Israeli Divestment And Boycott

IC letter to Jerusalem Post

Read Jerusalem Post op-ed: “A Black Day for the American Green Party
20 December 2005

The Jerusalem Post

To the Editor:

Daniel Orenstein opposes our recent resolution urging divestment from Israel for two main reasons: that the Green Party of the US is out of its league, making a “clumsy foray” into non-environmental concerns; and that we are “disseminating hatred of Israel.” As he and his Green Zionist Alliance have no connection to (and evidence little knowledge of) the Green Party, we welcome this opportunity to educate him and Jerusalem Post readers.

We are the third largest political party in the US, a federation of state Green Parties seeking to renew our democracy by electing candidates to office without the support of corporate donors. Guiding us are four pillars or principles shared by the 90 or more Green Parties around the world–ecological wisdom, social justice, non-violence and participatory democracy.

Ironically, we share Mr. Orenstein’s view that “many . . . environmental problems are rooted in sociopolitical problems,” the most severe, of course, being war. As our website states, Greens offer “real solutions for real problems”–of all kinds, including those of foreign relations. For examples, we opposed the 2005 terrorist bombings in London and Egypt, the war in Iraq, and called for an end to the genocide in Darfur. In that regard, our party’s platform on the Middle East ” recognizes that our greatest contribution to peace in the Middle East will come through our impact on U.S. policy in the region.”

Accordingly, we view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an especially relevant issue for any American political party given our government’s pivotal role in providing Israel with both political cover for its unlawful policies, and financial support–to date over 105 billion of our tax dollars. Which brings us to Mr. Orenstein’s other criticism–that our resolution is “disseminating hatred for Israel.” Again, our platform unequivocally challenges his view: “We reaffirm the right of self-determination for both Palestinians and Israelis, which precludes the self-determination of one at the expense of the other.” Yet, the fact is that self-determination for Israel increasingly comes at the expense of that of Palestinians. Thus, our call for divestment comes from staring at these “facts on the ground”; despite consensus among international human rights monitoring groups like Israel’s B’Tselem, at least 65 UN Security Council resolutions and the 2004 International Court of Justice decision on the Separation Wall against it, Israel, with the critical support of our government, continues to stand above the law. Meanwhile thousands of people are being dispossessed and killed.

In sum, Greens see no hope of non-violently achieving peace, self-determination and security for both Israelis and Palestinians–nor any hope for protecting the natural resources of the land they share–than by bringing the pressure of the international community to bear on Israel through such a divestment movement. In this, we invite Mr. Orenstein to become our ally.

International Committee
Green Party of the US
Washington, DC