Greens Engage

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

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True Colours Shining Through?

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On the Green Party’s Palestine & Israel discussion list, Green Party members have been urging a bigger Green Party presence at UK pro-Hamas rallies. Jessica Goldfinch, Norwich Green Party, responds.

‘Green is the colour of Hamas; green is the colour of resistance’ – for some reason when I read this, the 80’s classic, by Cyndi Lauper, ‘True Colours’ popped into my head.

The last time I checked the Green Party of England & Wales has no affiliation to Hamas and yet to have gone unchallenged that we should have more green banners at Gaza protests because ‘Green is the colour of Hamas; green is the colour of resistance’, demonstrates at least a tolerance for the idea.

I was going to go into a potted history of Hamas, the meaning of its acronym, its election to power in Gaza, its documented treatment of Gazans and so on, but there is really no need. There is evidence and counter-evidence all over the web and we are all capable of doing that for ourselves and drawing our own conclusions. However, whichever opinion camp you find yourself in, the following issues are still up for dispute at the very least and questions remain unanswered:

  • The essence of the 1988 Hamas Charter still stands under articles 6, 7, 22, 31 & 32.A ‘temporary truce’ or hudna does not mean recognition vs. Hamas is prepared to recognise Israel along the 1967 lines – various western & eastern political commentators have views on this.
  • Hamas was not democratically elected, (seats won, Hamas 76 – 43 Fatah), in the way thatmost democratic countries would understand free and open elections vs. Hamas is the democratically elected government of Gazan-Palestinians.
  • Despite reform and change, Hamas is responsible for: the summary executions and torture of collaborators and Fatah members; incidences of persecution, torture and murder of men,women, Christians and LGBTIQ citizens; the deaths of 100s of children predominantly from tunnel building & training as combatants and using its citizens as human shields vs. not the case/ unproven.
  • Hamas is designated, (as a whole or as constituent parts); by some countries and the EU as a terrorist organisation vs. Hamas is not a terrorist organisation.

So, whichever opinion camp you fall into, should ‘we’ talk to terrorists? Clearly history shows us that eventually talks do happen. Slowly, agonisingly so, previous arch enemies sit & make uneasy peace. We know, from the Irish-British “Troubles”, that hundreds of years of animosity can be overcome.

However, there needs to be the ‘right’ conditions for talks to begin, even for so-called ‘unconditional’ talks. Who do you talk with? – my personal opinion here is that Jordan, (two thirds old Ottoman-Palestine), should not get-off for this and be part of the solution too. Who is most representative? High level training in diplomacy and peace negotiations? A ‘human’ touch maybe?

The current Israel-Palestine tragedy is embedded in, not just decades, 100s of years of ethnic-religious-geo-political conflict and whether we like it or not, the solutions lie with the politicians and citizens of the region, with conditions of trust enhanced and fear reduced. There may be help from outside, which enhances these conditions. The conditions which are not needed are ones in which venom, demonization and rabble-rousing, glamorous cause celebre sound bites.

Crass comments undermine the peace process, undermine the Green Party’s credibility and reputation and are dangerous.

Crass comments include: we should have more Green Party banners at Gaza protest because green is the colour of resistance, green is the colour of Hamas.

Is this unchallenged comment our ‘true colours’ shining through?

I hope not.

Written by Mira Vogel

September 3, 2014 at 12:13 am

Posted in british greens

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

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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

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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?

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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!

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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


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