New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell [Photo Source: Pamplemousse]

Supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement were quick to claim that they had won support from the people of the city of New Orleans (Louisiana, US) in the aftermath of a recent draft that was signed by LaToya Cantrell, the city’s mayor. The resolution clearly states that the intention of the city council is to provide the citizens of New Orleans with work opportunities that are both diverse and that comply with international human rights standards. The document, which can be viewed here, made no mention of BDS, Israel or even the middle east… at all! The fact that the resolution was not voted on or passed with BDS in mind did not stop pro-BDS and anti-Israel activists from making claims that New Orleans had sided with the movement and was sympathetic to their cause.

Consider the following title, written by Ali Harb for the Middle East Eye on January 12: “New Orleans becomes first city in US south to adopt pro-BDS resolution

In the aftermath of the articles like the one above, LaToya Cantrell became aware of the fact that her resolution was being used to support a movement that she never intended to support. As a result, the mayor decided to reconsider the piece of legislature and to even reverse it.

The following are excerpts from a statement that LaToya Cantrell made in the aftermath of the misinformation spread by BDS supporters:

On Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, the New Orleans City Council passed R-18-5, a non-binding resolution intended to express our city’s commitment to human rights. While I was not present for the vote, I authored and supported the passage of the resolution. 

[….]

Statements from outsiders now claim that New Orleans is now one of the largest cities in the United States supportive of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), a movement aimed at delegitimizing the State of Israel. This is totally inaccurate, untruthful and does not reflect the values of New Orleans. We are a city that is welcoming, and open to all. 

[….]

While I will continue to examine issues of civil rights and fair contracting, I want to unequivocally reiterate that I am neither supportive of the BDS movement nor in any way hostile to the Jewish community or the State of Israel. Nor was it my intention to commit the City of New Orleans to such positions.

[….]

Therefore, next Thursday, I will support the Council’s action to reconsider resolution R-18-5 and to have it withdrawn. Going forward together, we will work with all communities to further foster unity and justice within the great city of New Orleans.

We thank the LaToya Cantrell and the people of New Orleans for standing up against the recent misinformation spread by BDS and its supporters and for reconsidering the resolution R-18-5.

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