With unease, Anchorage Assembly calls for Israel-Hamas cease-fire

the corner of the City Hall building
Anchorage City Hall on Dec. 8, 2020 (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

The Anchorage Assembly is now on the record asking Alaska’s congressional delegation to support negotiations for a cease-fire and lasting peace in the Israel-Hamas conflict. 

The Assembly passed a resolution Tuesday night to that effect in an 8-4 vote, just a week after deciding not to vote on a similar measure.

Members wrestled with trying to satisfy outcry from constituents to weigh in on the emotionally charged conflict that they have little expertise or influence on. 

Member Kevin Cross voted no. 

“How arrogant do I have to be to think that the people in Gaza or Israel care what an overweight white guy in Alaska has to say about their plight?” he said. “Our house is on fire, we’re choking on our own smoke and we’re virtue signaling to the rest of the world what they should be doing. I’m just, like — I don’t have enough problems, looking out in the street and seeing our homeless people freezing to death?” 

Members Scott Myers, Meg Zaletel and Randy Sulte also voted no.

Activists with the Party for Socialism and Liberation Anchorage have protested and lobbied the Assembly for several months to call for a cease-fire. Its members were not happy with the rewritten measure the Assembly adopted, which included assertions of Israel’s rights, and the U.S. State Department’s recognition of Hamas as a terrorist organization. 

Cross and several other members encouraged the people who lobbied the Assembly on the issue to channel their energy into areas they can have more impact, whether with federal officials on the Israel-Hamas conflict or on local issues.

a portrait of a man outside

Jeremy Hsieh covers Anchorage with an emphasis on housing, homelessness, infrastructure and development. Reach him atjhsieh@alaskapublic.orgor 907-550-8428. Read more about Jeremyhere.

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