Opinion | February 15th, 2024

Letter to the City Council

By: Summer Brenner  

Palestine Protestor

Editors Note: Summer Brenner was raised in Atlanta in a Jewish family that was ‘left of FDR.’ Her father, a scientist and anti-Zionist, served in the Second World War and wore his political convictions on his sleeve. She grew up ‘with a lot of humanity in the home.’ Spending her youth in the South presented Summer with a lot of opportunities to experience racism and prejudice. The synagogue her family attended in Atlanta was bombed in 1958 by white supremacists because the rabbi was close with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A self-described “child of the 60s,” Summer recalled this period as a transformation and a revelation. While many counterculture notions had been percolating for years, the Vietnam War forced her to “confront the truth about my country.” Summer settled in Berkeley where she raised her children largely as a single mother.

 

Here is her letter to Mayor Arreguin in response to his opinion piece titled: “Defending Democracy in the Face of Incivility.”

 

Dear Mayor:

 

Civility is an important aspect of public life, but it’s not the most important. Boos, jeers, and yells are nothing compared to 2,000 bombs falling on apartment houses, doctors working without anesthesia or electricity struggling to save lives, and an entire population without sufficient food and water. 

 

At the last Council meeting, I felt myself in the presence of a cabal. Your silence roused the ire of many, including Jewish American elders like myself. People are justifiably very UPSET! While a Council member, here and there in the past, has voiced support of a Ceasefire, as long as bombs, death, and starvation relentlessly continue, so should our demand for an official Ceasefire Resolution. The issue remains ongoing and urgent. 

 

It is not a political issue. It’s about putting our shared and sacred humanity above politics. Nor is it unrelated to the City of Berkeley. Our small city has put itself on the world map by defending the rights of living beings everywhere. Our City has proudly declared itself a Sanctuary City. 

 

Does it need to be said again that a Ceasefire Resolution does not support Hamas? Or condone October 7th? Or ignore Israeli hostages? 

 

I’m incredulous, almost dumbstruck that you’re unwilling to stand and say, I’M AGAINST CEASEFIRE. Put your opinion on the public record. Let’s hear the yays, the nays, the abstains. With elections pending, we must know what each member of the Council believes. How far and deep do your values reach?

 

It takes moral courage to take a stand. Be courageous and open to the consequences. Let me quote an old expression: If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. 

 

Gravely disappointed,

Summer Brenner

 

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