SF: Don’t let Israel be the Exception in Condemning Violations of Human Rights!

On Tuesday June 15th, the city of San Francisco was asked to unite with the global community by passing a resolution condemning the Israeli Defense Forces’ military attack on the Freedom Flotilla in international waters. This attack led to the deaths of nine unarmed activists attempting to bring humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, who have been subject to an illegal blockade since 2007.

The laudable resolution condemning the attack is a logical extension of San Francisco’s tradition of taking a stance on issues of international justice. Even within the last two years, the Board of Supervisors passed resolutions on issues concerning Iran, Honduras, and Mexico.

However, despite this tradition and numerous citations of international law violations from community members, supervisor Bevan Dufty deferred this resolution to committee, before allowing other Supervisors to comment.

In the words of activist Amr Toppozada, ““It falls to local government to make the voice of the people heard in cases where national bodies are too slow, or too reluctant or too out of touch to lead.” It is only logical that it then falls on the people to make their own voices heard when the local bodies do not take a stance. Therefore, it is our job as citizens to do everything in our power to urge our Board of Supervisors to pass this crucial resolution.

In the days since the resolution was drafted, we have seen those opposed to this bill perpetuate racist stereotypes about the Arab community to further their political agenda. We have seen them use fear tactics to intimidate and even threaten the Board of Supervisors.  We cannot let their misguided voices prevail; San Francisco must continue to uphold its tradition of speaking truth to power in regards to human rights. By calling for this resolution, the residents of the San Francisco Bay Area are already sending a clear message to the international community that it is impermissible for Israel to collectively punish a people and take the lives of unarmed activists. Now, it is time for our local legislators to adopt that stance as well.