Israel/Palestine,  UK Politics

The Green Party and Israel

It is worth noting that one of the UK’s political parties has elected a leader that openly supports a boycott of Israel. As Eve Garrard notes:

Some members of the Green Party have become increasingly disturbed about what they see as its failure to take anti-Semitism, in its own structures and debates, at all seriously. This lack of serious concern is manifested in a variety of ways: for a start, although the Party has an explicit policy of giving no platform to racists, and hence would not join in campaigns with the BNP, nonetheless it is ready to do so with overtly anti-Semitic organizations such as Hizbollah and Hamas. The Green Party’s leading female speaker (and president-in-waiting), Caroline Lucas, publicly supports [see Q. 5] an economic and cultural boycott of Israel. Other high-profile Green speakers, including its leading male speaker Derek Wall, have expressed overt support for the academic boycott of Israel, even though several legal opinions have been given to the effect that such a boycott, including the reluctantly watered-down version which was passed at the last UCU conference, would fall foul of the Race Relations Act.

The Green Party are obviously trying to attract higher numbers of the liberal left to their ranks.

Caroline Lucas notes on her blog:

Some have opposed a boycott by defending Israeli policies to develop environmentally friendly technologies. These development are interesting and, of course, to be encouraged. Yet human rights cannot be traded or “offset” in this manner. And how could these policies possibly benefit those in the Occupied Territories – where trees are regularly uprooted, clean water supplies are cut off, and badly damaged waste systems pollute rivers and streams?

Financial and moral support from the United States means that Israel has been able to act with relative immunity, hiding behind its incendiary claim that all who criticise its policies are anti Semitic. This does a great disservice to the many Jewish people who support the principle of universal human rights, and who oppose the current policies of the Israeli state.

The only other talk of boycotts on Lucas’s blog relate to boycotting certain “aspects” of the Olympic games in China. Ho hum.