Greens Engage

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

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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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Fifty Shades of Green

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Over at Shiraz Socialist, Pink Prosecco has a guest post on the Green Party England and Wales leadership candidates.

Note why s/he is wary of voting Green despite being identified in ‘Who should I vote for?’ questionnaires as a Green Party supporter, and how reassured s/he is by leadership candidate Peter Cranie’s stand against antisemitism.

HT bobfrombrockley.

Written by Mira Vogel

August 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Posted in british greens

Pippa Bartolotti doesn’t have antisemitism in the family

with 3 comments

A few weeks ago Martin Bright ran a Jewish Chronicle piece on Green Party England and Wales leadership candidate Pippa Bartolotti, somebody who makes the obvious and boorish kind of antisemitic statements which can’t be ignored.

Adam Ramsay’s response at Bright Green Scotland reminded me that most people who say they find antisemitism unbelievable are reacting to other people who don’t toe their line on hating Israel. He’s an exception and it’s important to recognise that.

You can read PB’s defence in the comments under Adam’s post. She refers to her Jewish grandfather as if not being antisemitic were in the genes. If Jews were as harshly oppressed by Palestinians, she says she’d be working as hard for their human rights – I imagine her invoking the “university of life” lie about Arabs being treacherous by nature. That would be the equivalent to what she has said about Israel’s Jewish ambassador. I wonder how her conversation with the Foreign Office unfolded – has Rowan Laxton been reinstated? They’d have so much to talk about.

You can find out about better candidates on the Green Party’s Internal Elections pages, and by listening to this recent audio hustings. Voting closes on August 31st.

Written by Mira Vogel

August 14, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Why Gil Troy is a Zionist

with one comment

Gil Troy is courageously advocating for what should – in the form he espouses – be understood as a rather ordinary and explicable form of nationalism, but which instead sends some Greens weirdly feverish: Zionism.


Written by Mira Vogel

February 1, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Did the PSC lie to Caroline Lucas?

with one comment

Reviewing developments since Caroline Lucas first tackled the PSC about its Israel-negating logo, Anthony Cooper wonders how it is that she can be “quite sure that PSC does indeed recognise Israel’s right to exist” when prominent PSC members are adamant otherwise.


Written by Mira Vogel

January 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Isca Stieglitz – Insider trading? It’s not Alessio Rastani or Goldman-Sachs I’m worried about!

with 3 comments

Funny isn’t it? Greens – we’re predominantly ‘anti’ capitalist, are deeply suspicious of anything
remotely ‘businessy’ (unless it passes ‘green’ muster), and certainly question the motives of those
involved in it…or at least until ‘someone’ says exactly what we want to hear. How quickly the leap is
made, how quickly the scrutiny stops and how quickly we latch onto people who wouldn’t ordinarily
get our time of day.

However, with a whiff of ‘conspiracy’, a sniff of ‘rule the world’ and a large helping of ‘we told
you so’, (when all that’s been stated is the bleedin’ obvious), and we’re there posting and hosting
like we’ve just discovered something ground breaking – no checking, no research, no search for
provenance – the complete suspension of scrutiny and the hanging on the every word of bloke no
one knows. Ah, but he’s a ‘trader’ so he must know stuff and now he’s gone on telly and shared
seemingly (not!) big secrets, well, we can obviously trust him.

I’m not saying I trust Rastani or not, I don’t know enough at this stage to make that decision and
that’s the point, neither does anyone else. I wonder about the mind of someone who jumps so

So, ‘Greens Engage’ are meant to be concerned with antisemitism…oh no please don’t say we can’t
criticise Goldman-Sachs coz it’s got Jews in it! Of course not, bad practice is bad practice and should
be exposed, but if minds jump too quickly, you never know who you can end up in bed with.

Questions to self – why are lots of people so willing lose all rational thought and, in some cases, all
of their self-purported academic prowess and believe a ‘trader’ so quickly – traders are by definition
‘chancers’ right?!

Here’s a sprinkle of what’s out there in ‘webland’; some more trustworthy than others!

Forbes questions Rastani directly.

Zerohedge questions the notion of Goldman-Sachs ominipotence.

eFinancial News asks who Rastani is.

William D. Cohan was ‘there’ first!


Towards ‘negative conspiratorial’ for me.

A word of warning to be mindful.

Check for this, and then you know you’re in the wrong bed.

On Goldman Sachs.

Written by Mira Vogel

September 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Is this really what Greens want to affiliate to?

with 28 comments

This post is by Jessica Goldfinch, Norwich Green Party

A lot of organisations can start off with the best of intentions and then it seems some can morph,
over time, into something that is ugly and more worryingly, ‘acceptable’.

Racism becomes acceptable; violent words become acceptable; sharing platforms with known
racists, Holocaust denialists, annihilists and antisemites becomes acceptable. The drip-drip nature
of it allows this to become an acceptable norm. It remains unchallenged and the original cause is
muddied and becomes ugly.

This process can apply to any group and my experiences of being part of my local ‘Anti-Apartheid’
group applied to me. The goal was clear – One man, one vote. If this was achieved, the face of South
Africa would change at the very first free elections. I joined boycotts; I took part in protests; wrote
letters and joined in direct action – all good, all very innocent. Then it turned very ugly.

The anti-white racism grew, the language became violent and threatening, boycotts turned into
witch-hunting and denying opportunities for on-the-ground cooperation – I cannot speak for the
entire Anti-Apartheid movement obviously. People laughed openly about extreme violence against
white citizens. Everything ‘black’ was good and everything ‘white’ was bad. Rational thought turned
to ‘black and white thinking’ – oh the irony.

My turning point came when I found out that a blind-eye was being turned away from the internal
politics within the townships and slums. The internal punishment culture, given tacit agreement
by some known township activists – people being macheted or ‘necklaced’; women being raped;
children being abused; drug and people trafficking; inter- and intra- tribal violence; the killing of
pygmies. These are, of course sadly, common occurrences within the context of grinding poverty,
discrimination and alienation within any group – but not acceptable. There were no trials or internal
legal framework; people simply disappeared and their crimes? In a lot of instances, associating with
white people and often associating with joint peace projects.

Where is my evidence? Sadly, I’ve been unable to find documentary evidence for all my points.
This is based on verbal accounts from all sides and was talked about quite openly within our group
from people who had lived there and I was stunned to find this going unchallenged and that our
donations were not monitored, so, down the chain we were funding and supporting these violent
activities. I left.

Of course, the fall of Apartheid was a fantastic achievement but to ignore torture and abuse for the
sake of expediency and the ‘bigger picture’ is unacceptable to me. Not confronting, in a rational
way, lends tacit agreement and support. Not many groups are immune from this ‘blindsight’, the
Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) included.

Sadly, the recent postings on PSC websites are not a surprise to me. It’s been building since
inception, drip-drip, unchallenged from within and so ‘acceptable’.

One can choose to trust the sources or not, but following the links within leads to the original and
makes it pretty clear.

If I’ve said it a hundred times – I do not support violence and racist practice and that includes in
Israel or any dodgy groups associated with it and I am not part of groups that do this and challenge
any internal discrimination when I see it. However, I am weary of trying to just get a fair view of
Israel in these sites. All is evil with no redeeming features.

“It’s not all of us; of course I don’t support that person…this person…you mustn’t forget the overall
cause; some of what s/he says is true; every group has it’s bad apples; just ignore them; they don’t
speak for us all;…” so says a member of the PSC? No, that was me in the 80s; sunlight came in and I

Mira adds: the PSC featured quite prominently in Green Party conference promotion (for example, in the advert in Green World, the party members’ magazine). Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign have an official Green Party Autumn Conference fringe on – uh-oh – September 11th. I wonder, will this fringe succumb to the temptation to ‘commemorate’ the acts of terror against US workers by attempting to implicate Israel? I wish I didn’t find it so likely – perhaps somebody could let us know. At any rate, the obviously antisemitic are promoting this fringe. Bad company for the Green Party.

See too this on Palestine solidarity campaigning, by Aled Dilwyn Fisher.

Jess adds: Julia Bacha’s TED Talk, ‘Pay attention to non-violence

Written by Mira Vogel

September 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Israeli Philharmonic vs. Dismally Shrillmoronic – no contest

with 4 comments

Jessica Goldfinch writes of the disruption of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra proms performance last week:

Considering IPO has links with these folks, it is clear who is for co-operation and peaceful activities:

This is what beauty looks and sounds like. It’s not a music-wash, it’s peace
in action. What a melding of the sounds – east, west, shared arabic roots!
We should be investing our energies into these types of activities.

Whilst SPSC and PSC and their GPEW supporters engage in protests, violent
words and ignoring evidence, they miss all of this beauty and the rest of
real folk on the ground are getting on with the business of ‘Real Progress’.

Written by Mira Vogel

September 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Posted in boycott, british greens

Censorship on the International List

with 5 comments

Jacob Sanders (Southwark Green Party) is invariably civil and to-the-point. The following post, protesting Green Party endorsement, through platform sharing, of genocidal antisemites,  is characteristic. So why did the moderator of the Green Party International List censor him?


It is generally accepted on the progressive wing of politics that it is never justified to share platforms with advocates of genocide. There may be occasions when it is right to debate with such people for the purpose of exposing their politics – as was argued when Griffin appeared on Question Time. To participate in a shared platform with advocates of genocide without making any attempt to confront them can only serve to assist in their aim of normalising their disordered values or promoting a perception that they are not really be as bad as they in fact are.

Your assessment of ‘at least some’ doubt about the Green Party’s problems in this regard would not be very encouraging, but in fact even that is overoptimistic. The sad truth is that there is no doubt at all.

The question of guilt by association is not relevant here. There is no suggestion that a person is an advocate of genocide or antisemitism because they share a platform with someone in that category, rather that the platform-sharing is itself wrong. Receiving stolen goods is not the same as theft, but it is an offence nevertheless because it facilitates the crime of theft.

I doubt whether I would agree with the comments of the television interviewees you refer to, and I certainly oppose the attempt to outlaw advocacy of a boycott – but these are different issues.



Written by Mira Vogel

August 25, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Posted in british greens

On the Green Party’s International List

with one comment

Reproduced with permission of its author (Jacob Sanders of Southwark Green Party), below is one example of what is required pretty much continuously, if there is to be a chance of disrupting the astonishing double standards about Israel which are advanced on the Green Party’s International List, and the barely veiled slurs against those who protest them. To call the rigidly anti-Zionist moderator insensitive would be an extreme understatement.


I hope you are right in your belief that there are not many in the Green
Party who would endorse the extremes of any religion.  Regrettably, though,
there have been occasions when party members have shared platforms with
Islamists known for advocacy of genocidal antisemitism, causing real concern
to other members and supporters.  Two features of the extreme left in this
country have been 1) a willingness to make common cause with oligarchs of
that stamp and 2) a marked interest in one seventh of one percent of the
Middle East (Israel), decontextualised due to an unwillingness to understand
anything about the other ninety-nine and six sevenths percent.  It is
reasonable to suggest a link between these two failings, and
to advocate that the Green Party should not follow the WRP road.

I have noticed the appearance of news listings regarding the Middle East in
general, but these don’t seem to be much more than evening news type
roundups, devoid of analysis or proposals for action.  If terror groups with
the same values as Al-Shabaab succeed in taking over what is now Israel and
impose unending terror there, will we then say ‘no western democracy can be
found guilty of this, so we’ll just ignore it’?


Written by Mira Vogel

August 24, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Posted in british greens


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