Greens respond to a slanderous attack by lawyer Alan Dershowitz against the Green Party and its position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Monday, October 27, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC — The co-chairs of the Green Party’s International Committee (http://www.gp.org/committees/intl) have responded to an attack by Alan Dershowitz against the Green Party and its position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The text of the response follows below:
On October 12, Mr. Dershowitz, a prominent attorney, published an op-ed column in The Daily News (New York) titled “Both Barack Obama and John McCain are true friends of Israel …” ( http://tinyurl.com/4b42hv ).
In his column, Mr. Dershowitz accused the Green Party and Green presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney of anti-Semitism and endorsed elections limited to two political parties.
Greens noted that Mr. Dershowitz has promoted ‘torture warrants’ to permit torture of individuals when a threat to US is detected, a position he shares with the Israeli government. The use of torture has been categorically rejected by numerous military, intelligence, and legal experts because of humane concerns, international laws and treaties, unreliability as a method for obtaining information, and because torture would place US military personnel and other Americans at risk of similar treatment in retaliation.
Justine McCabe and Julia Willebrand submitted the Green response to the Daily News’ editorial department, which declined to publish it. The response was embargoed until last week to give the Daily News first right of publication.
It Isn’t Easy Being Green
By Justine McCabe and Julia Willebrand
Co-Chairs, International Committee, Green Party of the United States
Presidential election years aren’t easy for those of us in parties outside the Democratic and Republican mainstream. Shut out of the national debates and most media coverage, our ideas seldom get a fair hearing, even though most Americans agree with us. But worse than no coverage is when our policies are dismissed, not on their merit or the facts, but by slander.
Case in point: a recent Daily News column by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz. Known for his unwavering support of Israel, Dershowitz isn’t merely content to ban Palestinians from the public discussion on the Middle East conflict. He uses name-calling to drown out any voices in this election except those of the established parties — the two parties whose foreign policies have led to international animosity against the US.
Dershowitz epitomizes those who believe that any criticism of the state of Israel or its actions constitutes anti-Semitism. What they call anti-Semitism in the Green Party’s national platform is actually adherence to international law, observance of human rights for all Palestinians and Israelis, and support for a nonviolent negotiated resolution to the conflict (www.gp.org/platform/2004/democracy.html#310677)
The Green Party takes no campaign contributions from AIPAC, its rightwing allies, or the oil industry. Unlike Democrats and Republicans, who accept such money, Greens condemn all violence against unarmed civilians, whether by Palestinians or Israelis, whether through the use of American-made F-16’s or Caterpillar bulldozers. We oppose military aid to Israel and Arab countries. Unlike Barack Obama and John McCain, Greens have deplored Israel’s violation of over 60 UN Security Council resolutions against collective punishment, confiscation of Palestinian land and illegal settlement by 400,000 Israeli colonists, and demolition of over 10,000 Palestinian homes. We continue to oppose Israel’s violations of human rights that are recognized as universal by the international community: the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and the right of self-determination.
Ironically, unlike the Israeli press, the US media have tolerated little discussion on the issue. Otherwise, Americans would know that the Green position is shared by people like South Africa’s Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the Irish public sector union IMPACT, the British National Union of Journalists–all of whom recognize the apartheid-like conditions in Israel and the Occupied Territories and have endorsed a boycott to insist that Israel dismantle them (http://www.gp.org/press/pr_2005_11_28.shtml).
Dershowitz repeats accusations, lies, and distortions that have been leveled against former Democratic congresswoman and now Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney because of her principled positions and her refusal to take orders from AIPAC — a lobby for a foreign government — and its allies. However, he gets one thing correct: Obama and McCain have expressed the same uncritical support for the government of Israel and its actions, which guarantees no hope of peaceful resolution in the next administration, regardless of which candidate wins the White House. Why not just toss a coin instead of holding an election?
In the end, so eager are apologists like Dershowitz to shut down real debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other vital topics that they would limit the political field and banish “extremist” alternative parties. In fact, alternative parties have introduced such extremist ideas as abolition of slavery, women’s right to vote, the 8-hour workday, and Social Security. The Green Party is here to remind Americans that unequivocal support for Israel’s actions is a corruption of American values like justice and equality before the law — values that most Americans still hold dear.
Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org