Speak to Council: Pass a Ceasefire Resolution!

Rochester Flower with Palestinian flag colors over Rochester Skyline. Title: Speak to Council: Pass a Ceasefire Resolution

The following remarks were made by ROC DSA members at Rochester City Council on January 18, 2024.

Ceasefire resolutions have been passed in cities across the U.S. including Cudahy, California; Long Beach, California; Oakland, California; Richmond, California; San Francisco, California; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Wilmington, Delaware; Atlanta, Georgia; Iowa City, Iowa; Portland, Maine; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Dearborn, Michigan; Dearborn Heights, Michigan; Detroit, Michigan; Hamtramck, Michigan; Ypsilanti, Michigan; Hastings, Minnesota; Albany, New York; Carrboro, North Carolina; Akron, Ohio; Talent, Oregon; Providence, Rhode Island; Bellingham, Washington; Olympia, Washington; Seattle, Washington; and Madison, Wisconsin. Others will certainly follow.

ROC DSA and its allies are encouraging City Council to add Rochester, New York to this growing list.

These Numbers Are Higher Now.

by Brent

Councilmembers, I am speaking to you today on the 104th day of just the latest phase of Israel’s brutal assault on the Palestinian people, which has been ongoing since the Nakba in 1948.

In just over 100 days, over 24,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been murdered by US supplied Hellfire missiles, 2,000-pound bombs, tanks, lack of medical care, and starvation. That’s more than one in one hundred Gazans. Imagine if more than 2,000 Rochester residents experienced this same fate. That is roughly the equivalent. Of these 24,000 dead, over 10,000 are children and as many as 7,000 people are still trapped under the rubble.

These numbers are higher now—I wrote this on Monday! Make no mistake, this is no war, this is a genocide. And it’s one that didn’t start on October 7th. But it’s one that we can stop NOW.

I’m calling on you to join over a dozen cities, including Detroit, Atlanta, San Francisco, and right here in New York, Albany—in passing a resolution calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire. You have the power to signal to President Biden, to Governor Hochul, and to Netanyahu himself, that Rochester doesn’t support this genocide. That the state of New York doesn’t support this genocide. That the American people don’t support this genocide.


* * *

Which Side Are You On?

by Gregory Lebens-Higgins

In the past 104 days, Israel has murdered more than 24,000 Palestinians at a rate of nearly 250 per day. Thousands more remain under the rubble or missing.

These numbers represent people. Individuals with hopes and dreams. Whole families wiped out. Generations scarred. Endless heartache.

Israeli leaders have not hidden their intentions. South Africa’s petition to the International Court of Justice cited numerous examples of Israeli officials calling for Gaza to be wiped out. And just today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed his opposition to the establishment of any future Palestinian state.

This atrocity is occurring with the tacit approval of the United States Government, which continues to supply weapons of genocide to Israel with no conditions regarding human rights or international law—a position upheld by 72 Senators this past Tuesday.

At the same time Washington is expanding the violence; bombing Yemen—among the poorest countries in the Middle East—without Congressional approval.


You may ask, “What am I to do? I’m not responsible for international affairs.”

To which I say: ALL elected leaders have a responsibility to use their platform to help us divert from this course of destruction.

We must acknowledge what is going on. We must demonstrate to Palestinian neighbors in our community that their lives matter. We must show the world that we do not condone the merciless actions of our leaders. And we must send a message to those leaders that they do not have our support.

Over the past 104 days we have heard calls for a ceasefire grow. In Rochester, each rally is larger than the last. As time goes on, and the full scope of horror unleashed on Palestinians becomes increasingly apparent, it is more and more obvious that we must do the right thing by pushing for an immediate end to the violence.

Which side are you on?

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