No 1840 Posted by fw, December 6, 2016
“Facing the prospect of a humiliating defeat at the special meeting, May and other party leaders backed an alternative resolution, which was approved at last weekend’s meeting [Dec. 3-4 in Alberta]. An explanatory note issued by the Greens claims that the party ‘explicitly rejects’ calls for boycotting the State of Israel. The note indicates that the Greens could not support the BDS movement as its goals do not include ‘supporting the right of the State of Israel to exist.’ Nonetheless, the new resolution [see full text below] supports the targeted use of boycotts, divestment and sanctions as tactics in response to violence and oppression. It also backs the three main demands made by the BDS movement: an end to Israel’s colonization of Palestinian lands; full equality between Israeli Jews and Palestinian citizens of Israel; and guaranteeing the right to return of Palestinian refugees.” —Yves Engler, The Electronic Intifada
A repost of Engler’s article appears below, along with a copy of the full text of the Green’s new resolution. In the context of a recent article that reviewed a 2015 failed attempt by European leaders to hold Israel to account — “It is highly unlikely that the EU will ever impose the level of pressure necessary to change Benjamin Netanyahu’s calculus…” concluded the author — I was struck by the title of the Green’s resolution document: Measures to pressure the government of Israel to preserve the two-state solution: addendum to current Middle East policy.
Will the Green Party of Canada succeed where European leaders failed? Time may tell. However, don’t hold your breath, for when all is said and done, more is said than done.
To read Yves’ piece on The Electronic Intifada’s website, click on the following linked title.
The Israel lobby has suffered an epic fail in Canada. An attempt at persuading the country’s Green Party to drop its support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement galvanized many activists. The result was that Canada’s Greens have emphatically demanded that Palestinian rights be respected.
In August, the Green Party’s members voted to back BDS measures targeting those sectors of the Israeli economy which profit from the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. As is par for the course, Israeli nationalist groups labeled the resolution “anti-Semitic.”
May, then, announced that a special general membership meeting would be held at the start of December to discuss its stance on Palestine.
In September, she fired three members of her shadow cabinet for defending the party’s recently passed policy from attacks by the head of the British Columbia Greens.
But May overplayed her hand.
Caught in the Ottawa and corporate media bubble, she failed to grasp the depth of support for the Palestinian cause both within and outside her party. She also underestimated Palestine solidarity groups’ organizational capacities.
In the lead-up to last weekend’s special general meeting, Dimitri Lascaris, one of the three fired by May, spoke in defense of BDS at town hall meetings across Canada.
Support for the Palestine policy was overwhelming during these events.
Despite media claims to the contrary – “Green Party losing members, riding associations as BDS controversy highlights infighting,” according to one National Post headline – the party has more to gain by aligning with the growing number of Canadians critical of the federal government’s support for Israeli violence and colonialism.
Facing the prospect of a humiliating defeat at the special meeting, May and other party leaders backed an alternative resolution, which was approved at last weekend’s meeting.
An explanatory note issued by the Greens claims that the party “explicitly rejects” calls for boycotting the State of Israel. The note indicates that the Greens could not support the BDS movement as its goals do not include “supporting the right of the State of Israel to exist.”
Nonetheless, the new resolution [see full text below] supports the targeted use of boycotts, divestment and sanctions as tactics in response to violence and oppression.
It also backs the three main demands made by the BDS movement: an end to Israel’s colonization of Palestinian lands; full equality between Israeli Jews and Palestinian citizens of Israel; and guaranteeing the right to return of Palestinian refugees.
The resolution calls, too, for an end to the siege of Gaza and insists that Canada divests from companies that benefit from Israel’s activities in the occupied West Bank. It also urges the renegotiation of the free trade agreement between Canada and Israel so that goods produced within Israel’s settlements in the West Bank are “explicitly” excluded. The resolution also promotes the “indefinite suspension” of all military cooperation and trade in weapons and surveillance equipment.
Pressure on NDP
The Green vote puts pressure on the historically left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) to take a similar position.
Some political activists associated with the NDP are sympathetic to the Palestine solidarity movement.
Sid Ryan, former head of the Ontario Federation of Labour, signed a recent appeal addressed to members of the Canadian Greens. Also backed by the authors Yann Martel and Rawi Hage and musicians Richard Reed Parry, from the group Arcade Fire, and Bruce Cockburn, the letter urges Greens not to “weaken or reverse the vote to support Palestinian rights” taken in August.
Ryan is being spoken of as a possible candidate for NDP leader. A website urging him to enter the contest for that position celebrates his advocacy for Palestinian rights, including his support for the BDS movement.
No matter who wins the campaign to become NDP leader in October it’s hard to imagine they will be worse than outgoing leader Tom Mulcair, who has described himself as an ally to Israel “in all circumstances.”
For the pro-Israel groups, the Green vote will sting. Rather than forcing party members to cower, their attacks focused attention on the Palestinian struggle for equality and justice.
Yves Engler is the author of Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid and the newly-released A Propaganda System: How Canada’s government, corporations, media and academic sell war and exploitation. His website is yvesengler.com.
Resolution Type: Policy
Submitter Name: Shadow Cabinet
WHEREAS Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying power from transferring parts of its own civilian population to territory it occupies, and
WHEREAS Israel has continued to construct new settlements and to expand existing settlements in the OPT, to demolish Palestinian homes and other civilian infrastructure in the OPT and condones actions which deprive Palestinians’ rights to security and self determination, and
WHEREAS U.N. General Assembly resolution 273(111), which Canada co-sponsored, admitted Israel as a state to the United Nations and was based on the condition that Israel honour both the Partition Plan of November 28, 1947 and U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 of December 11, 1948, which provided for the right of return of Palestinian refugees, and
WHEREAS Israel has failed to respect these commitments and has not complied with other relevant U.N. resolutions, and
WHEREAS the Global Greens Charter acknowledges the “[u]nderstanding that many of the world’s peoples and nations have been impoverished by the long centuries of colonization and exploitation,” AND
WHEREAS the Global Greens Charter recognizes “the rights of indigenous people and their contribution to the common heritage, as well as the right of all minorities and oppressed peoples to their culture, religion, economic and cultural life,” AND
WHEREAS the Palestinian people are among the indigenous people of the geographic region now designated as Israel and the OPT, and
WHEREAS Canada is a high contracting party to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the Fourth Geneva Convention obliges all parties thereto, including Canada, to ensure respect for the Convention by other parties thereto, including Israel, “in all circumstances”, and
WHEREAS the Green Party of Canada opposes all forms of racism and discrimination, does not allow any Islamophobic or anti-Semitic elements in the party, and is concerned that Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are on the rise;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada (GPC) calls on the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people and the State of Israel to accord mutually recognized statehood.
BE IT RESOLVED that Green Party of Canada denounces violence in all of its forms, recognizes that it can only lead to failure in conflict resolution, and supports only non-violent responses to violence and oppression, including economic measures such as government sanctions, consumer boycotts, institutional divestment, economic sanctions and arms embargoes; and
BE IT RESOLVED the GPC calls on the Government of Israel to: respect the intent of UN Resolution 194, the implementation of which is to be negotiated in good faith with the legitimate representatives of the Palestinians, accord to the Arab-Palestinian population of Israel equal political and civil rights, and end Israel’s illegal occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and the Golan Heights, and Israel’s siege of Gaza;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada reconfirms its policy of condemning illegal settlement construction in the OPT, and calls for an immediate end to further settlement construction and expansion, and the dismantling of current settlements in the OPT, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Canada take strong diplomatic action, including economic pressure, in order to ensure the attainment of the three objectives identified in the preceding paragraph and to encourage Israel to enter into good faith negotiations with legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people for the purpose of establishing a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state. Such economic pressure should include, but not be limited to:
– A ban on the importation into Canada of products produced wholly or partly within or by illegal Israeli settlements, or by Israeli businesses directly benefiting from the illegal occupation;
– Renegotiation of the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) such that it explicitly excludes products produced wholly or partly within or by illegal Israeli settlements, or by Israeli businesses operating within the OPT;
– The strengthening of CIFTA compliance/audit provisions in such ways and clauses as to ensure that imported products labeled “Made in Israel” are actually produced, entirely and exclusively, within Israel’s internationally recognized borders;
– The termination and indefinite suspension of all military and surveillance trade and cooperation between, on the one hand, the Government of Canada and Canadian corporations or residents of Canada and, on the other hand, the State of Israel, Israeli corporations or residents of Israel’s illegal settlements;
– The repeal of the House of Commons resolution condemning the BDS movement (Vote #14, 42nd Parliament, 1st Session; 22 February 2016.)
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada calls on the Government of Canada to assess the investments it has under its control and to divest from any companies which are directly benefiting from activity within Israel’s illegal settlements or its occupation of the OPT; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GPC calls on the Government of Canada to warn of the legal consequences of trade and investment in the illegal settlements;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada, and if elected, a Green government, as part of a policy on ethical purchases, will not purchase or use products produced by companies which are profiting from activity within Israel’s illegal settlements or its occupation of the OPT; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada calls on the Canadian Government to recognize the State of Palestine, and, should Canada gain a seat on the UN Security Council, the Green Party of Canada calls on the Canadian Government to pursue aggressively all possible diplomatic pressure on Israel, as well as on the United States to use its massive military aid to Israel as a lever to push for peace; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada calls on the Government of Canada to ask the International Criminal Court to prioritize its investigation into charges of potential war crimes by members of the Israeli forces, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that; Policy G16-P006-A Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions as voted on at the August 2016 BGM be repealed and replaced by this policy.
The Green Party of Canada is firmly committed to human rights, peaceful resolutions of conflict and international law. Of all the political parties in Canada, the GPC has the most thoughtful, detailed and balanced policy on the Israeli-Palestinian position of any party.
This resolution and review of our Middle East policies is an effort to update Green Party policies through consensus-decision-making. The following is proposed for adoption at the Calgary meeting December 3-4, 2016:
The Green Party of Canada reconfirms the following policies, passed between 1988 and 2014, which have been decided on through the consensus-decision-making process:
G08-p030: Palestinian Right to Statehood
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada endorse the recognition of a Palestinian right to statehood within the internationally recognized borders as described in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242.
G08-p042: Israel/Palestine Conflict
BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada:
1. Support a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict that adheres to pre-1967 borders and also seeks to incorporate an international plan for stimulating economic prosperity in both nations.
2. Call on both sides to immediately stop the killing of civilians and adhere to international law.
3. Encourage the Canadian government to press for a mutually agreed upon honest broker to engage in bi-literal and multi-lateral peace talks involving Palestinians and Israelis.
4. Call on Arab countries to use their influence to broker an agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian National Authority to facilitate the promotion of peace amongst the competing Palestinian interests.
5. Call for an end to the collective siege of Gaza so that medical and humanitarian aid can be provided.
6. Actively support the efforts of civil society groups working for peace, human rights, and justice in the region.
G10-p09 Recognizing Palestinian Products as Palestinian
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Green Party of Canada would seek to introduce legislation that would amend the Canada Israel free trade agreement. This change would require Israel to label as Palestinian, products and services from lands recognized under international law as Palestinian territory.
G14-P22 Condemning Illegal Israeli Settlement Expansions
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Green Party of Canada fully condemn all illegal Israeli settlement expansions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as undeniable obstacles to the Israel-Palestine peace-process.
G14-P58 Israel – Palestine Conflict
BE IT RESOLVED that the GPC urges the immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Palestine. The GPC will adopt a posture of engaged neutrality, opening all available diplomatic avenues in both Palestine and Israel to press for a peaceful resolution to the conflict consistent with the GPC’s commitment to justice and custom of speaking truth to power.
BGM 2016 POLICIES
There are two policies directly related to Israel and Palestine, which passed at the August 2016 BGM. The first policy was split out from the original resolution and passed by consensus.
G16-P006-1 Opposing Prohibition of BDS (passed by consensus)
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GPC opposes all efforts to prohibit, punish or otherwise deter expressions of support for BDS.
The second policy was passed by majority but not by consensus and will be repealed and replaced by this resolution if passed by consensus.
G16-P006-2 Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (passed by majority but not by consensus – this policy will be replaced by the new policy being proposed)
BE IT RESOLVED that the GPC supports the use of divestment, boycott and sanctions (“BDS”) that are targeted to those sectors of Israel’s economy and society which profit from the ongoing occupation of the OPT;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GPC will support such a form of BDS until such time as Israel implements a permanent ban on further settlement construction in the OPT, and enters into good faith negotiations with representatives of the Palestinian people for the purpose of establishing a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state.
BACKGROUND ON THE POLICY UPDATE
In the years since the GPC adopted this policy, to which we are still committed, the situation has worsened. The possibility of a two-state solution is diminishing directly due to the Netanyahu government’s support for illegal expansion and increasingly brutal military occupation. Even over 200 former members of Israeli Defense Forces (“Security First”) have decried the worsening security situation for Israelis and Palestinians – and laid the blame directly on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policies. The former Israeli military officers have raised the alarm of a “humanitarian crisis in Gaza” and the diminishing chances for a two-state solution.
Clearly, Canada needs to do more to register with the Israeli government that flouting international law and threatening the security of its own people while violating the human rights of Palestinians is not acceptable. In doing so, Canada must continue to condemn violence from the militant elements of Palestinian society.
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