While most Israel Green Movement efforts are currently focused on establishing a political presence locally (reminder – primaries this Friday!), it is not too early to start cultivating our relations with our Green counterparts abroad. The Green Movement plans to be part a broader, global progressive movement – starting with Green Parties of Europe and the Americas. The task won’t necessarily be easy, as many individuals in these parties take a very hard line against Israel (and not only against specific Israeli policies). Yet, other Green Party members are also taking pro-active measures to help their colleagues better understand political and security challenges in Israel.
Two examples come to mind. In England, Green Party members active in challenging their party’s anti-Israel bias operate the website “Greens Engage.” The Green Party members who operate the site, describe Greens Engage in these words: “We began life as a single-issue site which we anticipated would last as long as the boycott lasted. Since then Greens have unveiled startling draft policy which proposes the imposition of 1947 UN borders, unilateral withdrawal from occupied Palestinian lands, and the right of return for all UN-designated Palestinian refugees while repealing the Jewish right of return. In response we broadened our horizons and changed our name from Greens Stop The Boycott to Greens Engage”. The blog includes reports on the English/Welsh Green Party’s policies regarding Israel, anti-Semitism on the left in England, but also reports on germane efforts to catalyze peaceful and productive relationships between Palestinians and Israelis. The blog is here.
Meanwhile, in Berkeley, California, Wendy Kenin of the Green Party of California organized a special mission to Israel in order for Green and other progressive Californians to meet with their Israeli counterparts. According to Kenin’s report of the trip, “among sites the Mission toured was the Yemin Orde Wingate Youth Village, south of Haifa in the Carmel Mountains, home to more than 500 immigrant, disadvantaged, and at-risk children and youth from 20 countries around the world. They also went to the Jerusalem Open House, a grassroots LGBT center; and Neve Shalom—Wahat al-Salame (Oasis of Peace), a village situated between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Jaffa jointly-established by Jewish and Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel engaged in educational work for peace, equality and understanding between the two peoples.” The entire report can be read here.
In the coming months, the Israel Green Movement plans to work with these colleagues and others abroad – to become familiar with the various Green Parties, their positions regarding Israel and the Middle East, and to facilitate meetings aimed at strengthening potential collaborations internationally. The Israel Green Movement salutes efforts like those of Ms. Kenin in California and Greens Engage in England, and we look forward to working with them – at once strengthening a global progressive community and helping to define Israel’s role in that community.