Protesting the Fed in Ann Arbor
Last Sunday saw nine peace and justice activists at an entrance to the Washtenaw Community College, where the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor was holding its annual “Main Event” – a fund raiser that supports the apartheid Jewish state. We were joined by Michael Rabb, organizer of the only other synagogue protest group in the world (to our knowledge) in Boulder, Colorado.
Citizens, Taxpayers, and the First Amendment
Last Sunday also witnessed a protest-within-a-protest when Michael Rabb and this writer decided to bring our message onto the campus of Washtenaw Community College, and closer to the Morris Lawrence Building where the Main Event was being held. There are many vehicle entrances to this campus, and we wanted our message to be viewed by as many Federation donors as possible.
We were informed by private security – hired by the Fed themselves – and WCC Campus Security that the rules created by the Board of Trustees prohibited the expression of our First Amendment rights on the campus of this publicly funded institution. According to their “Policy on Student Speech and Expressive Conduct”:
In promoting freedom of expression among its students, the Board reaffirms its commitment to preserving College property as a nonpublic forum as to non-students. Unlike the public streets, sidewalks, and parks, the property, buildings, or facilities owned or controlled by the College are not open for assembly, speech, or other activities.
[Editor's note: Inquiring minds want to know how freedom of speech is promoted by shielding students from the views of non-students]. Michael commented to WCC Security personnel that as a citizen of the United States, he had every right to engage in political free speech on any publicly funded campus. And this writer produced his “[Property] Tax Bill Breakdown for 2013 Summer” and showed WCC Security the line item where it states “COMM COLLEGE … $355.67″
It was explained to Michael and me that neither the private security company nor Campus Security could cite or arrest us “trespassers”, and the Washtenaw County Sheriff was called. After one half hour of protesting on the campus itself, our protest time limit expired and we departed campus property before the deputies arrived, turning the political issue into a moot point.
Next year, however, we are putting Washtenaw Community College on notice: When we protest the Federation (or any other Zionist organization renting space on your campus) you may have us cited or arrested for violating Policy 8018 and we will challenge the legal status of your policy in court.
Remembering Sol Metz
A light rain fell upon the vigilers this Saturday, prompting this writer to remember long time compatriot, vigiler, and breakfast companion Sol Metz. Often on cool, cloudy days, when Sol would mention the threat of rain, I would – in false braggadocios style – proclaim that “God never rains on the vigils”. And almost always, as clouds passed and we were packing up signs after the vigil, Sol would remark “You really dodged a bullet today, Henry”. Well, the bullet struck last Saturday, and one could not help but believe that somewhere, Sol was chuckling.
Save America; Dump Israel
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends