Monday, December 12, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

University of Michigan student government bans any comparison of the Israeli army to the Ku Klux Klan:

"Michigan Student Association accused of stifling speech on Israel-Palestine"

Dearborn, Michigan

December 10-16, 2011; page 15:

ANN ARBOR — A resolution passed by the Michigan Student Association aimed at quelling "vulgar or offense language" or "hate speech" was utilized on Dec. 6, 2011 against an activist who has worked for years with others in the area for the passage of a divestment resolution against products supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine at the University of Michigan.

An offense against Blaine Coleman was issued by Assembly Speaker Matt Eral according to a report in The Michigan Daily after the activist compared the Israeli military to the Ku Klux Klan.

"Anyone wearing the Israeli army uniform is a Ku Klux Klansman who does not deserve any place at any table in polite society because they are racist killers trying to break the back of Palestine, and they have succeeded," he reportedly said.

Coleman recently made headlines after his ad proposing a "Boycott of Israeli Apartheid" on Ann Arbor buses was denied, prompting the ACLU to file a lawsuit against the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority.

Offenses are used to prevent speech at the meetings, with the second one leading to the end of allotted speaking time and the revoking of speech privileges for that meeting. Five offenses results in being banned from the meetings.

Omar Hashwi, a board member, defended the rights of Coleman and his wife Mozghan to speak at the meeting last week. Mozghan was given three offenses for saying that "there is a fan of the Israeli military among you," in reference to an assembly representative who wore an Israeli army sweatshirt.

"She simply pointed out that there is a fan of the Israeli military in the room which was a fact and the rest were silenced as she attempted to give her reasoning," Hashwi said.

His motion was denied, but not before he spoke up in favor of their speech.

"I can't even begin to express to you how mad I am right now that somebody here just got completely silenced for pointing out that somebody's wearing a certain shirt. Somebody's wearing a shirt, so they weren't allowed to talk even further. I'm so mad. I knew this was going to happen when we passed these rules," Hashwi said.

"Saying that somebody in the room is wearing a shirt bans them from speaking? I'm here shaking because I'm also afraid but I will express my opinion. I will always express my opinion to support Palestine and to support people that have been treated unfairly here today and in the past."

Daniel Cobert, another representative, said that the first two speakers at the meeting who spoke about Palestine and Israel spoke civilly but said that Mozghan did not, and that she continued to fight the objection and speak out of turn.

E-mails to other representatives who supported the offenses against her were not returned as of press time.

Hashwi said he didn't agree with the methods of Coleman and his wife but said he did not believe that the comparison between the Israeli army and the KKK constituted a violation of the rules.

"There will always be people who disagree but that gives us no right to take away their speaking privileges," he said.

At the beginning of the current group's terms, a student organization on campus called "Practice What You Preach" authored a resolution urging the University to not make any future investment in what were deemed to be socially unjust companies. They targeted four companies including Hanes Brand, Northrup Grumman (which was alleged to provide military weaponry to Israel to be used against Palestinians), BP, and Monsanto.

The resolution fell two votes short of passing, however.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lawsuit for refusing "Boycott Israel" ad on buses

"Political activist sues Ann Arbor Transportation Authority for refusing advertisements"

DETROIT FREE PRESS (Detroit, Michigan)
Nov. 28, 2011

A Washtenaw County political activist sued the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority for refusing to post his ads decrying Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

The ACLU of Michigan filed the suit today in U.S. District Court in Detroit on behalf of Blaine Coleman, who has tried for nearly a year to get his advertisement — “Boycott Israel, Boycott Apartheid” — displayed on city buses traveling along the University of Michigan campus.

The ads feature a skull attached to what appears to be a spider’s body holding other skulls and human bones.

The lawsuit said the transit authority’s board of directors rejected the ad this month saying it violates transit policy because it would defame or likely hold a person or group up to scorn or ridicule.

ACLU lawyer Daniel Korobkin said in the lawsuit that the refusal violates Coleman’s constitutional free speech and due process rights. He wants U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith to declare the policy unconstitutional.

A message for comment was left with the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority.


"ACLU files lawsuit against AATA over rejection of ad"


November 29, 2011

"The Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority concerning the company’s refusal to sell advertising space to an Ann Arbor activist who promotes boycotting Israel.

"Following AATA’s refusal of activist Blaine Coleman’s ad, which was intended to read “Boycott Israel, Boycott Apartheid,” the ACLU lawsuit claims AATA’s advertising policy, which requires all ads to be “in good taste” and bans advertising that is “likely to hold up to scorn or ridicule a person or group of persons,” is in violation of the First Amendment due to its “vague” nature. The ACLU is calling for a judge to rule the policy unconstitutional.The lawsuit also states that Coleman’s ad should not be discriminated against because of its controversial nature...."


"Ann Arbor bus agency sued over anti-Israel ad:
"ACLU sues bus agency in liberal Ann Arbor after anti-Israel ad is rejected"

Detroit, Michigan
November 28, 2011

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against an Ann Arbor bus agency after it refused to allow an ad that says, "Boycott Israel."

The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Detroit claims the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority is violating the free-speech rights of Blaine Coleman, who wants to put the ad on buses near the University of Michigan.

The lawsuit says the bus agency's board met Nov. 17 and rejected the ad, claiming it violates a policy against ads that ridicule people or groups.

Coleman's ad would say, "Boycott Israel, Boycott Apartheid." He believes the Israeli government treats Palestinians unfairly.

Ann Arbor Transportation Authority Chair Jesse Bernstein said the agency is not commenting because the case is in litigation.


"ACLU sues AATA over refusal of anti-Israel bus advertisement"

Nov. 28, 2011

"The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority and CEO Michael Ford over the agency’s refusal to accept an advertisement calling for a boycott of Israel from pro-Palestinian activist Blaine Coleman of Ann Arbor.

"The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Detroit alleges AATA violated Coleman’s First Amendment right to free speech and 14th Amendment right to due process. It argues AATA’s policy is vague and overly broad. It asks the court to order AATA to display the advertisement under the same terms offered to other advertisers and to award Coleman damages, court costs and reasonable attorney fees....

"...The lawsuit alleges that AATA “almost never rejects advertisements for failing to comply with its advertising policy” and offers several examples to support that claim. As evidence, it notes that advertising policy prohibits ads supporting or opposing any candidate for political office or any ballot proposal, but the lawsuit alleges AATA ran political campaign advertisements supporting Joan Lowenstein and Margaret Conners for district court judge in 2008.

"The suit also notes that AATA has accepted ads from religious organizations and run ads with messages such as 'Breastfeeding makes babies smarter,” and “Two-Faced Landlords Can Be Stopped. Housing Discrimination Is Against the Law....' "


"Lawsuit Filed Over Rejected AATA Bus Ad"

Nov. 28, 2011

"On Nov. 28, 2011, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a lawsuit against the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority in U.S. District Court over an advertisement the transit agency refused to accept for the sides of its buses. [.pdf of complaint]
ACLU of Michigan staff attorney Dan Korobkin told The Chronicle by phone that on Nov. 29 a motion will be filed with the court asking for a preliminary injunction, to compel AATA to run the ad.

"The ad features the text 'Boycott Israel' and 'Boycott Apartheid,' with an image depicting a scorpion-like creature with a skull for a head. At its Nov. 17 meeting, the AATA board voted to affirm the rejection of the ad, inviting Blaine Coleman – whom the ACLU is representing in the case – and the ACLU to discuss the advertising policy. The board’s vote had come in response to a letter the board had received in August 2011 asking the AATA to reverse the decision to reject the ad. [Chronicle coverage of the board's decision, the legal issues and some other similar cases are included in a report of that meeting: "Bus Ad Rejection Affirmed"]...."


"Ann Arbor bus agency sued over anti-Israel ad"


Associated Press
2:25 p.m. CST, November 28, 2011

ANN ARBOR, Mich.— The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against an Ann Arbor bus agency after it refused to allow an ad that says, "Boycott Israel."

The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Detroit claims the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority is violating the free-speech rights of Blaine Coleman, who wants to put the ad on buses near the University of Michigan.

The lawsuit says the bus agency's board met Nov. 17 and rejected the ad, claiming it violates a policy against ads that ridicule people or groups.

Coleman's ad would say, "Boycott Israel, Boycott Apartheid." He believes the Israeli government treats Palestinians unfairly. A message seeking comment was left with the chairwoman of the bus agency.


"Ann Arbor bus agency sued over anti-Israel ad"

November 28, 2011

Same AP article in the Columbus, Indiana Republic, at:


"Ann Arbor bus agency sued over anti-Israel ad"

November 28, 2011

Same article in New England Cable News (NECN), in Newton, Massachusetts, at:


"Ann Arbor bus agency sued over anti-Israel ad"

Same AP article in (Michigan news)
November 28, 2011


"Ann Arbor bus agency sued over anti-Israel ad"

November 28, 2011

Same AP article in WNEM-TV News
(Saginaw, Michigan)


"Ann Arbor bus agency sued over anti-Israel ad"

Same AP article on CBS Detroit . com (WWJ TV News)

November 28, 2011
(Detroit, Michigan)



"Ann Arbor bus agency sued over anti-Israel ad"

Same AP article on WNDU-TV
South Bend, Indiana

Nov. 28, 2011


"Ann Arbor bus agency sued over anti-Israel ad"

Same AP article on WLNS-TV
Lansing, Michigan

Nov. 28. 2011


ACLU files motion regarding "Boycott Israel" bus advertisement

"ACLU Files Motion in AATA Bus Ad Lawsuit"

ANN ARBOR CHRONICLE (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Nov. 29, 2011

"On Nov. 29, 2011, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed with the U.S. District Court (Eastern District of Michigan) a motion for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order, to compel the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority to accept an advertisement it had previously rejected. [.pdf of Nov. 29 ACLU motion]

"The previous day, on Nov. 28, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of activist Blaine Coleman, who had sought to purchase an advertisement for the sides of AATA buses. The AATA refused to run the ad. The proposed ad includes the text, “Boycott ‘Israel’ Boycott Apartheid,” and an image depicting a scorpion-like creature with a skull for a head.... [.pdf of image and text of proposed ad] "


Monday, November 7, 2011

Demonstrations at the University of Michigan and at Wayne State University, against spokesmen for "Israel"--

Above: At the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus.

Above: At Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, November 1, 2011.

Above: At Wayne State University, November 1, 2011


News media coverage:

ANN ARBOR — Last year, the a coalition of University of Michigan student organizations set off a national college trend with their walk-out on a pair of Israeli soldiers at a speaking tour on campus that many deemed a PR campaign to "whitewash" UN war crimes accusations.

On Monday, October 24, many of the same students along with new supporters continued their trend as more than 60 students staged a silent, peaceful walkout of Israeli deputy consul Ishmael Khaldi.

"History has proven that there's no use having a dialogue with an occupying power," Students Allied for Freedom and Equality Education Chair Abbas Alawieh said about the decision to walk out on Khaldi, leaving only about 15 audience members in the Kalamazoo Room of the Michigan League building for his speech.

"Our position on this issue is, end the occupation and that will be the end of the problems (in the region)..."


Photos of the Wayne State University protests are on the Web at:

First YouTube video from Wayne State is at:

Second YouTube video from Wayne State is at:


From 2003, the Wayne State University Student Council's resolution for total divestment against Israel:


Friday, September 9, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Israeli Apartheid = South African Apartheid

The Israeli state is racist to the bone.

That was well recognized by Black American human rights advocates by 1970, when this advertisement appeared in the New York Times:

Here is an example of the extreme racism nurtured by the Israeli state. This editorial cartoon appeared in Ha'aretz, which has a public image as the most influential Israeli newspaper, with the most educated readership:

The cartoon pictures African leaders as cannibals who eat Israeli diplomats.
This cartoon was published in Haaretz on January 12, 1973.
The cartoon's menu includes "Ambassador Hot Pot" and "Chopped Consul".


Apartheid Israel helped Apartheid South Africa murder Africans

The intimate alliance between Apartheid South Africa and Apartheid Israel is illustrated in these photos from meetings of their top officials in 1975 and 1976:

Above: Israeli defense minister Shimon Peres, South African Prime Minister B.J. Vorster, and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, in occupied Jerusalem, April 1976.

Above: Israeli defense minister Shimon Peres, and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, meet with high officials of the apartheid regime of South Africa, in occupied Jerusalem, April 1975.

Above: Vorster meets with the top Israeli political leaders: Begin, Dayan, and Rabin, in occupied Jerusalem, 1976.

That was the year after Israel had joined the South African invasion of Angola.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Campaign to boycott all Israeli products at a New York City Food Co-op:

The campaign to boycott all Israeli products at a Brooklyn, New York Food Co-op:


"Group Wants Park Slope Food Coop to Consider Boycott of Israeli Products"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011
By Luna Lin
On WNYC (New York), at:

"A group aligned with the B.D.S. movement wants Brooklyn's Park Slope Food Coop to consider a move toward a boycott of Israeli products.

"Opposing opinions on issues around Israel and Palestine have long been exchanged in the coop's in-store newspaper, the Linewaiters' Gazette.

"But on July 26, the group Park Slope Food Coop Members for Israeli Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions proposed that the coop's board vote on whether or not to hold a referendum to poll the coop's 15,000 plus members on the issue.

" 'I think that's a peaceful way to get the message across,' said member Brenda Iijima. 'It's controversial and I understand everyone's sensitivity. But I think what's happening in Palestine is just unconscionable and sad. We are directly responsible for it in the United States...'

"...The Park Slope Food Coop isn't the only food coop to consider a B.D.S. endorsement. The Olympia Food Co-op's board voted to institute a B.D.S. boycott last year. But the membership of the People's Food Co-op in Ann Arbor, Michigan voted down a motion to support the B.D.S. movement in 2007 by a ratio of 3 to 1, as did the Food Co-Op Port Townsend in Washington because its rules don't permit the coop to boycott products from an entire country.

"Doug Walter, who has been the membership director at the Davis Food Co-op in California for 22 years, said his coop's board voted down the endorsement because only 15 percent of its members supported the move..."


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Boycotting 'Israel' at another Food Co-op --

Boycotting Israel at another Food Co-op:

See article below.

"Soy Vey! Could a Hummus Fight Kill the Co-op?,
"BroBos pick sides as Park Slope Food Co-op considers Israeli products ban;
"Dershowitz rends garments: we will ‘make them pay!’
"Nobel laureate Tutu backs boycott"

August 3, 2011
New York Observer

See full article on the Web at:

Brief excerpts are below:

"Israel and the Park Slope Food Co-op have a lot in common. Both were founded in part by Jewish socialists. Both are governed by a raucous democracy with laws and rituals to rival the Talmud. Both have a soft spot for hummus and couscous.

"And now both are plagued by the Palestinian question.

"Last week, the co-op held its first open discussion about whether or not to endorse B.D.S., an international movement that calls for the boycott, divestment and sanctioning of Israeli products and companies. Supporters see B.D.S. as a nonviolent way to attack Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, while critics claim the movement stinks of anti-Semitism. The issue has been batted around the co-op for years, from the bulk aisles to the letters section of the biweekly Linewaiters’ Gazette, house organ of the organic house...

"When the Gaza flotilla fiasco occurred last summer, it inflamed the issue yet again, which led a group of about 20 co-op members to push for a referendum on B.D.S., the subject of last week’s meeting..."


South African students endorse boycott against Apartheid "Israel"--

South African student bodies slam "Israeli Apartheid Agents" and endorse nationwide Israel boycott



South African student bodies slam "Israeli Apartheid Agents" and endorse nationwide Israel boycott

This afternoon at a joint press conference held at the student center of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, national representatives of the South African Union of Students (SAUS), the South African Student Congress (SASCO) and the Young Communist League (YCL) slammed the pending trip of "Israeli Apartheid agents" to South Africa.

The Israeli mission to South African campuses is expected to arrive on the 11th of August 2011. Palestinian students have written to South African colleagues asking them to challenge and boycott the Israeli delegation.

Today's press conference was hosted by South Africa's oldest, largest and most representative student bodies - the South African Students Congress* and the South African Union of Students**. Furthermore, members of the University of Johannesburg and University of the Witwatersrand's Student Representative Councils were also present.

An extract of the press statement is produced below:

"We, students and youth of a post Apartheid South Africa, who bear the scars of a racist history and who continue to fight for complete liberation, have a duty and responsibility to stand in solidarity with those facing oppression worldwide. Israeli apartheid is one such form of oppression.

"Israeli media boast that a mission of 150 Israeli propagandists will be sent to universities in 5 countries to fix Israel's "serious image problems". The Israeli mission will begin on South African campuses on the 11th of August, with a delegation that includes at least two aides from the Israeli parliament. A delegation member was clear about the intention of their trip: "We have to create some doubt in their [South African students'] minds."

"Don't patronize us! We lived apartheid, we suffered apartheid, we know what apartheid is, we recognise apartheid when we see it. And when we see Israel, we see a regime that practices apartheid. Israel's image needs no changing; its policies do! We urge Israeli students to instead join the growing and inspiring internal resistance to their regime, particularly the boycott from within movement, rather than waste time and money on these propaganda trips to deceive us Black students, South Africans have no need for these Muldergate-like trips.

"A "major focus of the Israeli trip will be the University of Johannesburg (UJ). On 1st April 2011 UJ's Senate, with the full backing of UJ's Student Representative Council, terminated its institutional relationship with Israel's Ben-Gurion University. Indeed, UJ set an academic boycott of Israel precedent that all other South African and international universities can follow.

"Following UJ's decision, and in response to a letter sent to us by Palestinian students, we urge all SRCs, student groups and other youth structures to strategize and implement a boycott of Israel and its campaigns. We declare that all SA campuses must be Apartheid-Israel free zones.

"As with the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, international solidarity is key in overcoming Israeli Apartheid. In Nelson Mandela's words: 'It behooves all South Africans, erstwhile beneficiaries of generous international support, to stand up and be counted among those contributing actively to the cause of freedom and justice. We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.'


A. On Education

1. The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories has had disastrous effects on access to education for Palestinians. Palestinian students face poverty, harassment and humiliation as a result of Israeli policy and actions.

2. Israel mounted direct attacks on Palestinian education, including the complete closures of two Palestinian universities in 2003 and the targeting and bombing of more than 60 primary and secondary schools during the Israeli attacks on Gaza in 2009.

3. Israel's assault on the education of Palestinians is illegal under international law. The right to education is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments.

4. The Israeli blockade of Gaza has had a detrimental impact on students. Gaza's electricity supply is controlled by Israel and shut-down for several hours most days, making it difficult for students to study. Moreover, the blockade means insufficient quantities of educational equipment, such as paper, desks and books, reach students.

B. On Israeli Apartheid

5. Several of our senior leaders have compared Israel to Apartheid South Africa, including Comrades Kgalema Mothlantle, Blade Nzimande, Zwelinzima Vavi, Rob Davies, Jeremy Cronin, Ahmed Kathrada, Winnie Mandela, Ronnie Kasrils, Denis Goldberg, the late Kader Asmal and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

6. Both the former and current United Nations Special Rapporteurs for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories have requested that Israel be investigated for the crime of apartheid.

7. In an official report commissioned by the South African government in 2009, the Human Sciences Research Council confirmed that Israel, by its policies and practices, is guilty of the crime of apartheid.

8. In November 2010, South Africa's Department of International Relations and Cooperation called upon the Israeli government to cease their activities that are reminiscent of apartheid forced removals.

C. On Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)

8. Palestinian civil society, including student groups, have called for a policy of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel until it abides by international law.

9. This call has the endorsement of the largest and most representative coalition of civil and political society in Palestine. The call also has the support of a growing number of progressive Israeli groups.

10. In 2010, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Professor Richard Falk, said: It is politically and morally appropriate, as well as legally correct, to accord maximum support to the BDS campaign.

11. COSATU, South Africa's largest trade union federation was one of the first unions to endorse the BDS call. Subsequently, numerous other international trade unions have also adopted a pro-BDS position.

12. Several international groups have began to advance the BDS call in the cultural, consumer, sports, economic and academic spheres. Earlier this year the largest student union in Europe, the ULU, passed a motion in support of BDS."

South African Union of Students, South African Student Congress and the Young Communist League of South Africa


* SASCO is South Africa's oldest and largest student organization.

** The SA Union of Students (SAUS) comprises all South African university Student Representative Councils and is the most representative student union in the country.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Students demand divestment against Israeli occupation, at Evergreen State College:

"...we will push you until you divest."

"Board of trustees told to divest"

COOPER POINT JOURNAL (Evergreen State College)

by Erin Finch

The Evergreen State College Board of Trustees’ May 11 meeting was mobbed with students and community members full of opinions on the campus divestment movement. The Library boardroom was at capacity, with students and faculty standing along the walls, spilling out of the room to outside of the doors, straining to hear the comments.

The public comment section of the board meeting was not designated as a discussion of college divestment. However, all but two of the comments voiced during the hour-and-a-half related to this issue.

Those who signed up to make a public comment were given roughly two minutes to speak their piece, while the board remained silent for the duration.

The overwhelming majority of speakers voiced varying levels of support for the divestment resolution passed in 2010 by campus-wide election. While some gave tentative support, calling upon the board to take the vote seriously and debate it openly, others took a more radical position.

Evergreen alum Anna-Marie Murano vehemently demanded that the Trustees obey the student election supporting divestment. “So far, the board of trustees has failed us. The president [of the college] has failed us,” she said.

“I ask you, as people in power, to follow our lead. You don’t need to lead, just follow us. There are plenty of us that will stand in front of you. Look at all the people here today,” continued Murano.

“This is the beginning. This is not the end, this is the beginning, and we will push you until you divest. We will divest. I will tell you: Red Square will start looking like Tahrir Square unless you start doing something,” said Murano, wrapping up her comment dramatically....

...At end of the comment section, Nathan Brockett, the student member of the Board of Trustees, expressed his desire to take some kind of action even if divestment is not an option.