17 Feb 2008

Green Party passes Justice for the Palestinians motion

Here is the motion:

Justice for the Palestinians

Conference believes that the plight of the Palestinians is an issue that is central to the ongoing instability and violence in the Middle East. A just and durable peace in the Middle East is impossible without a just resolution to the dispossession of the Palestinian people.

For forty years Israel has colonised Palestine while steadily ethnically cleansing the land of its indigenous population and for forty years has illegally occupied the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights.

Israel is in violation of dozens of UN Resolutions, including Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967, calling for Israeli withdrawal from the lands occupied in the Six Day War.

There are more than 200 settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, all of them illegal under international law. Approximately 400,000 settlers live in the West Bank, including over 220,000 in Occupied East Jerusalem.

Settlement areas, bypass roads and military areas account for more than 79% of the land in the West Bank. Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian land and appropriation of water resources constitutes a theft without compensation for Palestinians. Settlements consume more than 80% of the renewable water resources in the West Bank and Gaza.

About one million Palestinians are citizens of a supposedly democratic Israel, but they are denied many rights of citizens, including the right to acquire land or property. 92 % of the land falls under the administration of the Jewish National Fund, and cannot be sold to non-Jews. As a result the Israeli Arabs who make up 19% of the population own only 4% of the land.

Israeli law allows Palestinian areas to be designated ‘state land.’ In all, there are 38 statutes in force enabling the Israeli state to expropriate Palestinian land.

In order to render already substantial ‘facts on the ground’ irreversible, the Apartheid Wall the Israeli Government is now building snakes deep into the West Bank to effectively annex the illegal settlement blocs into Israel. When finished, the separation zones could leave on the ‘Israeli’ side up to 60% of the West Bank.

Therefore we resolve to:

* Work towards a just solution based on international law and an end to Israeli occupation of the Occupied Territories
* Demand that the blockade on all Occupied Palestinian Territories be lifted and freedom of movement guaranteed
* Campaign for the release all the elected Palestinian parliamentarians kidnapped by the Israeli Army
* Reiterate our call on Israel to allow Palestinians and their families to return to their former homes, or to compensate those unable or unwilling to return.
* Support the Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions made by more than 170 Palestinian civil society organizations and community groups.


Raphael said...


Does it mean, yes or no, that the Green Party in government would enforce a strict boycott of Israel, thereby joining a restricted club of dictatorships (Iran and Syria) ?

If the answer is no, should I understand that actually, this is not part of Green Party policy (i.e. what it would do in government), but rather part of Green Party ethical lifestyle guide, in the category "human rights tokenism".

More comments about the motion can be found on ENGAGE.


meier said...

> Support the Call for Boycott

Ever heard the sentence Kauft nicht bei Juden"?

So: Just think twice, dear Derek.

Raphael said...

Please reply to my question above.

In addition.

Motion C05 is entitled "Justice for Palestinians" but this title is misleading. If we want to express our solidarity with Palestinians, we should condemn violence on both sides, including (unfortunately, this list is non-exhaustive), Israel's siege of Gaza, the targeted killings, the settlements in the West Bank, Hamas suicide bombings and rockets attacks against civilians, and we should support pioneering admirable work by Palestinian NGOs, Israeli NGOs, and International NGOs who are effectively working for peace and working towards building understanding and collaboration. We should support the Palestinians negociators who are trying to bring the conflict to an end through political negociations leading to two states.

Motion C05 place the GP at the core of a boycott movement, which is opposed to collaboration and discussion between Palestinians and Israelis, and does all what it can to undermine it. A sad example of this was the cancellation of the One Voice peace concert. Who in their right mind would call for a boycott of a peace concert? See links below for details of this story.
Another example was the recent call by the PSC to boycott "Peace oil", an organization which was set up by the UK charity Charities Advisory Trust as a model for co-existence and cooperation between Jews, Druze, Arab and Bedouin in Israel and the West Bank.

Motion C05 is not about solidarity with the Palestinians, it is about defining Israel as an illegitimate state that should ultimately be "annihilated" (to use the words of your idol Joe Kovel).

Motion C05 is proposing a boycott of Israel but does not provide criteria that Israel should fulfil in order for the boycott to be lifted. The reason why Motion C05 does not provide this critical information is that there are no such criteria. The proposer of the motion made clear that he supported a "one-state" solution. The boycotters of motion C05 will not lift their call for boycott until Israel ceased to exist. Not surprisingly, nobody in Israel supports such a proposition and there is absolutely no realistic prospect of any peace based on "one state" in the next decades. Supporting "one state" is, in practical terms, supporting more bloodshed until one of the parties is eliminated. This point is well made by Uri Avnery, a peace activist, a fierce critic of Israel governments and long supporter of the Palestinian cause. The key paragraph is here:

"No doubt, the One State idea gives its adherents moral satisfaction. Somebody told me: OK, it is not realistic, but it is moral, and that is the place where I want to be. I say: that is a luxury we cannot afford. When the fate of so many human beings is in the balance, a moral stand that is not realistic is immoral. I repeat: a moral stand that is not realistic is immoral."

The full piece by Uri Avnery can be read here: http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1178916307
Motion C05 was drafted and submitted more or less during the Annapolis conference, yet it does not mention the peace process. It does not even mention Hamas or Fatah, or the roles of Egypt, Syria, Iran, the US and the international community. Motion C05 is pure ideology.

The aim of motion C05 is to characterize Israel as essentially and intrinsically evil and to support a boycott of Israel.

Hence the re-writing of history - Are Green Party policy statements the right place to write the history of the Middle East? -

Hence the unsubstantiated claim that Israel is the root cause of all unrest in the Middle East.

Hence the cherry-picked and made-up facts.

Examples of made-up facts include:

"92 % of the land falls under the administration of the Jewish National Fund, and cannot be sold to non-Jews."
This is not true. 13% of the land belongs to the JNF; the other 77% belong to the state and are equally accessible by all citizens. Even on these 13%, following a landmark case in 1995, discrimination was considered illegal. There is undoubtly still discriminations, as well as efforts by rightwing MPs to re-introduce discrimination in the JNF. How a boycott is going to support the forces that, in Israel, on the grounds and in the courts, are fighting against discrimination, is still to be demonstrated by the boycotters...

"Settlements consume more than 80% of the renewable water resources in the West Bank and Gaza."
This is not true either (by the way there is no settlement any more in Gaza). Where does this figure come from? I challenge the authors of the motion to provide the origin of this figure. In any way, let me quote here Dr. Amjad Aliewi, Director-General of House of Water and Environment, Palestine:
The concept of benefit sharing should always be promoted to influence the politicians towards a win-win scenario in shared aquifer management. "
This quote is taken out of a long presentation in which Dr Aliewi highlights the current massive problems, challenges and injustices faced by the Palestinians in relation to water.

Still Dr. Amjad Aliewi believes, "benefit sharing" and "shared management" is the route to go.

Our boycotters know better.


yishaym said...

Please explain how injustice towards Israelis would reduce the injustice towards Palestinians.

Please explain how you can criticise Israel's policies and promote an act of collective punishment in the same breath.

Please explain what *positive* action you plan to take to promote the issues you rightly highlight.

Please note how this motion will benefit women in Saudi Arabia, Kurds in Turkey, Optics in Egypt, Shia in Syria, Baha'i in Iran. Why do I ask? Well, if you had a choice between being a Palestinian in Ramallah and any of the above, what would you prefer?

Mira said...

The occupation, ongoing settlement project, and effective - if reportedly temporary - annexation of land in the OPTs are to be opposed. The life choices and livelihoods of many Palestinians, particularly those in Gaza, are severely limited by Israel's military presence and disruption of movement. However the singling out of Israel as a particular state for intensified Green Party opprobrium is incomprehensible.

Raphael has given a good dissection of the particular flaws in a generally unjust boycott resolution. I want to add a few things.

The most glaringly obvious (although not apparently to those who voted for it) untruth is that the references to settlers in Gaza (there are none!) purloining water.

Another thing to recognise is that, as well as being counterproductive as an act of Palestine solidarity, this boycott should be recognised as straightforward assault on Israel's existence rather than pressure on Israel to change. It has no stated end-points and seems to refer to all Israelis as settlers. The demand that 4 million plus people, descendants of the c.800,000 displaced people in '48 designated as Palestinian refugees by the UN, be permitted to return to Israel would effectively bring about a Jewish minority and an end to Israel. If you think that this is reasonable you should a) consider why Israel came into being in the first place (refer to the UN Partition Plan of 1947) b) ask yourself how you feel about national liberation movements in Kosovo and Sri Lanka, say, in relation to how you feel about Israel and c) ask yourself what you are personally doing to build the trust and cooperation required to avoid a prolonged bloodbath in the event.

We also have the stock insinuation that Israel is not a democracy. Israel has the only free press in the region according to Reporters Without Borders, and fares better on state surveillance than either the US or UK according to Privacy International. Its legal system and civil rights allow Freedom House to designate it Free. Equal rights for men and women, votes for all, tolerance of dissent - in the face of repeated existential threat - most famously from Iran and Hamas - Israel is doing pretty well as a democracy, and the insinuation otherwise serves only to cheapen this boycott motion further.

If the aim of this boycott is to "redden the greens" then it has served its purpose in one respect - I'm blushing with embarrassment.

weggis said...

.........but not so impressed with this. Ah, well back to normal!

Anonymous said...

I always love these discussions as it gives you a great chance to see who the folks are who go after anyone who supports the unfortunate Palestinians.

Its always good to see who the knowing or unknowing agents of the Shin Bet and Mosssad are for later reference.

Mira said...

"Its always good to see who the knowing or unknowing agents of the Shin Bet and Mosssad are for later reference."

How disturbed of you, Anonymous.

Tony Greenstein said...

The decision of the Green Party to support a boycott of Israel is extremely welcome. I say that as a member of the Alliance for Green Socialism! Those who criticise it have yet to explain what other methods they would advocate to put pressure on Israel to accept its Palestinian citizens and those under occupation as equals (because noone can pretend that Israel is going to give the West Bank back or relinquish its hold over Gaza).

For too long people have made attention to the equivalent of apologists for South African apartheid rather than Palestinians. Palestinians are desperate for change and are demanding boycott. As an oppressed people we should listen to them and I applaud the fact that the Green Party has listened to them.

Those hypocrites, because they are mostly hypocrites, who say there shouldn’t be an academic boycott for example of Israel, prefer to ignore the boycott of Palestinians, the McCarthyite treatment of people like Nizar Hassan. The Zionist Engage site is only concerned with academic freedom when it concerns Israeli Jews. Freedom for Palestinians has never been on their agenda. http://www.haaretzcom/hasen/spages/954371.html

If an oppressed people, be it Black South Africans or Palestinians ask us for their support, we should give it uncritically. It is not surprising that people like Desmond Tutu and Ronnie Kassrils of the ANC see in Israel a continuation if not worse of South African apartheid.

To those who cry ‘anti-Semitism’ I have but 2 comments. Firstly by crying anti-Semitism against those who are not anti-Semitic you only legitimise the real anti-Semitism.

Secondly if you are so happy with the position of Arabs in Israeli society, would you be happy if British Jews were treated the same in this country?

Those who immediately point the finger at the regimes surrounding Israel miss the point entirely. It is imperialism and its repeated interventions in the Middle East which have created the Irans and Saudi Arabias (the USA & UK's best friend of course). This was the same thing apologists for Apartheid did - they pointed to the fact that (for whites) South Africa was more democratic than the Black states, again missing the point.

And no it is not a question of injustice for Israelis complementing injustice for Palestinians. It is a question of exerting pressure on those who benefit from the privilege of living in a settler colonial state to relinquish their power and privilege. There is no example in history of the beneficiaries of racism and apartheid voluntarily giving up those privileges without pressure.

There is simply no equation between Palestinians, living at the margins of society, hungry, thirsty, homeless and Israeli Jews with one of the highest standards of living in the world, a direct consequence of acting as the armed policeman for US interests in the region.

There are of course those for whom Israel can never do any wrong. They are not dissimilar to those who argue, despite the evidence, that there was no Holocaust. Nothing will persuade them of the wrong done to the Palestinians. The violence of the oppressed will always be the justification for the violence of the oppressor. They will no doubt sleep as sweetly at night as did the British establishment apologists for Hitler's Germany. But for those with eyes to see then I copy below what ordinary Israelis feel. It is taken from the on-line service of the Israeli daily, Yediot Aharanot, though similar polls can be found in e.g. Ha'aretz. It is typical of a settler, colonial mentality:

Tony Greenstein

‘Marriage to an Arab is national treason’ Roee Nahmias

Over half of the Jewish population in Israel believes the marriage of a Jewish woman to an Arab man is equal to national treason, according to a recent survey by the Geocartography Institute.

Over 75 percent of participants did not approve of apartment buildings being shared between Arabs and Jews.

Sixty percent of participants said they would not allow an Arab to visit their home.

About 40 percent of participants agreed that “Arabs should have their right to vote for Knesset revoked”.

The number was 55 percent lower in the previous survey.

Also, over half of the participants agreed that Israel should encourage its Arab citizens to immigrate from the country.

Over half of the participants said they would not want to work under the direct management of an Arab, and 55 percent said “Arabs and Jews should be separated at entertainment sites”.

Thirty-one percent said they felt hatred, while 50 percent said they felt fear.

Over 56 percent of participants said they believed that Israel’s Arab citizens posed both a security and a demographic threat to the country.

When asked what they thought of Arab culture, over 37 percent replied, “The Arab culture is inferior.”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3381978,00.html 27.3.07.

A total of 62 percent of Israelis want the government to encourage local Arabs to leave the country, according to the 2006 democracy index released Tuesday by the Israel Democracy Institute.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3248693,00.html 9.5.06.

Anonymous said...


I and others on the Green Left have campaigned in solidarity with the East Timorese, oppressed by Indonesian occupation, where Britain sold arms to Suharto’s dictatorship. Today we also campaign against BAE’s arms deals with the Saudi-Arabian dictatorship. I have campaigned against investment in the Burmese dictatorship. I was active against South Africa’s brutal Apartheid system. I have protested against Turkeys oppression of the Kurds. I have stood against Britain's bloody interventions from Ireland to Iraq.

So why should I leave Israel alone?

Israel's ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, its occupation of the West Bank, with its wall, settlements and ethnically exclusive road systems, its siege of the people of Gaza - all this is an international injustice of the first order. It is in violation of UN resolutions and is what Nelson Mandela has called “the greatest moral issue of the age”

But Israel is different. On no other issue do we have people proudly defending this ethnic cleansing and ethnic supremacist state - and denouncing those who of us who campaign against this racism as ‘racists’ ourselves! We get called ‘anti-Semitic’ even if we have fought the real anti-Semites - Europe's Neo-Nazis - on the streets. We get called ‘anti-Semitic’ even if we are proudly from a Jewish ancestry. But we know we are not anti-Semites - we know why we cannot exempt the Israeli state from our general opposition to racism and injustice, just because the founders of that state were also victims of racism and injustice. So I am proud that the Green Party has taken a stand.

I myself would rather target any boycott against particular west bank settlements, rather than Israel as a whole. I’d boycott firms like agrexo which directly exploit the occupation, rather than all Israeli firms. Likewise a targeted boycott of colleges like the one at Ariel, built in an illegal settlement, rather than all Israeli academia. But to the extremist supporters of the Israeli ethno-supremacist state these are unnoticeable nuances, I’m sure.

Peter said...

Larry said: "[i'd prefer] a targeted boycott of colleges like the one at Ariel, built in an illegal settlement, rather than all Israeli academia. But to the extremist supporters of the Israeli ethno-supremacist state these are unnoticeable nuances,"

No it's not a nuance - it's a fundamental difference. And rather than going for your preference, the GP has gone for a wholesale boycott of Israel.
So who is it who hasn't spotted the "nuances"? - those who pointed out that this was perhaps a bad thing, or the green party conference?

We all know this motion is really about de-legitimisation of Israel by people who think it's desireable to turn the clock back to 1939.

It's crap like this which ensures the green party remains sidelined as marginal extremists.

Anonymous said...

One wonders why such a motion was proposed and passed. Why are the Green Party behaving in such a way. Israel is a country that has taken a lot of desert and made it bloom.

When I look at oppression in the area, I see Palestinian Hamas terrorists murdering other Palestinians, I think of Hamas suicide bombers blowing up Israeli buses or Pizzerias etc leaving and death and destruction to innocent civilians in a similar way to the 7/7 bombers in the UK or the 9/11 bombers in the USA.

Rather than boycotting Israel, the Green party would be better of visiting the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel
and learn about the way they have developed very green agricultural policies that are helpful in numerous poor African countries that suffer from very hot climates and a desert landscape.


weggis said...

"Its always good to see who the knowing or unknowing agents of the Shin Bet and Mosssad are for later reference." - Anon

If anything debases credibility then it is anonymity.

Mira said...

Event: Co-existence in Israel: new challenges and new hopes

Mohammad Darawshe, The Abraham Fund Initiatives
March 3rd, 7pm
St Botolph’s Without Bishopsgate, Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3TL (how to find the venue)

Admission Free

Hosted by the UK Friends of the Abraham Fund.

The Abraham Fund Initiatives works to advance coexistence, equality and cooperation among Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens by creating and operating large-scale initiatives, cultivating strategic grassroots projects and conducting public education and advocacy that promote its vision of shared citizenship and opportunity for all of Israel’s citizens.

Mohammad Darawshe is the Fund’s Director of External Relations. He has won numerous awards and held leading positions including, Leadership Fellow – News Israel Fund 1988-1989; 2001 UNESCO Prize for Peace Education representing The Jewish Arab Center for Peace-Givat Haviva; Peacemaker award, bestowed by the Catholic Theological Union of Chicago and the 2004 Peace and Security Award of the World Association of NGOs. Come to hear about the challenges facing the fund, its recent achievements, and what you could do to help.

Email info@abrahamfund.org.uk

Anonymous said...

"There are of course those for whom Israel can never do any wrong. They are not dissimilar to those who argue, despite the evidence, that there was no Holocaust."

Tony Greenstein, you should be ashamed of yourself for that vile and utterly unnecessary comment. How low can you stoop?

Nick Foster said...

Mikey says here "Israel is a country that has taken a lot of desert and made it bloom."

That is of course by diverting rivers and pinching it from their neighbours.

The idea that a cultural boycott of Israel is equivalent to the Israeli states murderous occupation is a joke!

Anonymous said...

It is interesting to see who may be Israeli agents amongst the Greens. It is a feature of Power Élites like that behind the Zionist movement to develop matrices of power and control, and webs of deception involving many willing unwilling knowing and unknowing participants. I think we see at least one obvious false flagger, too. I've seen heaps of it. Anti-Zionism is not Anti-Jewish, anyway. We all know a material state of Israel is heretical in Judaism.

Derek Wall said...

I don't buy the anti-semitic conspiracy stuff!

Tony Greenstein said...

Anonymous thinks my analogy is 'vile'. Why? I have no truck or time for holocaust deniers like but neither to I have time for Nakba (Palestinian expulsion/massacre 1948) deniers.

Does this mean the Nakba and the Holocaust were the same? No, of course not. But the method of denial follows pretty much the same path - denial of numbers, intentionality, pretence that they weren't refugees etc.

What our anonmous really means is that ANY comparison between events subsequent to the Holocaust and the Holocaust itself are vile? Why? Because in the Zionist catechism, the Holocaust is unique.

It cannot be compared, it literally exists outside of history. Why did it occur? Because of the Jews being what they were. There is no rational explanation for what happened, so anyone who compares say other acts of genocide with the holocaust is being 'anti-semitic'. And why is it unique? Because Zionism posits that being outside history, no one can challenge the foundations of the Israeli state (based on the assumption, which I don't share, that the holocaust was responsible for the creation of the Israeli state).

I disagree with all of this. Nazi genocide was not restricted to the Jews. You will find few clues among the Jews as to why the holocaust happened. In essence it was intrinsic to a certain type of fascism when allied to the 'lebensraum' version of imperialism that Hitler stood for.

But rather than explore these and more questions, far better just to spray about terms like 'vile' especially if it is allied to 'anti-Semite'.

That is how Israel's anonymous apologists do business.

Anonymous said...
"There are of course those for whom Israel can never do any wrong. They are not dissimilar to those who argue, despite the evidence, that there was no Holocaust."

Tony Greenstein, you should be ashamed of yourself for that vile and utterly unnecessary comment. How low can you stoop?

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