Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Thursday, Oct. 19 @ 2:47 p.m.
Greenough Weighs In On Israel-Hamas Conflict, Asks Crescent City Council To Declare Support For Israel
Calling the Oct. 7 attack the “worst massacre of Jewish people since Kristallnacht and the Nazis,” Crescent City Councilor Jason Greenough urged his colleagues to officially stand in solidarity with Israel.
Greenough proposed drafting “some kind of support letter for the people of Israel” and sending it to the Israeli embassy. He asked for the matter to come back before the City Council at a future agenda.
“I think the murder and kidnapping of innocents is something we should be willing and able to take a stand against, personally,” he told his colleagues Monday.
But Greenough’s fellow council members were perplexed at his request.
Councilor Kelly Schellong asked Greenough what his goal was. Raymond Altman asked if the letter was condemning antisemitism or antiterrorism, pointing out that the region has been at war for years.
“We’re never going to stop having wars,” Altman said. “We battle the Klingons in space in the future too. There’s always going to be a bunch of barbarians fighting each other.”
Mayor Isaiah Wright wondered if other cities were writing letters of support for other countries at war.
Mayor Pro Tem Blake Inscore pointed out that while the Hamas terrorist attack that claimed an estimated 1,500 lives was “horrendous and horrific,” there are innocents on both sides.
Inscore said he would have to see the letter’s content before he decides whether to support it.
“There’s hundreds of people who didn’t have anything to do with this surprise attack who have now lost their lives, including women and children and families,” Inscore said. “I’m a little conflicted about saying one thing while not having a sense of genuine compassion for other innocents who are now caught in the midst of this just terrible situation we have seen played out generation after generation.”
Greenough replied that the Palestinians “wouldn’t be in this position” if it wasn’t for Hamas.
“The blood is all on their hands either way,” Greenough told Inscore. “It is the actions of that group that brought this about.”
According to an ABC News timeline of the Hamas-Israeli conflict on Thursday, more than 1,400 people were killed in Israel during the attack, including children. More than 4,500 people have been injured. At least 32 are Americans, ABC News reported, citing the U.S. State Department.
Israel Defense Forces say Hamas has taken 203 people hostage and are believed to be holding them in Gaza, according to ABC News.
ABC News also cites the Palestinian Health Authority, which states that at least 3,400 people have been killed in Gaza and more than 12,000 have been injured.
“This is not just an atrocity against the people of Israel, it’s an atrocity against all free people of the world,” Greenough told his colleagues after pointing out that Americans were killed. “There were people killed and kidnapped from a very large number of nations.”
Greenough asked Inscore if he would be willing to help him draft the letter “so it can be written to your liking.”
Inscore said he can support sending a “well crafted” letter to the Israeli embassy declaring the Crescent City’s support and stating that the city condemns violence against innocents. But, he reiterated, there are innocent people on both sides of the conflict.
“I don’t want to undermine their human rights as well,” Inscore said.
Schellong asked her colleagues if Crescent City is going to regularly take a stand when atrocities occur.
When asked by the Wild Rivers Outpost following the meeting, Schellong said Crescent City didn’t draft an official support letter for Ukraine following Russia’s Feb. 24, 2022 ground invasion.
In response to Schellong's question Monday, Greenough said Hamas's attack on Israel "isn't a normal occurrence," which is why Crescent City should say something.
"The slaughter of 1,300 people who were just sitting in their homes or driving down the streets in their car, that's not a normal occurrence," Greenough said. "I do believe this is unprecedented, in at least my lifetime. It doesn't happen every day that a very large number of people are slaughtered en masse like this."
Inscore said that he could be supportive of a letter that reiterates remarks President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken made in support of Israel states that Crescent City “stands with the people of Israel at this difficult time — and keep it at that level.”
The Crescent City Council asked City Manager Eric Wier to place the proposed letter on an agenda for a special meeting Oct. 30.
According to Wier, the City Council will also be asked to vote on a request for proposals in connection with some of its housing projects by Nov. 1.