East Lansing Human Rights Commission continues campaign for ceasefire resolution
Officials in East Lansing may rewrite a symbolic call for a ceasefire in Gaza to get the City Council to approve it.
Last year, the city’s Human Rights Commission drafted a ceasefire resolution condemning Israel’s military campaign in the Palestinian territory and asked the City Council to approve it. The board voted against the resolution earlier this month, after some officials argued it was not the council's place to weigh in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Other city officials disagree. East Lansing Human Rights Commission Vice Chair Karen Hoene says the war in Gaza is impacting local community members.
“I do think that local governments have a role to play in the geopolitical world,” said Hoene. “And part of what we were asking is for them to reach out and lobby our elected officials that actually do have power to do something.”
Hoene, who is Jewish, says she is one of many Jewish community members advocating on behalf of the ceasefire resolution.
"In terms of continuing to create unity and not further divisions, it's important for people to know that," she added.
Some East Lansing councilmembers feel that the resolution's language as drafted is not neutral enough.
“That does not mean that I can’t support a resolution asking for a ceasefire or asking for our federal and state government to ask for a ceasefire in that area without pointing any fingers at either side,” Councilmember Mark Meadows said at the time. “It doesn’t mean that I don’t think that we should work on something that we can all agree on.”
But Hoene says those concerns could have been discussed ahead of the vote as the commission sought input.
“They had plenty of time to read it," Hoene said. "They literally did not even respond."
Hoene said she’s hoping councilmembers like Meadows and Kerry Ebersole Singh will reach back out to the Human Rights Commission to discuss a rewrite of the resolution. If that does not happen, Hoene would like the commission to pass the ceasefire resolution on its own during its next meeting on Feb. 1.