Pritzker ‘Disappointed’ With Chicago’s Gaza Cease-Fire Resolution, Says It’ll Have No Impact on Foreign Policy

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a news conference Feb. 1, 2024. (WTTW News)Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a news conference Feb. 1, 2024. (WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday downplayed the impact of Chicago’s resolution urging a cease-fire in Gaza, and on the city’s relations with President Joe Biden ahead of Chicago hosting Biden’s big reelection party in August in the form of the Democratic National Convention.

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“I don’t think that that resolution will have any actional impact on foreign policy of the United States or on the hostilities taking place in the Middle East,” Pritzker said at an unrelated news conference.

A divided Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved a non-binding resolution calling for an end to the war between Israel and Hamas, with Mayor Brandon Johnson casting a tie-breaking vote.

A day later at an unrelated anti-violence event, Johnson defended City Council spending time to debate what’s happening in the Middle East, saying he can “walk and chew gum at the same time.”

“We have still provided a quarter of a billion dollars for the unhoused, $100 million for violence prevention,” Johnson said. “We are still moving forward with building more, new, too, mental health clinics. We can do both, and we have done both. We have offered up our voice to this international crisis and we continue to make sure that the critical services that the people of Chicago deserve, that they actually get to still have those services.”

Johnson said that as a “global city,” Chicago’s voice matters.

Johnson also called the Oct. 7 violence by Hamas against Israel a “hideous terrorist attack.”

“We have effectively been able to respond with our voices, whether it was calling out the attacks against the Israeli people or calling for cease-fire,” Johnson said, noting a previous ordinance passed in the fall that condemned Hamas’ attack on Israel. 

Pritzker said he was “disappointed” that “no consideration was given to the women who were raped by Hamas fighters who crossed over into Israel, kidnapped people, that the deaths that were caused by those terrorists were not acknowledged.”

“The City Council, if they’re going to talk about the challenge of war in the Middle East, you’ve got to make sure that you include all the perspectives,” said Pritzker, who is Jewish. “They did not do that.”

There’s immense political pressure on both sides.

Pro-Palestine protestors have frequently held demonstrations to stop traffic in recent months, and on Tuesday Chicago Public Schools students staged walkouts.

Meanwhile, Jewish organizations warn about a rise in anti-Semitism.

Chicago is the largest municipality to call for a permanent end to bloodshed in Gaza, a strip of land between Israel and the Mediterranean Sea that’s controlled by Hamas, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.

Israel has carried out attacks in Gaza after Hamas’ surprise deadly attacks on Israel in October. Some 100 people taken hostage by Hamas at the time are still believed detained.

Backers of the latest resolution said Chicago is on the right side of history with its humanitarian stance, and that increasing pressure can penetrate to higher levels of government even if the city alone won’t influence international policy.

Follow Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @AmandaVinicky

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