By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
The primary argument of the members opposing the measure — Jack Weiss and Wendy Greuel particularly — was that the council was not elected to pass resolutions on foreign policy, where it has neither standing nor expertise, especially when so much city business has gone undone. Whatever one makes of this argument, it is particularly hard to square with a resolution Weiss introduced last April, with support from (among others) Greuel, Denny Zine and Alex Padilla — the four members who voted against Garcetti’s resolution last Friday.
The Weiss resolution, titled “End Violence in the Middle East,” notes the historical and ongoing raison d’être for the state of Israel, condemns the acts of terrorism there, calls on the U.S. to stand in solidarity with the people of Israel and to renew our commitment to “the peace process pursued by our respective governments,” and urges Yasir Arafat to use his influence to bring violence in the Middle East to a halt. It is a nuanced resolution, though it might have acknowledged that the peace process pursued by the Bush and Sharon governments is not visible to the naked eye, that solidarity with Israelis need not preclude solidarity with Palestinians, and that Arafat is not the only head of government in Palestine and Israel who needs to be pressured to stop the cycle of violence.
As Weiss sees it, “It is one thing for the City Council to stand in solidarity with a people who have been subjected to a level of terrorist attacks that Americans can only imagine, and another thing to weigh in on the most complex issue in the entire country and to pretend to have lots of clarity on it.” In actuality, however, Weiss’ resolution articulates a politically specific way to stand in solidarity with Israelis; my modest list of alternatives would have been a statement of a somewhat different kind of solidarity. Where Weiss sees only clarity, I see complexity.
In opposing the Garcetti resolution, Weiss went on, “I was objecting that only one moral dimension of the issue was being expressed. And that’s not the case; there is a moral dimension on the other side we should be mindful of.” On that, I agree with Weiss, and I feel the same way about his own Israeli solidarity resolution. Where I disagree is with Weiss’ contention that only one of these resolutions plunges the City Council into murky depths that are tricky to navigate. I think they both do, but that’s no reason why the council — most certainly at a moment of moral and political urgency — isn’t obliged to find its way to shore.
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