August 12, 2022


Let'S Talk Law

Rent board votes in help of Palestinians going through evictions in Israel

Berkeley Metropolis Corridor. November 6, 2020. Picture: Pete Rosos

The Berkeley hire board passed a resolution condemning the Israeli government’s attempted eviction of Palestinians from land in Sheikh Jarrah.

The resolution, which the board authorized this thirty day period, has been cheered by some as promising guidance of Palestinians, reviled by other folks who consider the board is veering out of its lane by commenting on international policy. The ending of the resolution calls for the condemnation of Israel.  

“WHEREAS, the organizations and people today perpetrating the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah are by their individual admission endeavor these steps to transform the neighborhood from the greater part Palestinian to the vast majority Jewish, in what quantities to a campaign of ethnic cleansing, which means the political domination of a territory by one particular ethnic team around one more by way of pressured removal … ”

Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board

The resolution is, for supporters and the board member who drafted it, a welcome political assertion against Israeli oppression of the Palestinians in the veins of other stands Berkeley town leaders and its residents have manufactured in opposition to unjust regimes for decades.

Rent Board Commissioner Soli Alpert led the effort for the city’s 41-calendar year-previous board, which “provides tenants with greater safety against unwarranted evictions and is intended to maintain reasonably priced housing and protect community variety,” to just take a stand in opposition to the removing of Palestinians from their homeland. He stated he began imagining about it for the duration of the clashes between Israel and the Palestinians in the occupied West Financial institution for the duration of a near-war in between the two factions in May, and June’s assembly was the initial chance to deliver the issue up in front of the hire board. It was an challenge that took much more than an hour and a half of public comment and plenty of guiding-the-scenes employees time to handle.

“The direct relationship to the city of Berkeley Lease Stabilization Board is housing,” explained Alpert, who is Jewish. “These are the definition of evictions, and they are not definitely evictions. They are definitely just property seizures. The city of Berkeley, in typical, has a lengthy history of standing up for human legal rights around the environment and this is a section of that tradition.”

It is genuine that the city of Berkeley adopted some of the hardest anti-South African measures in the country in the 1980s to protest South African apartheid, which include divestment in South African products which led to billions of dollars of California pension funds remaining pulled out of the region.

The energy of Alpert and the relaxation of the hire board’s customers was applauded by lots of men and women in the town and who attended the conference, noting this condemnation is equivalent to the stands the city has taken versus injustice in the entire world.

“I do experience it’s really significant to speak to the Palestinians,” mentioned Berkeley resident and landlord Ellen Brotsky, a volunteer with Jewish Voice for Peace. “I and so several other Jews in Berkeley are delighted that the board has passed this resolution.”

Brotsky and other professional-Palestine supporters contact the continued Israeli profession of Palestinian land, together with compelled evacuations from residence and armed forces strikes, “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing.” This resolution is not an anti-Semitic shift, Brotsky noted, rather a move versus the aggression of the Israeli point out. 

Supporters say United States taxpayers’ income goes toward the Israeli government.

“It’s our money and our power that permits Israel to occupy the Palestinian territory. I consider we have an obligation as Us citizens to reply,” Alpert reported.

The city’s hire board, with its mission to maintain tenants from staying unfairly evicted and to stabilize rents in a city with common homelessness, is a wholly ideal area to get this stand, Alpert and Brotsky explained, their views echoed by dozens of speakers at the board conference.

“It’s a nonbinding, symbolic resolution,” Alpert said. “We really don’t do it every working day but we unquestionably do it. There is no part of our society that does not have full duty for human legal rights.” 

However there are also lots of folks who imagine the rent board acted out of its purview expending time and metropolis sources on a purely symbolic declaration at the precise time with potentially disastrous publish-pandemic evictions loom as persons owe tens of countless numbers of pounds in back again hire, and the homelessness crisis has the likely to get even worse, not far better.

“I’ve been associated in Berkeley politics for 25 many years and I’ve never seen a resolution coming out of the hire board like this,” explained Berkeley Town Councilmember Susan Wengraf, who signifies District 6, which features the Berkeley Hills. “The hire board has a really certain obligation and that is to make sure that tenants and landlords are treated relatively. There are a great deal of crucial issues that the rent board has to do now that we are coming out of COVID-19. I assume it’s over and above their authority to be passing resolutions like this.”

Wengraf claimed the Berkeley Metropolis Council has a minor little bit a lot more capability to take stances on intercontinental problems but it has chosen not to do that now for the reason that they are seeking to offer with the very challenging worries of the COVID-19 fallout. 

Wengraf prompt the lease board may well be smart to follow the council’s lead amid COVID-19 in concentrating on more community issues, relatively than “international politics, above which they have no impact or authority.”

“I feel a great deal of people today have lost faith in the rent board for the reason that they think the lease board is not shelling out attention to what they had been elected to do. It displays very inadequately on an elected overall body when they do one thing like this.” 

Rabbi Joshua Ladon, a Berkeley resident who spent just about a 10 years in the early 2000s in Israel attempting to understand Palestinian voices in occupied Palestine by getting exceptional accessibility to the West Bank and Gaza, likened the hire board’s declaration to something that would be published by the satirical news business The Onion.

“There’s a little something in the symbolic resolution that results in being a spectacle and may perhaps do issues domestically or in Berkeley that is genuinely rather divisive,” Rabbi Ladon explained.  “I want Berkeley to be greater. I want Berkeley to aspire to be this metropolis that requires critically the moral obligation of dwelling in a moral society. It is not just a remain in your lane it is really never lose sight of the deep, substantial, important difficulties that are complicated for Berkeley right now.”

Ladon added: “I recognize the Jewish world has rather a assortment of commitments and understandings. At some level the participation of elected officials in pursuits which get in touch with out the routines of other people … at moments, that’s significant and impactful but this didn’t seem like one of these periods.”