Green Party of the U.S. defends American Studies Association's endorsement of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to press Israel on human rights
• Green Party Speakers Bureau: Green leaders available to speak on foreign policy: http://www.gp.org/speakers/speakers-foreign-policy.php
WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders and candidates expressed support for the American Studies Association's (ASA) Dec. 4 endorsement of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to pressure the government of Israel to observe human rights (http://www.theasa.net/from_the_editors/item/council_statement_on_the_academic_boycott_of_israel_resolution/).
Greens said that, despite harsh criticism, growing numbers of people and organizations have begun to support BDS as a nonviolent way to end Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories and apartheid policies, and bring about real peace and security for all Israelis and Palestinians.
"It's evident that the never-ending 'peace process' and stalemates are having little effect in the long run. What's needed now is for the world community to push governments from below to change their policies and actions and transform the situation. That's what worked in South Africa. The divestment movement, which began after the Soweto riots in 1976, drew increasing support around the world until economic pressure forced Pretoria to declare the end of apartheid in 1994," said Dr. Justine McCabe, member of the Green Party's International Committee (http://www.gp.org/committees/intl) and a Connecticut Green.
Israeli officials have acknowledged that BDS is having an effect. Finance Minister Yair Lapid recently said that economic pressure will "damage to the pocket of each and every one of us" and warned that "The world seems to be losing patience with us." (YNet News, Jan. 10, 2014, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4475381,00.html).
On Jan. 11, the delegate assembly of the Modern Language Association voted to adopt a resolution urging the State Department to demand an end to Israel’s denials of entry to U.S. academics seeking to visit the West Bank. The resolution will be submitted to the group’s 28,000 members (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/12/us/another-academic-group-considers-israel-censure.html).
Jewish Voice for Peace also defended the ASA's resolution: "The ASA is being accused of violating academic freedom and of being anti-Semitic. We appreciate the heightened interest on academic freedom and remind ASA supporters and opponents alike that Palestinians have not enjoyed and continue not to enjoy academic freedom. Their right to education is severely compromised by Israel. It is not inherently anti-Semitic to speak up against discrimination. Jews are not the target of ASA’s academic boycott. Discriminatory institutional policies are." (http://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/blog/academic-freedom)
The Green Party of the United States endorsed BDS in 2005 (http://www.gp.org/press/pr_2005_11_28.shtml). The party supports the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and to receive compensation for their losses; immediate Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian lands acquired since 1967; maintenance of Jerusalem as a shared city open to people of all faiths; suspension of U.S. military and foreign aid to Israel; dismantling of the Israeli separation wall; and serious consideration of a single secular, democratic state as the national home of both Israelis and Palestinians.
Greens have urged support for Palestinian and Israeli peace groups and for nonviolent resistance and have called for an end to all violence targeted at unarmed civilians, which is illegal under international law. Greens insist that regional stability and security for all the people of Israel and Palestine are not possible until peaceful negotiation based on international law resolves the conflict.
In 2009, former U.S. Representative and 2008 Green presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney was detained in Israel for participating in the Free Gaza Movement's delivery of humanitarian aid in the wake of Israel's military assault on the Gaza Strip.
Green Party leaders condemned plans announced in November by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat’s office for a wide expansion of settlements, especially in East Jerusalem, in which about 200 blocks of Palestinian apartments would be demolished, expelling over 15,000 Palestinians to make way for housing reserved for Jews (http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=643164).
"U.S. aid to any country should be conditioned on its government's human rights record. Israel is a top recipient of economic and military aid, receiving more than $3 billion -- about one-fifth of our entire taxpayer-funded budget for foreign aid. The U.S. has unmatched influence in Israel and should use this power to end the daily injustices inflicted on Palestinians," said Muhammed Malik, former co-chair of the Miami-Dade Green Party and member of the Green Party's International Committee.
"Last month was the 65th anniversary of the U.N.'s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the U.S. and Israel signed. No nation is exempt from the obligations expressed in the Declaration to protect human rights. We have a unique opportunity to see these obligations respected by Israel, through the BDS movement's nonviolent economic persuasion," added Mr. Malik.
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