Protesters shout at Santa Cruz City Council
Pro-Palestinian supporters react to the Santa Cruz City Council's vote on a war-related resolution that didn't include a call for a cease-fire. (Screenshot/City of Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz City Council votes ‘no’ to cease-fire call, ‘yes’ to dialogue

The Santa Cruz City Council approved a resolution early Wednesday that touched on the Israel-Hamas war — but rejected calls for a cease-fire.

“It didn’t have all those words in it that were problematic,” said Rabbi Paula Marcus of Temple Beth El in Aptos, who attended the meeting and said she was satisfied with the outcome overall.

The vote came a day after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a cease-fire resolution in an 8-3 vote, during a meeting that gained national notoriety after video clips shared on social media showed members of the public spreading false conspiracy theories about Israel and booing a local man whose family members were taken hostage or killed during the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

An earlier version of the Santa Cruz resolution, one drafted with input from the community, supported a cease-fire in the war. But the council ultimately approved a resolution with more vague language that “affirms our shared humanity and wish for peace.”

The vote came after 10 hours of contentious public comment that started Tuesday afternoon. The councilmembers voted 5-2 against the first version of the resolution and 5-2 in favor of the revised resolution. After the vote, pro-Palestinian supporters screamed and chanted “cease-fire now!” before police cleared the council chamber. Someone later broke a chamber window, according to Lookout Santa Cruz

The approved resolution “acknowledges the suffering of the peoples of the Middle East” and declares January as “Peace Month” with the “opportunity to participate in activities and dialogue that promotes peace locally and around the world.”

Marcus said the original resolution was crafted after councilmembers spoke with various groups in the community, including her congregation. However, she wished the final version had included certain language.

“There was no mention of Oct. 7 or … condemning Hamas and what happened on Oct. 7,” she said. “So that was a real problem for me.”

Still, Marcus said she felt OK about the version that passed.

“I would prefer they didn’t do anything,” she said. “But since they did, that was the best choice.”

Marcus described the meeting as tense. She said anti-Israel speakers often interrupted speakers who were opposed to the cease-fire resolution.

“When they didn’t like what was being said, they would start trying to interfere, and the mayor had to stop the meeting a couple of times,” Marcus said.

She said members of her congregation were screamed at in the parking lot as they left.

“Unfortunately, bringing this to the city council, the outcome is what we expected it would be in terms of this fracturing of the community,” she said.

According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the majority of the more than 250 people who spoke at public comment were in support of the original cease-fire resolution.