A Burlington, Vermont city council vote to endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel was scrapped at the last moment when the resolution’s sponsor withdrew it on Monday. Council member Ali Dieng said he was concerned the resolution would promote anti-Semitism.
The move came after the council spent hours listening to impassioned public comments for and against BDS.
At Dieng’s suggestion, the council voted 6-5 to send the resolution back to the Racial Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee for further discussion. The council members voting against wanted to kill the resolution right then and there.
Dieng told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he changed his mind about the resolution after hearing local Jews’ concern that it would help fuel anti-Semitism.
“A lot of community members who are Jewish have been experiencing anti-Semitism for a very long time and I didn’t know about it,” Dieng told the JTA. “We are a small community, and I want to make sure everyone feels safe. Many people [who supported the resolution] are not happy with me, but I think it is the right thing.”
Around 20,000 Jews live in Vermont, mostly in Burlington, the state’s largest city.