The SF Board of Supervisors will be wading into the controversy of the Israel-Hamas conflict, as Supervisor Dean Preston has introduced a resolution calling for a ceasefire, but another supervisor has already dismissed it, saying “We need to stay in our lane.”

As the Israel-Hamas conflict heads into its second month, the Bay Area has responded with more than just the obligatory peace protests. The City of Richmond passed a resolution supporting Gaza and Palestine on October 24, and they’re believed to be the first U.S. city to do so. The last week, the City of Oakland passed a resolution that more specifically called for a ceasefire. And now it’s going to be San Francisco’s turn to consider this, as Supervisor Dean Preston on Tuesday introduced a resolution that his office describes as “calling for a sustained ceasefire in Gaza, humanitarian aid, release of hostages, and condemning antisemitic, anti-Palestinian, and Islamophobic rhetoric and attacks.”

Image: SFGovTV

“Colleagues, today I am introducing a resolution to calling for a sustained ceasefire in Gaza,” Preston said at Tuesday’s board meeting, and a packed-house audience went immediately nuts with applause for a full minute, waving Palestinian flags and spinning keffiyeh scarves in the air, and prompting SF sheriff’s deputies to walk the aisles to keep order. “I believe this resolution is compelled by the moment and offers an opportunity for us to come together in  defense of human life.”  

But are Hamas, "Bibi" Netanyahu, or Joe Biden paying any attention to the SF Board of Supervisors? Probably not! Preston explained why he’s doing this anyway.

Fighting back tears (and the crowd applauded whenever he let a tear loose), he said “I want to be very clear about my intention in putting this forward. It is to add our voice to the chorus of international human right organizations and humanitarian organizations, countries, cities, labor unions, and city residents who are calling for an end to the violence, destruction, and death that is taking place overseas.”

These “roll call for introductions” speeches introducing new legislation usually only last a minute or two. Preston’s speech on Tuesday went more than 12 minutes.

“Over 1,200 Israelis were murdered on October 7,” he said. “Over 15,000 Palestionas have been murdered since October 7. An estimated 1.7 million Palestinians have been displaced. These events have shocked the conscience of people across the world.”

Preston’s speech drew plenty of applause, but we can already see the opposition forming in the above thread from Jewish Community Relations Council’s Bay Area chapter. Supervisors Matt Dorsey, Catherine Stefani, and Rafael Mandelman can be seen in photos in the thread. And the thread quotes Mandelman as saying “If the fight comes to (the) board of supervisors, it’s not going to be me that introduces it. We need to stay in our lane.”

That Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) chapter has already already come out against Preston's resolution, saying in a statement to KQED that “It fails to condemn or hold Hamas responsible for the pogrom of October 7, nor does it recognize that Hamas is an impediment to any sustained and peaceful ceasefire."

Preston's office counters that the legislation does contain the sentence, "Following the brutal attack by Hamas militants on Israelis on October 7,2023, San Francisco Israelis, Jews and others have experienced, and continue to experience, shock, trauma, grief, and fear, compounded by rising antisemitism in our nation and our city."

Anticipating the blowback, Preston (who is Jewish and the son of Holocaust victims) has released the full text of the resolution, so you can read it and decide for yourself.

Preston had clearly packed the house with supporters, and as of press time for this post, public comment on the matter is underway. It is likely to last well into the evening, and you can watch it live on SFGovTV.

Related: Richmond City Council Spends Seven Hours Debating, Passing Resolution Supporting Gaza and Palestine [SFist]

Image: SFGovTV