Florida mayor praised for ‘courage, character’ after apology for supporting permanent ceasefire

Christi Fraga, mayor of the Doral, Fla., speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for the future site of the new military housing complex supporting U.S. Southern Command’s service members and their families on Jan. 29, 2023. Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Erica Bechard/U.S. Navy Photo.

(JNS) — During a May 8 city council meeting in Doral, Fla., the city’s mayor, Christi Fraga, sponsored Resolution 24-120, “Peace and security for all innocent civilians in Israel and Palestine.”

She soon came to regret that decision.

“As the title reflects, my actions were well intended. However, the process I followed and final wording of the resolution, which was unanimously adopted by my colleagues on the City Council, was naive of me, fundamentally flawed, and has resulted in unintended consequences and a misunderstanding of my true stance on this international and local issue,” Fraga stated on May 16.

“I am very sorry for all the turmoil it has caused in our city and state,” she added.

The resolution, penned by anti-Israel lawyer Zohra Mehdi Khorashi, called for “an immediate and permanent end to all hostilities.”

“The Hamas terror organization started this war on Oct. 7, 2023, that has resulted in thousands of civilian deaths and enormous suffering, and revealed some divisions in the United States,” the city mayor stated on May 16. “To be clear, Israel has a right to defend its citizens and its existence. The war and collateral damage suffered by Gazans can end now as soon as Hamas releases all hostages and surrenders unconditionally.”

The mayor added that she was sponsoring a replacement Resolution 24-120 that “accurately portrays the current war in the Middle East and the sentiment of the City of Doral.”

“Unlike my political opponents, when I make a mistake, I take responsibility, own it, learn from it and atone for it,” she said. “Thank you for your consideration, understanding and forgiveness.”

Carlos Lopez-Cantera, a former lieutenant governor of Florida, initially wrote on social media that it was “a shame” that Fraga “would let herself be used to promote this antisemitic resolution.”

He wrote on May 16 that the mayor “reached out to apologize for her error in supporting the original resolution. She will be rescinding that resolution and replacing it with this one.”

“It takes courage and character to admit an error,” he said. “I appreciate her moving quickly to correct it.”

At a May 21 meeting, the City Council held a special meeting to discuss rescinding the resolution. The council posted video footage of the meeting, which ran a little more than an hour.

The overwhelming majority of members of the public who spoke asked the council not to rescind the resolution, and several spoke in overtly antisemitic terms.

 ‘They control the whole world’

A man who said he lived in “Palestine” until he was 18 spoke after Paul Kruss, a member of the Aventura Florida City Commission, who spoke in support of Israel.

“I wasn’t planning to speak, but since this gentleman here who spoke — everything he said is a lie. I challenge everyone to bring proof, any proof, that those people raped or killed anyone. That’s not true,” the man said, as others in the crowd nodded.

The man noted that the residents of the Gaza Strip elected Hamas democratically. “If they choose Hamas, that’s fine,” he said.

Other speakers called the Jewish state an apartheid regime, genocidal and colonialist, and accused it of ethnic cleansing.

“Muslim. Christian. They never have a problem with Jewish. We have a problem with a Zionist like him,” the man said. “They do have a lot of power, and they buy everybody. And whoever doesn’t agree with them, they shut them up. This is not democracy.”

“Those Zionists. They control the whole world,” he added. “We are a slave to them.” The man also appeared to compare Israel to Nazi Germany.

Others said that the replacement resolution addresses only Jew-hatred but should also speak about Islamophobia and xenophobia.

“We see a holocaust every other two years in Gaza,” another man said.

David Suarez, Miami Beach commissioner, also spoke in favor of Israel and condemned the other commenters who made antisemitic remarks.

“Miami Beach is ground zero for all antisemitism, considering that half of our population is Jewish,” Suarez said, noting that Oct. 7 was the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.

“Babies were put into ovens while mothers were raped,” he said, as people shook their heads. “Why do we know this? Because they put it on GoPros.”

“Half of my family is in Israel. They told me about it before it hit the news,” he said.

Suarez noted that people have praised Hitler in Miami Beach and have yelled antisemitic things at elderly Jews leaving synagogue.

“We had to take measured steps to prevent the terror sympathizers like the ones behind me from terrorizing our Jewish constituents,” he said of the May 21 meeting. “The amount of antisemitic rhetoric that I’m hearing today is nauseating. Most of the people behind me wouldn’t last a day in Gaza. They are uninformed and ignorant.”

Fraga spoke before the council voted unanimously to rescind the prior resolution. “I did not hide. I did not double down,” the mayor said of her actions after the resolution had passed.

She also noted that the wording hadn’t condemned Hamas or called for the release of hostilities: “That was something that needed to be said.”

The council voted 3-2 not to approve the replacement resolution. It is expected to draft a new one and vote on that one in June.