Support for Israel Divides Monterey County Supervisors

The Monterey County Board of Supervisors has postponed a vote on a resolution formally condemning acts of terrorism by Hamas and expressing solidarity with the State of Israel.

The resolution was introduced by board chair Luis Alejo. It states in part:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County of Monterey Board of Supervisors, on behalf of the County and all of the residents thereof, expresses its solidarity with Israel and stands with Israel as it defends itself against the heinous terrorist attacks by Hamas and other terrorists, condemns the brutal violent attacks and slaughter of innocent civilians, and urges Hamas to immediately release all hostages.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, as we support Israel’s right to defend itself against terror, we call for just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the County of Monterey Board of Supervisors hereby orders that the flag of Israel be installed in the Board of Supervisors Chamber in solidarity with Israel and that it remain in chambers until the war comes to an end; and that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to our state and federal legislators.

Supervisors Glenn Church, Wendy Root-Askew and Mary Adams voted to delay the vote, saying they could not in good conscience support the resolution as written.

"It was clear today that all members of the Board of Supervisors abhorred the terrorist acts of Hamas and supported the absolute right of Israel to defend itself,” Church said in a statement. “Much of the language in the resolution presented to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors today was copied from language adopted 10 days ago by Congress and does not reflect the current situation in the Middle East."

Root-Askew went further, referring to Israel’s actions in Gaza as a “genocide.” The United Nations defines genocide as “a crime committed with the intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, in whole or in part.” Israel says it is acting in self-defense against the terrorist group Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas killed 1,300 people—including 32 Americans—in Israel on October 7 and is still holding another 200 men, women and children hostage.

Many civilians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli air strikes since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began. Some members of the Palestinian-American community criticized Alejo’s resolution for not focusing enough on Palestinian suffering.   

The resolution’s lack of support, following the largest massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust, clearly left Alejo disillusioned.

“I’m deeply disappointed that the majority of my colleagues on the Monterey County Board of Supervisors would not support a resolution condemning the brutal terrorist attacks and slaughter against Israel & innocent civilians, including 30 Americans by Hamas,” Alejo wrote on X. “They also would not support calling for just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike, would not call for release of hostages, nor allow the flag of Israel to stand in our Supervisors Chamber in solidarity with our ally… This is one of my most shameful moments during my 7 years serving on this Board. I thank Supervisor #ChrisLopez for being the only supervisor to support the resolution with me against brutal terrorism.”

Israel may not have undivided backing from Monterey County, but it’s getting plenty of love from Gavin Newsom. The governor traveled to Israel on Friday to meet with those impacted by the terror attacks and offer support on behalf of California.