‘Down With America’ Group Creates Chaos at Council Meeting

Dallas law enforcement escorting protester out of City Council meeting | Image by texasforpalestine/Instagram

Dozens of protesters on Wednesday demanded the Dallas City Council draft a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict, with some addressing the governing body during the open mic period and others repeatedly disrupting the meeting with anti-war shouts, including a man who was removed by force.

As 10 of the protesters spoke against Israel for the apparent “genocide,” “slaughter,” and “occupation” in Gaza, others in a show of solidarity rose to their feet, snapping their fingers in agreement.

“What has not been said at this point?” William Capper said. “We have been coming to city council for months asking for a ceasefire resolution. We take off work and school and come here week after week, month after month, and for what?”

A resolution approved by the Dallas City Council in regard to national or international affairs is wholly symbolic. The governing body can only make decisions for its own jurisdiction.

“I’ve had some people ask me, ‘What is so important about Dallas passing a ceasefire resolution? What’s it do?'” Capper said. “Well, as council knows, three days after October 7, you unanimously passed a resolution giving full and unequivocal support to Israel. Justified the ongoing massacre of tens of thousands. This council understands that what it says locally has power on a national scale, and that is why we will not stop demanding a ceasefire.”

What Dallas City Council members say locally does not directly translate to “power on a national scale,” as Capper put it. Such resolutions largely serve to officially declare the sentiments of local representatives on specific issues.

“What gets me the most is that a ceasefire resolution does not even take sides,” Capper said. “It simply calls for an end to the incessant brutality — an end to the bombs and the rain of bullets that are murdering Palestinians for 130 days.”

Still, protesters — organized and otherwise — across North Texas are demanding that city councils approve ceasefire resolutions. It’s been happening for months — since Israel waged war against Hamas in Gaza after the terrorist group launched an attack on October 7 that killed about 1,200 Israelis.

Another activist speaker, Lindsey Lindeman, suggested that council members may be choosing to ignore the “horrific” aftermath of Israel’s military response to the terrorist attack.

“I’m a firm believer in the power of saying, ‘I don’t know,’ when we don’t have the answer, but that was before we had the information we have now,” she said. “Now, you can open up your phone, like many of you do during these meetings, and have instant access to the most horrible, heart-wrenching … videos you have ever seen, all in real-time. You see journalists targeted, hospitals and universities destroyed, children who have lost their families or their lives.”

Lindeman also said that council members don’t want to face reality.

“And if you’re not seeing [the videos], it’s because you’re avoiding them. And if you’re avoiding them, you should ask yourself why. Is it because it’s inconvenient? Is it because it’s horrific? Is it so you can pretend to be ignorant of the ongoing genocide, or is it because you just don’t care? We’re here because we care. Prove to us that you care. Prove to yourselves that you care.”

Chase Fitzpatrick said that protesters have been calling for a ceasefire for 113 days.

“Shame!” he said. “History books are practically writing themselves. Call for the damn ceasefire!”

Another speaker, Wendy Goodwin, said she has “deep concern” over the U.S. providing financial and military aid to Israel.

“Israel has recently been found palpably guilty by the International Court of Justice [and] given four weeks after the ruling to prove it’s doing everything possible to address its concerns. Israel has done nothing to address those concerns. In fact, it has doubled down.”

After those city residents and others had the opportunity to address the council, one man began shouting, “Ridiculous! Free Palestine!” before Mayor Eric Johnson ordered Dallas police to remove him and others, warning that outbursts would not be tolerated and reminding people they are “guests.” One of the protesters’ removals was captured on video and posted to the Instagram account @TexasforPalestine.

Minutes before Johnson recessed the meeting for lunch, protesters who remained rose at the same time, chanting, “Ceasefire now!” as they left the room.

Mark Nunnely, an attendee of the council meeting, told DX afterward that he could hear protesters around where he was sitting call out, “Down with America!”

Under Texas law, municipal governments may set policies regarding public speaking, the time allotted for it, and whether elected members may be addressed directly. While state law does not require governing bodies at the municipal level to allow public comments outside of public hearings, precedence suggests they do so in cities across Texas.

The protests came a little more than a month after similar demonstrations during a council meeting covered by The Dallas Express and after the home of council member Cara Mendelsohn (District 12) was defaced with graffiti. She has been a vocal supporter of Israel in its war against Hamas and has suggested she was targeted because she’s Jewish.

Mendelsohn also called out the activists for acting like “bullies” and refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at a council meeting in January. The protesters did not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at this Wednesday’s meeting either.

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