Burlington withdraws BDS resolution – for now

“We heard the perspective of people who are from the Jewish descent, making it clear that this resolution is only one sided,” said a councilmember.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

A resolution intended to make Burlington, Vermont, the first city in the U.S. to officially boycott the State of Israel was narrowly withdrawn by the city council Monday evening in a 6-5 vote, VTDigger reported Tuesday.

While currently off the table, the proposal may not be gone for good. It will now return to the city’s Racial Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee for further discussion.

The controversial proposal sparked nearly two-and-a-half hours of public comment during the meeting, which was attended by citizens on both sides of the issue.

Anti-Israel protestors waved Palestinian flags inside the city hall and chanted slogans like “Free Palestine” and “Israel is an apartheid state” before the meeting was called to order.

Councilmember Ali Dieng moved to withdraw his own proposal, citing the “substantial amount” of correspondence the council had received expressing concern about the resolution.

“We heard the perspective of people who are from the Jewish descent, making it clear that this resolution is only one sided,” Dieng said.

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After a debate, the council voted 6-5 to withdraw the resolution.

The five councilmembers who opposed the withdrawal indicated that they would rather defeat the resolution now than have it come back later to cause further controversy in the community.

“This resolution is not going to improve the situation in Israel,” said councilmember Joan Shannon. “It can only bring pain. This needs to end tonight.”

Mayor Miro Weinberger of Burlington issued a statement Monday condemning the city’s proposal.

“I oppose the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to weaken and delegitimize an important and long-standing partner of the United States, the democratic State of Israel,” said Weinberger.

“Further, I find the resolution as it is written to be an inappropriate and counterproductive declaration for our local legislative body, and find it very unfortunate that the sponsors have brought it forward during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the holiest days of the year for our Jewish residents who are engaged in worship and acts of charity,” he said.

The proposed resolution states, “The City Council of Burlington express its solidarity with the Palestinian people, condemns anti-boycott legislation, and endorses the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.”

It calls for “nonviolent pressure” to be placed on Israel until it meets certain demands, such as, “Ending the military occupation and colonization of all Arab lands.”

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