Earlier this week, a Federal Court appeal stated that the pro-Palestine protests outside the Beth Israel Congregation in Ann Arbor, Michigan are protected by the constitution’s First Amendment, and thus, can go on.
A major cause for distress amidst the Jewish community that congregates at the synagogue, the protests have occurred on a weekly basis since 2003, with people holding signs that say “Jewish Power Corrupts,” “Stop Funding Israel” and “End the Palestinian Holocaust.”
According to Judge Jeffrey Sutton, “the congregants have not alleged that the protesters ever blocked them from using their synagogue or that the protests were even audible from inside the building.” Whereas members of Beth Israel Congregation, including some Holocaust survivors, said the protests have interfered with their Saturday worship and caused emotional distress.
The brief in support of the protesters was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued that the protests are entitled to protection even if “offensive, upsetting and distasteful.”
Sutton said the proposed remedy (a 1,000-foot (305-meter) buffer and limits on signs) would likely violate the First Amendment, adding that “The key obstacle is the robust protections that the First Amendment affords to nonviolent protests on matters of public concern.”