from 99 to six months. She said the family was split, with half going south in an attempt to survive.
Abuzuaiter said, “But I’m going to present a draft to my fellow councilmembers and do hope that we all come together, and yes we need our Jewish friends to assist us as well.”
Councilmember Hugh Holston said he would support the resolution.
Councilmember Goldie Well said, “We feel your pain, but we represent all the people of Greensboro. We have just as many people probably on the other side as on your side.”
Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann said, “I really wasn’t going to comment tonight, and I do appreciate those who came to speak to us, but I want to talk about my personal situation too.”
Hoffmann noted that her husband was one of the few in his family that survived the Holocaust in Austria.
Hoffmann said, “The Jewish people deserve to be safe in Israel and what we saw happen several months ago was really the worst atrocity against Jews that we’ve seen since the period of the Holocaust in the ’40s. War is horrible and it harms mostly innocent civilians, and that is the worst aspect of it.”