Amid tough reelection fight, San Francisco mayor declines to veto resolution she criticized on Gaza

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Amid a tough reelection fight, Mayor London Breed has declined to veto a non-binding resolution from the San Francisco supervisors calling for an extended cease-fire in Gaza, a measure she blamed for inflaming tensions in the city.

The first-term Democrat posted her decision online Friday, faulting the board for veering into foreign policy in which its members have no legal authority or expertise. She said the debate over the resolution left the city “angrier, more divided and less safe.”

“Their exercise was never about bringing people together,” Breed wrote in a statement. “It was about choosing a side.”

A divided board approved the resolution earlier this month, which also condemned Hamas as well as the Israeli government and urged the Biden administration to press for the release of all hostages and delivery of humanitarian aid. Cease-fire advocates in the audience erupted into cheers and chants of “Free Palestine.”

Breed earlier criticized the supervisors, saying "the process at the board only inflamed division and hurt.”

San Francisco joined dozens of other U.S. cities in approving a resolution that has no legal weight but reflects pressure on local governments to speak up on the Israel-Hamas war, now in its fourth month following a deadly Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants.

Breed said she mostly refrains from commenting on nonbinding resolutions from the board, but in this case she made an exception. Her decision came in the run-up to the March 5 primary election, in which she is telling voters she is making progress against homelessness, public drug use and property crime in a city that has seen a spate of unwelcome publicity about vacant downtown offices and stratospheric housing prices.

Reaction to the ongoing Israeli military action in Gaza is shaking campaigns from the White House to City Halls. A poll by The Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in early November found 40% of the U.S. public believed Israel’s response in Gaza had gone too far.

Breed lamented the suffering in Gaza and the loss of life on both sides. But she chastised activists who jeered when a man spoke of family members killed in the Hamas attack, and she wrote that a Jewish city employee was surrounded by protesters in a restroom.

Breed wrote that “abject antisemitism” had apparently become acceptable to a subset of activists.

“The antisemitism in our city is real and dangerous,” she wrote, adding that vetoing the resolution likely would lead to more divisive hearings and “fan even more antisemitic acts.”

Breed said she had spoken to numerous Jewish residents “who tell me they don't feel safe in their own city. ... They are fearful of the growing acts of vandalism and intimidation.”

Supervisor Dean Preston, who introduced the cease-fire resolution, told the San Francisco Chronicle he was happy that the mayor did not veto the resolution, which is now final.

Lara Kiswani, executive director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, an organization that has planned protests calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, told the newspaper that Breed's statement amplified “dangerous, racist, well-worn anti-Arab tropes that seem to completely disregard our community.”