כ' שבט תשפ"ד
Chicago City Council
℅ Honorable Andrea Valencia, City Clerk
City Hall, 121 N. Lasalle St.
Chicago, Il 60602
Committee on Health and Human Relations
℅ Honorable Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez, Chair
121 North LaSalle Street, Room 300
Chicago, IL 60602
Honorable Mayor Brandon Johnson
121 N LaSalle Street
Chicago City Hall 4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60602
Dear Mayor Johnson and City Council members,
We are deeply troubled by the proposed Resolution SR2023-0006422 that is slated for consideration at Wednesday’s City Council Meeting. The resolution reflects a cynical misrepresentation of reality, virulent disregard for the safety and security of Israel and Jews worldwide, and support for continuing bloodshed and suffering.
On October 7th of last year Hamas, the ruling body of Gaza, decided to break the peace and attack Israel. The cruelty of that mass attack is unparalleled, including systematic rape and the indiscriminate barbaric slaughter of young and old alike, children and parents. Hundreds were taken hostage, including elderly holocaust survivors and infants, paraded before exultant masses in Gaza. The horrific atrocities were proudly recorded by the monsters that were feted for what they had done. Over 130 hostages remain in Gaza, and Israel continues to suffer consistent indiscriminate bombardment from Gaza of civilian centers. Groups aligned with Hamas, emboldened by their attacks, continue to attack Israel on multiple fronts, and their proxies similarly threaten to attack Jews worldwide, including us here in Chicago.
Israel, bleeding and traumatized, responded to the brutal attack with clarity of mission and clear calculation to accomplish two goals: save its hostages and ensure that Hamas can no longer attack its citizens. Israel military action is just and necessary, and their operations are guided by the legal and moral code that binds the IDF. Every IDF action is carefully considered, planned, guided and recorded, with intent to minimize collateral damage and harm.
War is horrible and while no one in Israel wants to continue the fighting, they are committed to fulfilling their responsibility and restoring peace. Hamas knowingly embeds its forces in civilian areas, with both willing and unwilling human shields. The human suffering in Gaza is horrific, and Hamas must be held accountable for what they have wrought. Israel is sacrificing greatly to ensure that the threat of Hamas is removed and that all people of the region can finally find peace. This resolution’s “call for and facilitate a lasting peace in Gaza” will only be realized when Israel’s brave soldiers finish the job before ending their operations.
Since the October 7th attack we here in Chicago are faced with the fear of endangerment due to our religious beliefs. Hamas openly states its goal of murdering Jews worldwide and intention to repeat their October 7th atrocities again and again. Anti Semitic incidents have proliferated around the world and the FBI has warned of unprecedented threats to our community. The holocaust was commemorated just last week, as we suddenly sense dread and fear that we once again face existential danger.
Any foray into addressing the current hostilities must be well informed, well reasoned and well intentioned; this resolution fails the test. The contention that “a lasting ceasefire is critical to the release of Israeli and Palestinian hostages”, for example, is empirically false, and conveniently references the lie of Palestinian hostages. The resolution is largely ahistorical, rife with partisan perversion, false moral relativism and parallelism, and it hijacks well-intentioned sentiments to support terror and advance evil.
America is currently mourning the death of US servicemen killed by proxies of Iran, the sponsors of Hamas and other aligned terrorists around the world. Iran-sponsored Houthi rebels are attacking Persian Gulf shipping and attacking our troops to push for Israel’s surrender. They are joined by the likes of Russia, China and North Korea. Does the Chicago City Council want to go on record joining this ignominious group?
This resolution cynically disguises a call for Israeli capitulation in the sheep’s clothing of a humanitarian call for ceasefire. It represents tacit support for Hamas and its supporters around the world, and here at home, and strengthens the forces of hate and evil that threaten us all. Should Israel lay down its arms and abandon its hard fought accomplishments, peace will remain elusive and suffering will only continue to plague the region.
This august body is charged to use its position to bind and to heal, not divide and foment friction amongst and between the citizens of our great city. This resolution calls for action that can only preserve hostility in the middle east, embolden terror around the world, and foment greater hate and violence here in Chicago. The day that Hamas returns the hostages, lays down its arms and finally shares a vision for peaceful coexistence, not a single shot will be fired. That is the only ceasefire that our city should be advocating.
Rabbi Alan M. Abramson, Congregation Anshe Motele
Rabbi Eitan Allen, Park Plaza
Rabbi Mendy Benhiyoun, Chabad of Lincoln Park
Rabbi Yechiel Bresler, Upward Community
Rabbi Yitzchak Broyde, Bais Medrash Torah Utfilah Ateres Shmuel
Rabbi Shlomo Crandall, Chai Lifeline Midwest
Rabbi Baruch Epstein, Bais Menachem Chabad Center
Rabbi Yitzchak Falk, Congregation Ezras Israel
Rabbi Yonaton Gold, Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago
Rabbi Noach Goldstein, Congregation K.I.N.S. of West Rogers Park
Rabbi Micah Greenland, NCSY
Rabbi Baruch Hertz, Congregation B'nei Ruven
Rabbi Jerold Isenberg, Religious Zionists of Chicago
Rabbi Avraham Kagan, Chabad River North & Fulton Market
Rabbi Moshe Katz, Congregation Shaarei Tzedek Mishkan Yair
Rabbi Dovid Kotlarsky - Chabad East Lakeview Community Center
Rabbi Asher Krupnick, Yeshivas Brisk
Rabbi Aaron Leibtag, Congregation K.I.N.S. of West Rogers Park
Rabbi Ariel Marinelli, Endeavor Health
Rabbi Leonard Matanky, Congregation K.I.N.S. of West Rogers Park
Rabbi Avrohom S. Moller, Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago
Rabbi Yosef Moscowitz, Bucktown Wicker Park Chabad Jewish Center
Rabbi Levi Mostofsky, Chicago Rabbinical Council
Rabbi Michael Myers, Ida Crown Jewish Academy
Rabbi Levi Notik, F.R.E.E. of Chicago
Rabbi Moshe B Perlstein, Yeshivas Ohr Eliyahu - Lubavitch Mesivta of Chicago
Rabbi Elisha Prero
Rabbi Eliyahu Rapoport, Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois
Rabbi Yona Reiss, Chicago Rabbinical Council
Rabbi David M. Rosenberg
Rabbi Eli Samber, Arie Crown Hebrew Day School
Rabbi Menachem Schechter, Yeshivas Ohr Eliyahu - Lubavitch Mesivta of Chicago
Rabbi Shmuel Schuman, Hebrew Theological College
Rabbi Bentzion Shemtov, Chabad of UIC and the West Loop
Aryeh Shulman, Kollel Ateres Ami
Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik, Congregation Beth Shalom Ahavas Achim
Rabbi Shlomo Tenenbaum, The ARK Chicago
Rabbi Choni Wineberg, Yeshivas Ohr Eliyahu, Lubavitch Mesivta of Chicago
Rabbi Aron Wolf, Chicago Mitzvah Campaign
Rabbi Yitzchok Wolf, Cheder Lubavitch Hebrew Day School
Rabbi Hertzel Hillel Yitzhak, The Sephardic Congregation
Rabbi Joshua Zisook, Hebrew Theological College