New Orleans City Council in session, February 23, 2017 [Photo Source: NOLA City Council]
Supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement were dealt another blow this past Thursday, when members of the New Orleans City Council (Louisiana, US) unanimously voted to rescind a human rights resolution previously backed by members of the council. What started out as a draft resolution proposed by the mayor-elect, LaToya Cantrell, to promote diversity and compliance with international human rights standards, soon became a tool for misinformation spread by BDS advocates and supporters.
The January 11 resolution that was passed by The City Council of New Orleans clearly stated that the intention of the city council was to provide the citizens of New Orleans with work opportunities that were 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. Titles like the following were used to rally support for the BDS movement. “New Orleans becomes first city in US south to adopt pro-BDS resolution,” read the title of Ali Harb’s article for the Middle East Eye on January 12.
After the proposal was passed, Mayor-Elect LaToya Cantrell became aware of the fact that her resolution was being used to as a misinformation tool for the BDS movement – a movement that she never intended to support. In a statement made by Cantrell in the aftermath of the misinformation campaign she said, “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.”
City Council president Jason Williams acknowledged that he was previously unfamiliar with the BDS movement, The Times of Israel reported. In addition, Cantrell spokesman David Winkler-Schmit confirmed Thursday that she had been unaware of any potential connection between the resolution and the BDS movement prior to the vote.
As a result of the misinformation campaign, the mayor decided to reconsider the piece of legislature and to put the resolution to a new vote, in light of how the draft was used for purposes never intended by the council. This past Thursday, the New Orleans City Council once again met to discuss the proposal and thankfully, all those who were present, decided to rescind it.
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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