The decision by the City of Fresno and Mayor Jerry Dyer to raise the Israel flag last month after the attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7 was thrust back into the public eye during Thursday’s Fresno City Council meeting.
Over a dozen people addressed the City Council on Thursday, urging the city to demand a cease-fire in the conflict and going after Dyer for comments he made at the flag raising.
The backstory: The city rose the Israel flag on Oct. 12 at Eaton Plaza in downtown Fresno, drawing dozens of pro-Palestinian protester to the event.
- Along with calling for a free Palestine, protesters levied personal attacks at Dyer, shouting throughout his speech.
- During his talk, Dyer said, “The hatred is deep, and you can sense some of that hatred right here today with people who are standing here supporting what occurred on Saturday and the killing of innocent Israelis and the beheading of Isreali babies. If that is what you stand for, then you do not stand for the United States of America.”
What they’re saying: “The silence of our local government on the apartheid in Palestine has been nothing but personally dehumanizing to me and all of the fellow Muslims and Arabs here in Fresno,” one commenter said.
- Other commenters asked why the city has not raised a Palestine flag to show solidarity with the local Palestinian community as the Gaza Strip has been under attack.
- “I’m a Palestinian, and I’m not a terrorist. I belong to an American-Arab segment of the community in Fresno that consists of doctors saving lives and curing patients every day, engineers building bridges and roads, business owners who provide you with all kinds of goods and services, educators and professors at Fresno State,” one commenter said.
- Another commenter said, “How did it happen that Jerry Dyer rose the Israel flag but he didn’t raise our flag? Who voted on that? How did those votes happen? Who funded those people who got them those positions. Who supported them? Oh guess what? It was one of the Palestinian families was actually who supported Jerry Dyer when he was elected. So how are we going to make change? We’re going to make change strategically and collectively and relentlessly.”
- One man addressed the council saying he has lived in Fresno for 10 years after being a refugee from Gaza for 17 years.
- “I came here and settled, I loved the community, and at one point I even thought I belonged,” he said. “Can you imagine that? Never have I felt more out of place than in the last three weeks. The mayor decided to raise the Israeli flag after Oc. 7. He gave a speech targeting all Palestinians in an ugly and an angry way for that matter. However, the mayor did not raise the Palestinian flag for the 150 children that Israelis killed last year before all this fiasco that started on Oct. 7.”