Divestment in Israel campaign
by Ruth Weill, former co-chair Wisconsin Green Party
As a Jewish Green, I take special interest in Middle Eastern affairs.
Back in 2005 the Green Party approved support of the Divestment in Israel campaign. Many in the Jewish community saw this as anti-Semitic and an act hostile to the existence of the state of Israel. I disagree.
I feel that the Israeli government is putting Israelis and their country’s existence in harm’s way by continuing to ignore international law while collectively punishing the Palestinian people.
I agree that suicide bombing is 100 percent wrong and should cease immediately. I also believe that the wall that divides Palestinian communities is a crime. Ordinary Palestinians cannot go to work, school etc., because most roads are for Israelis only and the checkpoints are not only an inconvenience, but also a source of humiliation.
Palestinian home demolitions are another crime, as is destruction of century-old Palestinian olive trees. Palestinians’ lack of clean water is making life miserable for many.
Growing up I learned about how the Jewish people worked to create a just world, to help bring equality and fairness to all. I feel strongly opposed to having any injustice committed in my name.
I want to preserve Israel’s existence, not necessarily as a “Jewish” state as many see it today, but as a safe haven for the Jewish people and for the Palestinians, and whoever else decides to reside there.
There are several Jewish activist groups inside Israel and across the globe working for justice for the Palestinians, because they see doing so as part of their duty as Jews. Unfortunately groups like Gush Shalom, Rabbis for Human Rights and several others do not get the exposure they deserve.
The U.S. cannot continue its blind support of Israel if it wants true peace in the Middle East.
There are varieties of opinions regarding the one- or two-state solutions, or the term “Jewish state.” It is my opinion that no state should be based on religious affiliation. Jews, Muslims, Christians, and members of other faiths should all have equal basic rights in this most desired land.
With a new administration in office, Jewish peace activists need to make their opinions clear. The U.S. cannot continue its blind support of Israel if it wants true peace in the Middle East. Most of the Arab world sees the United States as unfairly supporting the Israeli government while continually chastising most of the Arab Muslim world. Israel has nuclear weapons ó many are not aware of this fact. I am not implying that they will use them, but please see the hypocrisy in demanding Iran cease all nuclear activity while Israel actually has these weapons.
The Palestinians have suffered immensely under occupation, much of it funded by U.S. taxpayers; this type of support needs to cease immediately for us to be considered honest brokers in the peace process. I urge President Obama and his cabinet to truly evaluate the effects of our monetary and military support of the occupation while developing their foreign policy regarding Israel/Palestine.
Again, as a Jewish Green I take special interest in the situation in Israel/Palestine, from what I learned growing up and my continued peace and justice work. I am hoping that in my lifetime Israelis and Palestinians can live in true peace, something everyone so deserves.
In a recent interview (“Democracy Now,” I think) President Carter said that reducing support of Israel will not bring peace. I sent an editorial to Secretary of State Clinton that I submitted to the Sioux City Journal. (Read “The Palestinian Perspective” at SiouxlandPeaceCoalition.com.) I also urged her to consider allowing the Israelis to be responsible for their own decisions by reducing our financial support by at least 10% per year.