Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Dyer Calls for Unity Among Fresno's Jews, Muslims Amid Hamas-Israel War
gvw_david_taub
By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 4 months ago on
December 22, 2023

Share

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer called for unity among Jewish and Muslim residents in the city.

Surrounded by several members of both religious groups, Dyer held a brief news conference at City Hall on Thursday.

“We stand unified and believe there’s only one side in Fresno, and that is the side of peace, unity, and nonviolence. There’s no room for hatred. There’s no room for intolerance. There is no room for prejudice. And there is no room for the killing of innocent people,” Dyer said.

Dyer added that he hoped for a “peaceful resolution to conflicts.”

Dyer has dealt with criticism from members of Fresno’s Palestinian community since an Oct. 12 Israeli flag raising at Eaton Plaza downtown.

The mayor did so five days after the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel triggered a war that has killed nearly 20,000 Palestinians and devastated Gaza, where the United Nations says 1 in 4 people are starving. Hamas and other militants killed some 1,200 Israelis on Oct. 7, mostly civilians, and took another 240 people hostage.

Rabbi, Muslim Business Leader Want Peace

Dyer’s news conference came after several meetings between the mayor and community leaders at the mosque near Fresno State, brokered by AJ Rassamni, founder of the nonprofit Success from Within.

“We met a few times to talk about our shared values, our shared vision, and really especially about Fresno. It’s most important to us that everyone get along here in Fresno and we really agree on so much. We want peace, we want coexistence. We want everyone to be able to live peacefully and freely together,” said Rabbi Rick Winer of Temple Beth Israel.

Abdul Jawad, owner of the Own a Car dealership, also attended Dyer’s news conference.

“I think even people back home can get along, except for the politics and the far right on both sides is what makes the problems … so hard. But, Muslims and Jews, we live alongside (each other) and I think we have nothing but respect and love for each other,” Jawad said.

Rassamni said it is about coexisting.

“We don’t in politics, but we want humanity. And that’s what we’re working on,” Rassamni said.

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, second from right, clasps hands with Rabbi Rick Winer of Temple Beth Israel, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023. (GV Wire/Jahz Tello)

 

Both Israeli, Palestinian Flags Raised in Fresno

Nearly two months after the Israeli flags flew in Fresno, Palestinian flags were raised at Eaton Plaza — the city-owned flagpoles designated for the public — on Dec. 8.

Pro-Palestinian protesters often rally in north Fresno weekly and speak during Fresno City Council meetings. They have criticized Dyer for seemingly taking sides in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Dyer offered an apology for any missteps he’s made.

“If there’s anything that I’ve ever said or done to hurt either of you, any of you here, I apologize. And I mean that from the depths of my heart. I love you guys. And I do want one thing, and that is One Fresno,” Dyer said, using his unity slogan.

Winer offered a guarded response when asked about his reaction to the protesters’ rhetoric.

“We all want justice and freedom for all of our people. There are some upsetting things that are said on either side, but we’re really focused on how we can best keep a good, positive climate here in Fresno,” Winer said.

Debate Over Cease-Fire Resolution

The pro-Palestinian group has demanded that the city council consider a ceasefire resolution.

Jawad supported a cease-fire as a road to peace. Winer said it was “best for us to stay out of that, especially for our local politicians to stay out of that.”

“We will take it from anybody. I mean, we want a cease-fire. We don’t want to see any innocent people get killed. So anybody who’s calling for a cease-fire, we stand behind them. We want a cease-fire,” Jawad said.

In a coincidental moment, Layla Darwish — a leader of the more outspoken Palestinian protesters — was at City Hall to pick up the Palestinian flags that flew at Eaton Plaza when Dyer’s news conference started. She was not invited to the event.

Pro-Palestinian activist Layla Darwish picks up flags at City Hall, at the same time as Mayor Jerry Dyer called a news conference discussing unity. (GV Wire/David Taub)

Darwish has used the phrase “from the river to the sea,” considered by many in the Jewish community, including the Anti-Defamation League, as a call to wipe out Israel. However, many Palestinian activists say it’s a call for peace and equality after 75 years of Israeli statehood and decades-long Israeli military rule over millions of Palestinians.

Rassamni made it clear that he doesn’t like the phrase.

“It means kicking all the Israeli out … none of us want that, ” Rassamni said.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Israeli Settlers Rampage Through a West Bank Village, Killing 1 Palestinian and Wounding 25

DON'T MISS

US Intelligence Finding Shows China Surging Equipment Sales to Russia to Help War Effort in Ukraine

DON'T MISS

From Tragedy to Triumph: The Land Before Time Litter’s Journey

DON'T MISS

Oakland Officials Vote to Include ‘San Francisco’ in Airport’s Name

DON'T MISS

Several Writers Decline Recognition From PEN America in Protest Over Its Israel-Hamas War Stance

DON'T MISS

US Consumer Sentiment Falls Slightly as Outlook for Inflation Worsens

DON'T MISS

A Near-Total Ban on Abortion Has Supercharged the Political Dynamics of Arizona, a Key Swing State

DON'T MISS

Convicted Killer of College Student Kristin Smart Attacked at California Prison for Second Time

DON'T MISS

House Advances Reauthorization of US Spy Program as GOP Upheaval Threatens Final Passage

DON'T MISS

While California Politicians Skirmish Over Housing, the Shortage Keeps Growing

UP NEXT

A Near-Total Ban on Abortion Has Supercharged the Political Dynamics of Arizona, a Key Swing State

UP NEXT

House Advances Reauthorization of US Spy Program as GOP Upheaval Threatens Final Passage

UP NEXT

Tennessee Lawmakers Send Bill to Ban First-Cousin Marriages to Governor

UP NEXT

Fresno Monopoly is Coming. You Have a Chance to Make It Your Own.

UP NEXT

More Aid Is Supposed to Be Entering the Gaza Strip. Why Isn’t It Helping?

UP NEXT

Wife of Julian Assange Says Biden’s Comments Mean Case Could Be Moving in the Right Direction

UP NEXT

Fresno’s ‘Rods on the Bluff’ Is Driven by Friendship, Creativity, and Achievement

UP NEXT

This Chill Tabby Cat Loves Hanging Out With People. Is He Your ‘Purrfect’ Match?

UP NEXT

Legendary Comedians Seinfeld and Carolla Lead Fresno Entertainment Lineup

UP NEXT

Trump Says Jewish Voters Backing Biden ‘Should Have Their Head Examined’

David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

Oakland Officials Vote to Include ‘San Francisco’ in Airport’s Name

4 hours ago

Several Writers Decline Recognition From PEN America in Protest Over Its Israel-Hamas War Stance

4 hours ago

US Consumer Sentiment Falls Slightly as Outlook for Inflation Worsens

4 hours ago

A Near-Total Ban on Abortion Has Supercharged the Political Dynamics of Arizona, a Key Swing State

4 hours ago

Convicted Killer of College Student Kristin Smart Attacked at California Prison for Second Time

4 hours ago

House Advances Reauthorization of US Spy Program as GOP Upheaval Threatens Final Passage

5 hours ago

While California Politicians Skirmish Over Housing, the Shortage Keeps Growing

8 hours ago

Tennessee Lawmakers Send Bill to Ban First-Cousin Marriages to Governor

8 hours ago

Instagram Blurs Nude Messages to Protect Teens, Fight Sexual Extortion

21 hours ago

Ohtani’s Ex-Interpreter Charged With Stealing $16M in Betting Case

21 hours ago

Israeli Settlers Rampage Through a West Bank Village, Killing 1 Palestinian and Wounding 25

JERUSALEM — Dozens of angry Israeli settlers stormed into a Palestinian village in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Friday, shooting and se...

1 hour ago

1 hour ago

Israeli Settlers Rampage Through a West Bank Village, Killing 1 Palestinian and Wounding 25

2 hours ago

US Intelligence Finding Shows China Surging Equipment Sales to Russia to Help War Effort in Ukraine

3 hours ago

From Tragedy to Triumph: The Land Before Time Litter’s Journey

4 hours ago

Oakland Officials Vote to Include ‘San Francisco’ in Airport’s Name

4 hours ago

Several Writers Decline Recognition From PEN America in Protest Over Its Israel-Hamas War Stance

4 hours ago

US Consumer Sentiment Falls Slightly as Outlook for Inflation Worsens

4 hours ago

A Near-Total Ban on Abortion Has Supercharged the Political Dynamics of Arizona, a Key Swing State

4 hours ago

Convicted Killer of College Student Kristin Smart Attacked at California Prison for Second Time

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend