Saturday, August 16, 2014

"Group Calling On Ann Arbor Boycott Of Israel Expected At Monday City Council Meeting"

"Group Calling On Ann Arbor Boycott Of Israel Expected At Monday City Council Meeting"
Aug. 15, 2014
WEMU Radio
Ypsilanti, Michigan


When Ann Arbor City Council meets Monday night they will consider plans to rezone land, money to pay for the creation of a deer management plan, and ordinance changes to the taxi-cab ordinance. The most noise however may come from an item not on the agenda, violence in the middle east.

For more than a decade a group of Ann Arbor residents has been asking for the city to boycott Israel. With the most recent violence in Gaza the issue has heated up in Ann Arbor as well.

At the last City Council meeting Mayor John Hieftje called for a recess and chanting protesters were escorted out by police.

Mozhgan Savabieasfahani says her group wasn't harmful to anyone and will be back at this meeting. She believes city council should at least hold a public hearing on what they want the city to do, "Not purchase anything from Israel.  Ultimately I would like to see all ties with Israel severed, cut as they did with South Africa."

Council member Sabra Briere isn't certain what the city can do to stop violence in the middle east, and isn't expecting anyone from council to propose a public hearing.

City Administrator Steve Powers says public comment requirements and limitations will continue to be shared and the mayor may call for a recess if he believes it's necessary to restore order.



"War in Gaza:
"Israel takes fire from two Seattle City Council members"

Aug. 13, 2014


"Two Seattle City Council members have used their offices to enter debate over the war between Israel and Hamas, one calling for a complete halt of U.S. aid to Israel and the other for a “public briefing” directed at Israel’s military tactics and U.S. weaponry....

"“We call on President Obama, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to issue a formal statement denouncing Israel’s siege and blockade of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank: We also call for an immediate end to all U.S. government military aid for Israel,” said a letter from Sawant, which only she has signed...."


"Tensions mount at city council meeting over ‘Boycott Israel’ proposal"

News article on the Dearborn, Michigan City Council meeting, held on August 12, 2014:
[Next meeting is September 9th at 7:30 pm]

"Tensions mount at city council meeting over ‘Boycott Israel’ proposal"
By Samer Hijazi | Friday, 08.15.2014

DEARBORN – This week’s city council meeting ended on a tense note after several activists asked the city to consider passing a "Boycott Israel" resolution, which ignited a near confrontation with an Israeli supporter who was holding what appeared to be a gun and displaying the Israeli flag. 

The Israeli supporter took the podium at Tuesday’s council meeting to say that he feels like he’s among the minority in Dearborn. 
“What’s disturbing over the last few years in the city of Dearborn is the lack inclusion, the lack of acceptance for other people’s opinion and their ability to express themselves either religiously or politically,” the man said. 
He went on to state that he often receives criticism and backlash for displaying the Israeli flag and protects himself by carrying a gun in public.
“The reason why I carry it is because of the Hamas supporters, Hizbullah supporters and ISIS supporters,” he said.
Following the man’s statements, the meeting erupted in chaos as people began engaging in screaming matches. Council President Susan Dabaja made a quick determination to call an end to the meeting due to safety concerns.
Several activists had traveled from Ann Arbor to speak in front of the city council. Local Arab Americans also attended and displayed signs that read “Stop killing our kids” and “Boycott Apartheid.” Before the Israeli supporter had taken the podium, several other residents spoke. After the activists chanted “Boycott Israel” repeatedly, Ann Arbor-based activist Blaine Coleman addressed the council during the public comments section. Coleman stated that the city should consider boycotting Israel as a top priority, stating that it was a bigger concern to the local community than regulating hookah lounges.
“Stopping Israel from incinerating Gaza today and incinerating Lebanon tomorrow, is about a 1,000 times more important than hookah,” Coleman said. “We ask you to please pass the resolution to boycott all products imported from Israel to the maximum extent allowed by law.”
Dearborn comedian and author Amer Zahr asked the council to boycott major companies that have been affiliated with the siege in Gaza, including Hewlett Packard (HP), Motorola and Caterpillar. 
“The city of Dearborn’s constituents would be overwhelmingly behind this if you held a public hearing about it,” Zahr stated to a round of applause. “We are asking you to open up an inquiry and divest from Israel immediately.” 
Another local resident said the distress residents faced this week from flooded homes as a result of the record-breaking rain on Monday doesn’t pale in comparison to the suffering of families in Gaza. 
“It’s about the destroying of homes. We all felt it yesterday, our basements were destroyed,” the resident, named Osama, said. “But while our basements are under water, they are under fire. This is not their choice. They can’t go to a city council, they are being trapped.”
Councilman Tom Tafelski responded to the audience by stating that the city council does not engage in matters related to international politics. 
“Yes, there are atrocities all over the world; Israel, Palestine, Central America,” Tafelski said. "This body here is at a local level and we have a ton of things we have to deal with. You have representatives that can actually make that impact.”
Tafelski went on to suggest that residents contact their congressional representatives, because if the council were to tackle international politics then it would become a “mini United Nations forum.” 
The activists fired back by proclaiming that change starts at a local level. 
Coleman told the council that it wouldn’t be the first time the city engaged in an international matter. In 2009, the city council had voted unanimously to pass a resolution that condemned the attacks on civilians during a 23-day Gaza war. The resolution urged a truce and an end to the Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip. 
The group of activists plan to bring the “Boycott Israeli resolution” forward again at the next city council meeting on Tuesday, September 9. 



A public hearing is demanded on the Boycott-Israel resolution at the Dearborn, Michigan City Council:

A public hearing is demanded on the Boycott-Israel resolution at Ann Arbor City Council:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Boycott-Israel campaign roars ahead at Ann Arbor City Council, August 2014:

"Ann Arbor protesters call for Israel boycott; mayor says he won't support bid"

"Video: Police escort anti-Israel protesters from Ann Arbor city hall"

"Ann Arbor officials discussing how to deal with anti-Israel protesters disrupting meetings"

The entire Ann Arbor City Council meeting, August 7, 2014 --
The video shows all 8 "Boycott Israel" speakers, at:

After 35 minutes of this, the Mayor cut off the microphone and video, and sent in the police. They expelled all the attendees, as you see here:

"Ann Arbor Protestors call for Israel Boycott at City Hall - 08-07-14"
YouTube video at: