Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Protesters ask new Ann Arbor City Council member to spearhead resolution to 'boycott Israel' "

"Protesters ask new Ann Arbor City Council member to spearhead resolution to 'boycott Israel' "

ANNARBOR.COM (Ann Arbor, Michigan newspaper)

November 21, 2012


A small group of anti-Israel protesters put Chuck Warpehoski on the spot Monday night during his first meeting as a member of the Ann Arbor City Council.

Referencing his background as director of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, they called on him to use his new position on council to push for an official city boycott of Israel. They called on him specifically because his nonprofit group already passed a similar resolution.
Speaking during the public comment period at the start of the meeting were frequent protesters Blaine Coleman, Mozhgan Savabieasfahani and Henry Herskovitz.

"I'm here because I'm hopeful that Mr. Chuck Warpehoski will spearhead a citywide boycott of Israel and stop arming the racist state of Israel, so that it is no longer able to slaughter children," Savabieasfahani said...

...Coleman used more graphic imagery, calling Israel a "Nazi state."

"Tonight as we meet here, Israel is bludgeoning Gaza with unimaginable numbers of weaponry," he said. "One of the most powerful military machines on earth, Israel, the fourth biggest military machine on earth, is bludgeoning a tiny, helpless strip of land called the Gaza strip where people are packed like sardines."

Coleman referenced a resolution adopted by Warpehoski's group in May 2003 that called for "arms divestment and cessation of U.S. military aid to Israel." In the resolution, ICPJ pledged to work with various groups — including the city of Ann Arbor and University of Michigan — to use their influence to encourage the U.S. government to suspend its military aid and arms sales to Israel and to divest from all companies that manufacture or sell arms and other military hardware to Israel.

"Again, I call on the City Council to pass a resolution to boycott the apartheid state of Israel," Coleman said Monday night, suggesting Warpehoski should put the ICPJ resolution into action. "As I've said before, the trillions of dollars the United States has spent on killing Muslims, on killing Arabs, should be spent instead on rebuilding Detroit and rebuilding the inner cities of the United States."

Warpehoski and other city officials did not respond to the protesters during the meeting, but they shared their thoughts with during interviews later in the night....

...Warpehoski said it's true that ICPJ did pass a resolution taking a stand against military spending and military investment in Israel.

"But we're a peace group," he said. "We don't think the U.S. should be giving military arms to any country, so yes, we have concerns about military spending with Israel...."

...Below are two videos of the anti-Israel protesters in action. The first video is from a demonstration Tuesday at U-M. The second is from an appearance before the City Council in 2009.

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