Thirty-five Ann Arbor residents held a protest in front of the Federal Building on Monday, protesting the most recent Israeli attack and killing of activists carrying food and medicine to the starving Gazans.
Participants in the protest held signs such as “Zionism is Racism,” Boycott Israel,” “Boycott Israeli Apartheid,” Stop U.S. Funding of Israel,” and “Save Gaza.” The group plans to go to the Ann Arbor City Council meeting on Monday June 7th at 7:00 p.m. (second floor of the City Hall on 5th and Ann Street) to demand total boycott of Israel.
Israel has been called a war criminal by many international human rights organizations for its actions in Gaza (December 2008 to January 2009), its use of chemical warfare (White Phosphorous) on unarmed civilians and its total destruction of Palestinian infrastructure.
Movements to boycott Israel are growing worldwide, and several U.S. campuses have been passing resolutions to cut ties with the apartheid state. Hampshire College divested from Israel in February 2009. This year alone, U-M Dearborn Student Government and University of California at Berkeley's student government voted to divest from the Israeli military.
It is U-M Ann Arbor’s turn to follow those examples and boycott Israel at once.
...Comment: Palestine and Israel
Blaine Coleman began his remarks by asking the Community Television Network camera operator to focus on the sign he’d placed in front of the podium, which read “Ann Arbor hereby boycotts all products from Israel.” He stated that he was bringing the resolution printed on the sign before the council for consideration that night.
The Ann Arbor boycott of Israeli products, he said, had been proposed back in 1984, so the council had had 26 years to think about it. A week ago, Coleman said, the Israel military had killed nine people on boarding a humanitarian aid boat headed for Gaza and had shot an American citizen in the head. That was the kind of state they were supporting, Coleman said, when mayor John Hieftje and councilmember Mike Anglin attend the “Celebrate Israel” event.
Coleman repeated the resolution on the sign and queried councilmembers individually on how they would vote, beginning on the right: “Sandi Smith, how do you vote?” He noted the lack of response of each councilmember – Smith, Briere, and Derezinski – before moving on to the next, reaching Rapundalo before his time was up.
[Editor's note: By custom, councilmembers do not respond to direct questions during public commentary. Doing so would likely violate the council rule against allotting speaking time to someone other than the person signed up to speak. However, councilmembers often do use their own communications time on the agenda to respond to public commentary.]
Mozhgan Savabiesfahani noted that she’d personally been appearing before the council since 2002, and that subsequently the state of Israel had committed various crimes, including the most recent case involving the killing of people aboard a humanitarian aid boat. The council had ignored her, she said, and concluded: “I hold you responsible. You are guilty.” She used the remainder of her three-minute speaking time to hold her sign aloft, which read “Boycott Israel.”