NEW ORLEANS - I am sad to say that I was not aware of the "BDS movement," its origin or its mission. I have spent my time since Friday morning educating myself on the complex, long history of these movements and issues in our city and worldwide. Let me be very clear to citizens of New Orleans and citizens of the world; this City Council is not anti-Israel. That sentiment is inconsistent with the Council's actions and certainly mine personally. Earlier in last Thursday's meeting, we spent twice as much time than on R-18-5 praising the decades of work and collaboration of the Jewish community here in New Orleans. It was certainly not our intention to close the meeting with an insult. This clearly occurred, and that was unintentional.
Although I did not draft this ordinance or participate in its construction, after being asked last week by a fellow Councilmember I did agree to co-sponsor it based on a reading of the language within the four corners of the document and its articulated intended purpose as a resolution on human rights. I do not believe it was introduced under suspension for any nefarious purpose. However, it is clear that it was certainly a mistake in doing so. Because of the introduction under suspension, the discussion of the resolution before the City Council vote was not a diverse space of various viewpoints. It did not give notice or opportunity to dear friends and New Orleans residents who rightly feel deeply aggrieved by this vote. Therefore, I think it is important to reconsider this matter. I will be moving to reconsider this item at the next City Council meeting on the regular agenda to allow for the opportunity to hear from all perspectives.