This article will be updated.
The Tompkins County Legislature rejected Resolution m, Urgent Humanitarian and Local Imperatives Regarding Ongoing Violence in Israel, Gaza and the Middle East, which fell one vote shy of reaching the eight required votes at their Tuesday, Feb. 6 meeting.
The 7-6 failed vote was met with silence from a crowd that included over 35 community members who spoke in favor of the resolution during a nearly two-hour-long public comment session.
Submitted by legislators Gregory Mezey ’09, Anne Koreman, Travis Brooks and Veronica Pillar M.S. ’14 Ph.D. ’19, the resolution would have urged the legislature to call on the federal government “to do everything within their powers to influence the parties involved” to release civilian hostages held by Hamas, promote a lasting ceasefire and allow greater humanitarian aid to Gaza.
The resolution promoted a “two-state solution” that provides the “right of all Palestinians to reside securely and peacefully in a recognized state of Palestine and for Israelis to live securely and peacefully in the state of Israel.”
Locally, the resolution proposed that the legislature remind residents that the Tompkins County Office of Human Rights serves as a resource for victims of discrimination.
The Tompkins County Human Rights Commission, which is an advisory board to the Office of Human Rights, passed a resolution in December which “strongly urges [the] County Legislature to join other jurisdictions in calling on President [Biden] and Congress members to demand an immediate and sustainable ceasefire.” Dozens of individuals attended a Jan. 2 meeting to urge the Tompkins County Legislature to introduce and approve a similar resolution. Ceasefire resolutions have been passed in Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit and San Francisco.
The resolution also noted that “the ongoing war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas is affecting our campuses and communities in Tompkins County in disturbing ways, including increased antisemitism and Islamophobia, polarization of opinions, mental health issues and stressed local support services.”
“The Legislature strongly condemns all forms of intimidation, discrimination, terrorism and hate and affirms that the actions of specific organizations or governments in no way justify any form of antisemitic, Islamophobic or anti-Palestinian words or actions,” the resolution states.
Seven legislators — Susan Currie, Shawna Black, Amanda Champion and the four who submitted the resolution — voted in favor of the resolution. Prof. Rich John ’81, law, Randy Brown ’85 MBA ’86, Michael Lane, Mike Sigler, Lee Shurtleff and Dan Klein voted against the resolution. Legislator Deborah Dawson was absent from the meeting.
Julia Senzon ’26 contributed writing.