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Lexington council members speak out on conflict in Gaza

Lexington Herald Leader

A statement was read last night during the Lexington Fayette Urban County Council meeting on behalf of a majority of its members, calling for peace in Gaza.

“We call for a permanent end to the violence and for lasting peace in the region.”

The statement read by Lexington Vice Mayor Dan Wu acknowledged the lives lost in the conflict in Palestine and Israel, condemned the taking of hostages, called for their release, and asked that humanitarian aid be allowed to reach the people of Gaza.

“As a practice, this council, your local legislative body does not take positions on matters of national and international policy,” Wu said. “But we know that a war happening six thousand miles away has a direct impact on our communities right here at home.”

Councilmember Denise Gray signed the statement and went a step further.

“The community, you know where I stand on the matters. You matter to me. Your (sic) safety of your family members matters to me. And I call for a cease-fire.”

But not all council members joined the vice mayor's statement. Preston Worley said he does not believe local governments should make statements on global conflict but that he commits to doing all he can to make sure Lexington is a welcoming, safe, and prosperous place for everyone.

“I joined the mayor’s statement earlier, that I continue to endorse, which makes explicitly clear that we will not accept Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism or Anti-Arab sentiment in our community,” said Worley.

The Kentucky Jewish Council released a statement of its own which reads,

The Kentucky Jewish Council denounces the suggested statement by Vice Mayor Wu, endorsed by the council, ostensibly calling for a Ceasefire in Israel’s War on the Hamas Genocidal Terrorist Group.

The statement, which was made with no input or consultation with Lexington Jewish leaders, is in direct opposition to the community-wide letter crafted by Mayor Gorton, which called to avoid bringing the violence from Gaza here to Lexington.

While this performative statement will have no effect on Gaza, it will have grave repercussions on all communities here at home.

The city council has no jurisdiction or ability to affect foreign affairs, and fear of violence from protestors should not allow performative statements to take the place of the actual work our Council should be engaged in.

Karyn Czar joined the WUKY News team July 1, 2013, but she's no stranger to radio.