City officials call for divestment and boycott of Israel, a first in the state

A large gathering of protestors came to Hamtramck over two years ago calling for Israel to stop its invasion of Gaza. Hamtramck City Councilmembers and the mayor made history when it called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. City officials once again made history last week by calling for the divestment of Israel. File photo


By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck made history last week.
As it was widely reported in local media, Hamtramck’s mayor and city council passed a resolution calling for the city to pull out of any financial investment in Israel, and also called for a general boycott of, and sanctions on, the country.
The resolution, which was partly prepared by Bill Meyer, a self-described peace activist, is part of a national movement calling for the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” (BDS) of Israel.
Hamtramck is the first municipality in the state to take such action, and the third city in the nation to do so.
Two California cities recently took a similar action.
City Councilmember Mohammed Hassan said he is not supporting the resolution just because he is a Bengali and a Muslim, but instead:
“As a human being, I’m supporting this,” he said.
The mayor and city council are all-male and all-Muslim.
Hassan went on to question why the American government is “supporting terrorist people to kill innocent kids. That’s why I call them terrorists.”
Mayor Pro Tem Abu Musa said that what the Israeli government is doing is committing is genocide.
“We’ll do everything possible to make Palestine freedom, and free from the Israeli genocide,” he said.
Mayor Amer Ghalib said that a majority of Americans are against Israeli’s invasion into Gaza, where over 35,000 Palestinians have died, according to various media reports.
(The most recent polls show that just over 50 percent of the American public oppose the ongoing Israel invasion, which began last October after Hamas invaded Israel and killed over 1,200 people, taking over 200 more as hostages.)
The U.S. has been sending Israel military supplies, although President Biden has been insisting on a ceasefire, and has recently offered a ceasefire plan.
For the mayor, that is not good enough.
“Our government, of course, does not listen to the concern of the people,” Ghalib said. “It seems like we are ruled by a minority in this country, and that’s a problem. The voice of the people is not being heard.”
Ghalib also lashed out at “neighboring countries” near Israel, saying that they too “are involved to support Israelis.”
Without mentioning Hamas, which the U.S. considers a Palestinian terrorist organization, Ghalib said Palestine is “fighting for a good cause. Some people call them ‘terrorists,’ which doesn’t make no sense.”
At this point, Ghalib said, “the only ethical exit for the Israelis is to declare defeat and give it up and accept the exchange of prisoners and leave the people to live in their land.”
The council, except for Councilmember Khalil Refai and Muhtasin Sadman, who are both out of the country, unanimously voted in support of their resolution, to applause of a number of people attending the meeting.
The resolution reads, in part:
“Palestinians are currently subjected to the Israeli campaign of genocide and starvation, plus the mass erasure of all means of human survival in Gaza; and millions of Palestinians have lived under Israeli apartheid and denial for millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants the rights to return back to homes from which they were uprooted (UN Resolution 194);
“And the BDS movement calls upon international civil society organizations, governments, and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against apartheid Israel, similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. …”
There appears to be a snag, however, in Hamtramck’s resolution. As the Detroit Free Press pointed out, back in 2017, then-Governor Rick Snyder (a Republican) signed a law preventing the state having public contracts with anyone boycotting or divesting from a “strategic partner” of the nation, of which Israel is considered one.
City Manager Max Garbarino said that he did not know whether the city has any direct or indirect investment into Israel. However, the city does receive federal and state grants that could be the result of various investments, including Israel.
A visitor to last Tuesday’s council meeting, Dr. Nidal Jiboor, who is a Palestinian-American with a medical practice in Dearborn, praised the council for passing the resolution.
“Thanks for helping America be on the right side of history, despite the intentional criminal intent of President Joseph Biden, Secretary of State Anthony Blicken and Lloyd Austin (Secretary of Defense),” Jiboor said.
He said Biden and the others should be arrested by the International Court.
“Biden deserves this legacy as a war criminal,” Jiboor said, comparing Biden to Hitler.
He again thanked the mayor and council, saying:
“Thank you for trying to make America great again for the first time because America has never been great. It committed genocide against the natives and enslaved the blacks.”
Posted Jun 7, 2024

One Response to City officials call for divestment and boycott of Israel, a first in the state

  1. Mark M Koroi

    June 7, 2024 at 10:17 pm

    I was one of five citizens at public commentary who spoke in favor of the BDS resolution.

    Dr. Nidal Jboor is with the organization Doctors Against Genocide. Hassan Nawwash of Detroit was a second person who is Palestinian-American who also addressed City Council during public commentary period.

    The proposed resolution was drafted by Matthew Clark of Jewish Voice For Peace. Bill Meyer of Michigan Peace Council also spoke in favor of the resolution at public commenatary. The final language of the resolution was vetted by City Attorney Odeh Merouhe and the mayor was instrumental in having the proposed resolution placed on the City Council agenda for the meeting.

    The passage of the resolution was covered by USA Today and other major periodicals worldwide.

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