Protest and Vigil at the Michigan Zionist Organization of America Annual Meeting

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By Jarah Maan

We organized a protest at the Annual Zionist Organization of America board meeting in metro Detroit. The police called me to tell me a counter protest was being held and a sound police presence was going to be there to keep the peace. The parking lot to the hospital across the street was blocked off, and we were not allowed to park at the JCC. We arrived at our planned time to find 150 or so Zionists waving flags and holding signs saying, “Hamas Uses Children as Human Shields,” “Our Bombs Protect Our Children, Their Children Protect Their Bombs” and the like. They had a speaker system playing Israeli music and waving the Israeli flag.

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We assembled across the street, about 200 of us. As we exchanged slogans and chants back and forth, news helicopters started to hover over us.

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We had several speakers from JVP, as well as other activists, calling for an end to the Occupation. The President of the ZOA joined their side. When we started reading the names and ages of the dead Palestinians, some of the pro Zionists began dancing, while others fell silent.

As the list kept going and going, their side started leaving. We were the last ones standing alone, reciting names into the sunset. We ended with a candelight vigil, and the Detroit Light Brigade demonstrated with us at dusk with their letters ‪#‎WAGE‬ LOVE NOT WAR at the forefront.

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Photo: Jarah Maan

The officers shook our hands and some whispered, “Good job” and thanked us for keeping it peaceful. We were from all races and religions, but we were described as, “Palestinians, communists, and leftists” by the Detroit Free Press. Both sides were interviewed by journalists who mostly reported Israeli talking points when the articles came out. The one Arab journal that covered the event wildly exaggerated our numbers, saying we had over a thousand. More photos below by Daymon J Hartley

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