Greens Engage

British Greens responding to the intersection of anti-Zionism and antisemitism

Pro-Palestine activism still broken

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Written by Mira Vogel

July 22, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Friends of the Earth Middle East rehabilitate the River Jordan, without Palestinian involvement

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There are three major stakeholders in the Jordan Valley: Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Israel. As we have reported here, the pressures on water in the Jordan valley are acute. Israel, which shares responsibility for the problem with other countries along the Jordan, is also part of a solution. In cooperation with Jordan, Israel has re-established the Kinneret (known in the UK as the Sea of Galilee) as the Jordan’s source.

From the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, a piece circulated by Friends of the Earth Middle East:

“The Israel Water Authority will shortly begin, for the first time, to pump water regularly from Lake Kinneret into the southern Jordan River in an effort to ecologically rehabilitate the river, the authority announced Thursday.

This was part of the Friends of the Earth Middle East, Good Water Neighbours project.”

Israel is particularly responsible for the amount of water which flows to the Lower Jordan, and the amounts of water it has pledged fall drastically short of those required to replenish the length of the river. Nevertheless, this is a positive development which should be celebrated and reinforced. I’m sad to say that despite its keen interest in the region the Green Party of England and Wales played no part in this. In fact the Green Party is against cooperation with Israel, and would therefore be obliged by its own policy to boycott the Good Water Neighbours Project, despite the obvious lack of integrity this reveals about the environment. It is also a concern that Palestinians were not involved in this development and so will continue to pollute the river, as explained in the rest of the Ha’aretz piece:

“During the first stage, 1,000 cubic meters an hour will be pumped from the lake into the river. At a later stage, the plan is to pump 30 million cubic meters a year into the river.
The plan to shore up the southern Jordan was presented Thursday at a conference organized by the Southern Jordan Streams and Drainage Authority, and it is a comprehensive plan that includes enhancing the water quality and developing projects to encourage tourism in the area.
In recent decades the water level of the southern Jordan River has dropped dramatically, because the flow of water into in from the Kinneret and the Yarmuk River has been almost totally blocked by dams. The quality of the water has seriously deteriorated, because the sewage of all the communities along the river has been flowing into it. Water from the Kinneret now only reaches the southern Jordan River if the lake’s level rises above the upper red line, at which point, to prevent flooding, the dams are opened to let water flow into the river. One of the major components of this rehabilitation plan is stopping the flow of sewage into the river and pumping clean Kinneret water into the river instead. Water Authority head Alex Kushnir told the conference that by the end of this month thousands of cubic meters of water would be flowing from the Kinneret every day.
“Within two years we will increase the quantity and it will reach 30 million cubic meters a year,” said Kushnir. “I know that’s not enough, but that’s what we can manage now. We won’t be able to restore the river to its historic flow levels of the past.
”The improvement will be primarily in the quality of the water. According to Kushnir, by the end of this year a waste treatment plant will be treating the sewage that now flows into the river. Next year, the plant will be upgraded and the treated wastewater will be suitable for agricultural use.
In addition, small desalination installations will be built to desalinate the saline water from the Kinneret springs that now flow into the Jordan, and some of the water will be allowed to continue into the river after treatment. Thus, the salinity level of the lower Jordan’s water will also be reduced.
All these activities are being conducted with the agreement in coordination with the Kingdom of Jordan. Sa’ad Abu Hamour, the Jordanian representative to the joint Israeli-Jordanian Water Committee, attended Thursday’s conference. He said that his country also wants the river’s water quality to improve, but that at this stage this was a solely Israeli-funded project.
The Palestinians are currently not involved. Gideon Bromberg, the Israeli director of the Friends of the Earth-Middle East environmental group criticized the officials promoting this plan for not soliciting Palestinian cooperation.  “We can’t deal with the political issues right now,” responded Kushnir.  “If we do, it will delay the efforts we are already making.” Abu Hamour noted, however, that because the Palestinians aren’t being included, the river will be cleaner in the area closer to the Kinneret but will remain polluted in its southernmost section, near the Dead Sea.
According to the Southern Jordan Streams and Drainage Authority, during the coming summer the National Mine-Clearance Authority will start removing mines and the fence along a 30-kilometer stretch of the river. This will eventually allow public access to parts of the river that are currently closed off.”
A Jerusalem Post piece reports that Jordan has undertaken to clear landmines (banned under the 1997 Land Mine Treaty).
It is not clear why Palestinians were not involved. However, boycotters must accept that it would be nonsensical to expect Israelis to solicit Palestinian cooperation while simultaneously urging Palestinians to boycott them.
It falls to those of us who do not support the boycott to ask why Palestinians involved, not to mention why any of these countries are growing some of the most thirsty crops you can grow, namely citrus.

Written by Mira Vogel

May 19, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Posted in water

Women of the world were watching and waiting

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In an excerpt from his book Gil Troy describes Betty Friedan’s confrontations with and overcoming of anti-zionism in the women’s movement of the 70s and 80s.

‘Most Third World delegates decided that sexism was a Western problem because only Western women complained about it.’

Via Engage.

Written by Mira Vogel

March 10, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Bias

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This, from A. Jay Adler via bobfrombrockley, is a well explained and particularly dispiriting example of what people who dislike Israel are prepared to say, think and do. Seemingly trustworthy sources are not what they seem, all that is said about Israel these days must be tested for truth and untruth by fact-checkers like Adler.

Written by Mira Vogel

March 3, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Posted in anti-Zionism

Israeli elections 2013

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Israeli elections are taking place on 22nd January. Likud has merged with the further-right nationalist party Israel Beteinu to form Likud Beteinu, a party with a solid support base, if dwindling chances. Likud, who used to be firmly on the right of Israeli politics, have become much more like the centre ground. With all the new alignments and parties there is a lot of confusion – except for the religious right which is looking dangerously stable.

OneVoice Israel has produced an election campaign video, below. Unlike the several featuring Israeli soldiers (can you imagine how troubled this country would have to become before Farage and Cameron started using squad imagery to win elections?) it hasn’t been banned. The urgency of its message is striking – if the far right come to power, the EU and US will withdraw their moral and material support from Israel. The consequences are obvious and left unsaid: Israel will be impotent to withstand the religious and nationalist menaces in the region. OneVoice isn’t an organisation given to provocations – it must feel that desperate times call for desperate measures.

It’s helpful for moderate Israelis to be able to predict a loss of goodwill from concerned international supporters. In these affairs supporters have more influence than detractors.

Unfortunately the Green Party, which has been treating Israel as an untouchable state for years, won’t be making any contribution to this election campaign in this country and region which they and many others – on paper at least – hold crucial to world peace. The Green Party won’t be of help to Israeli moderates – not even its comrades Yeruka, the Israeli Greens. In fact, the Green Party turns its back and officially boycotts Israel as if Israelis were politically alike.

The Green politicians who understand these things aren’t able to prevent the Greens who don’t from indulging their disturbing prejudices as Party policy. Along with the worry and concern it’s caused British Jews, it’s a badge of Green politics.

And during the period of the Green Party boycott campaign against Israel, what has happened with Israeli public opinion? Israeli public opinion has moved toward the political right – Bob From Brockley points to some differing commentary on this. And although it’s probably far-fetched to claim that Green policy has any effect on Israeli policy, it’s important to note and learn from this Green mistake.

Here’s OneVoice’s Israel’s election video. It makes me sad but I think this negative, defencist, scare campaigning will work – because it’s correctly to the point.

Written by Mira Vogel

January 18, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Posted in british greens, israel

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The Palestine Solidarity Campaign can only mean one thing

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Eric Lee writes:

From the river to the sea?

Sorry, but there’s no way to be polite about this. That chant, and the PSC’s own logo of a map of Palestine from the river to the sea, and the subsequent chanting of “Israel out of Palestine” really could mean only one thing.

The demonstrators, or at least the people leading the chanting and making up the slogans, were supporting a one-state agenda, a solution to the century-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians by demanding that one side pack up and leave.

This is clearly nothing to do with supporting the Palestinian.

Written by Mira Vogel

November 21, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Posted in anti-Zionism

Fighting fire with fire

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When Palestinians and Israelis fight fire with fire it’s easy to get drawn in.

Resist contributing to the hatred. For those of us who are lucky enough not to be directly at risk, it’s far more constructive to hunt out and surface smart alternatives to war from people who want to understand the region and hope for peace in the region. What ideas are coming from the political opposition in Israel? What are Palestinian secularist progressives saying? What are the views of international relations and conflict resolution specialists? We may need to wait a while for the most insightful commentary – it’s the extra thinking and research time that makes it insightful. Meanwhile there are some commentators who want to get to the bottom of things including Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian sets out alternative readings of the recent escalation, Janine Zacharia in Slate makes the case for diplomacy in Israel’s interests.

Remembering the aftermath of Cast Lead, British Jews are braced for the spike in Jew-baiting and antisemitic behaviour which attends Israel’s conflicts. Here’s Steve Bell depicting a Jewish puppet master of other countries’ leaders as if – writes Dave Rich from the CST – he “…reached for the ‘puppeteer’ trope to explain that fact that William Hague’s statement on the conflict was presumably not critical enough of Israel for his liking, as if this is the most plausible explanation for Hague’s view.”

Steve Bell’s response isn’t really doing it for me. I think it might be something to do with his affronted tone. And what he says. As if being accused of antisemitism is worse than antisemitism.  Anyway, if Netanyahu is so powerful why are Israel’s citizens scurrying for their bomb shelters tonight?

Behind a Ha’aretz paywall, Abeer Ayyoub writes from Gaza and Israel Green Movement’s Gershon Baskin’s twitter feed is very well worth following for its links out to Palestinian and Israeli commentary. Unlike the Alqassam Brigade’s which coldly counts off the missiles it has launched at Israeli civilians, and  signals its intent towards the Israeli state by referring to Tel Aviv in inverted commas.

Update: don’t forget to look at the sources on our blogroll.

Written by Mira Vogel

November 16, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Posted in conflict

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