Liberal Ann Arbor Celebrates a Weakened Non-Discrimination Ordinance
Here’s the bottom line: the Ann Arbor Jewish community, embarrassed in a court show-down with activist/doctor Catherine Wilkerson, and frustrated in their attempts to stop her protests with Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends in front of Beth Israel Congregation, got her fired from her job as a physician at the Packard Community Clinic. They did this in the usual gangster fashion: Warn the Clinic that they could expect drastically reduced funding and other support from the Jewish community if they didn’t get rid of her, and the rest is history: they cried “Thank you sir”, and Catherine was gone.
About that time (2008) members of the Committee to Defend Catherine Wilkerson, with the support of the local ACLU, appealed to Ann Arbor’s Human Right Committee (HRC), which now hosts a founding member of Michigan Friends of the Israeli “Defense” Forces as one of its seven commissioners. How’s that for an expression of Human Rights? This was the same Human Rights Commission that was eviscerated by Mayor John Hieftje after they unanimously passed a resolution in 2003 calling for a cessation of military aid to Israel. (Note: after the practicing commissioners were eliminated from their posts, a new batch overturned – again by a unanimous vote in 2007 – the resolution passed by their predecessors.)
Our appeal was for the HRC to fight for practitioners of the First Amendment and not let an employee’s political activities OUTSIDE the workplace property and OUTSIDE working hours allow an employer to terminate that individual. We recognize that the HRC did in fact make an effort to correct this violation of one’s 1A rights, but feel they didn’t go far enough, and took their time doing it. This writer spoke at the Council meeting where the new ordinance replaced the old, and outlined some of the deficiencies contained therein (text below signature.)
Question for Josh Ruebner
Josh’s group, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, is now bonding with those in support of Ferguson, with their Palestine2Ferguson campaign, “as part of our commitment to confronting racism and bigotry in all its forms.” Yet, under its “US Campaign Anti-Racism Principles”, Zionism is not listed with other forms of racism and bigotry. We remind Josh that the United Nations General Assembly found Zionism to be a form of racism in 1975 and we ask him: Why doesn’t the US Campaign list Zionism as racism, while claiming anti-Semitism is?
Politically Correct Commissars Say ‘Nyet’ to Criticism of Jews
Our friend Michael has not only stood vigil with JWPF, but has held his own vigil in front of Temple Bonai Shalom in Boulder Colorado. He participated in a “block the boat” action in Oakland, California this weekend and carried his sign pictured below. For those who cannot upload the photo below, it reads “Gaza? Jews killed thousands! End Israel” and contained a hand sketch of an anti-Israel flag.
For this open expression of opinion, Michael was treated to a woman’s outrage who said “That’s really offensive. We don’t want you to show that. You should take it down”. When Michael stated that he preferred to carry it, he was “ambushed” by two men, who pushed him, stole his sign and destroyed it. As British friend F commented: “No one has any difficulty saying ‘the Jews’ are particularly talented, intelligent, compassionate, musical etc, or that they have disproportionately contributed to Western civilisation. But if you say anything negative about Jews, woe betide you.” A second Brit, G, chimed in with “if a Zionist is a Jew, it is anti-Semitic to mention that; if an anti-Zionist is a Jew, it is mandatory to point it out.”
Isn’t it time to stand up against this outrageous behavior of those Jewish leaders who censor others while demanding their own voices be heard, those gate keepers who bring hidden agendas to the game, and those who lament a false victim status but secretly campaign for the continued existence of a Jewish supremacist state? Michael allows us to see this Trojan horse “leadership” and we say to him: Good Job!
Oct. 18 – Seven vigilers
Oct. 25 – Seven vigilers
We support the full and immediate Right of Return for Palestinians.
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
Ann Arbor City Council Meeting
October 20, 2014 [392 words]
Agenda Item PH-1 Non-Discrimination Ordinance
Six years ago the Committee to Defend Catherine Wilkerson went to the Human Right Commission with a complaint. It is our understanding that Ms. Wilkerson was fired from her job as a physician at the Packard Community Clinic in part because of her off-work political protests with those of us advocating for Palestinian rights. Our complaint to the Human Rights Commission was to address the mistreatment Ms. Wilkerson suffered as well as the chilling effect her firing had upon other members of our group.
Although the Commission had started to reflect upon possible changes to the Non-Discrimination ordinance, I believe it was our request that gave the impetus to the changes before Council tonight. While we are pleased that the ordinance has language that makes it more difficult for an employer to dismiss an employee for issues concerning that employee’s political beliefs, we feel it necessary to highlight possible loopholes which could permit another Wilkerson firing.
To recap quickly: a new work contract in February 2007 was suddenly presented to Ms. Wilkerson which she was asked to sign. The new contract stipulated she would not join in political protests either on or off work time, on or off work property. When she refused to sign the document she was fired. When I tell that story to friends they almost all say “that cannot happen; we have laws protecting employees”.
But happen it did, and that’s why we took the issue to the Human Rights Commission. I would like to raise a few points in regard to the language contained in this proposal.
First, I would note that of all the 29 characteristics that the ordinance addresses, only one is singled out for exclusion, and that one is political beliefs. The proposed wording states that “With regard to employment, an individual’s political beliefs that interfere or threaten to interfere with his or her job performance are specifically excluded from this protection.”
Secondly, while although an employer might find it slightly more difficult to dismiss an employee based on this revised ordinance, he/she need only convince an arbiter that the employee’s off-the-job political activities merely “threaten” their job performance. We would hope that a final draft of this ordinance would clearly support the rights of employees to freely engage in lawful political expression and other lawful conduct that does not interfere with job performance.