During a month in which the city of New Orleans was unable to deliver water to its homes and businesses, the city council wasted time weighing in on a conflict halfway around the world. The council two weeks ago approved a resolution calling on the city to avoid doing business with companies that violate human rights, a move which Jewish groups see as a potential show of support for a highly contentious movement to “boycott, divest and sanction” Israel.

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Several members said the council does not support the boycott movement. But their own PR firm, Spears Group, put out a news release that specifically referenced the movement when highlighting the passage of the resolution. Taxpayers may wonder why a legislative body needs a PR firm to write news releases that even its own members do not read. Or why it needs a PR firm at all. The Louisiana legislature doesn’t have one.

After objections from the community and a scolding from Mayor Mitch Landrieu and U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, the council seems poised to withdraw the resolution. One of those who is ready to backtrack is mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell, who authored the resolution, though she was not present for the vote.

When the new mayor and council fix the S&WB, pave the streets, rebuild the police force, vanquish blight and tackle poverty, perhaps they will have time to make peace in the Middle East.

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