On Monday, despite pressure from Jewish Lobby, pro-Israeli Christian groups and opposition from its own party leader Elizabeth May, Canada’s Green Party endorsed a growing international boycott against Israel’s occupation as part of its official platform.
After hours of contentious debate in the final plenary session of the party’s national convention in Ottawa, the Green Party passed a resolution to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which targets sectors of the Israeli economy in the June 1967 occupied Palestinian territories much the same fashion as international sanctions targeted South Africa’s white minority apartheid government in the 1980s. The party also agreed to oppose efforts to sanction the BDS movement, which in fact defends the pre-1967 Zionist Entity.
The Green Party resolution says (here):
When Palestine was partitioned in 1947, the U.N. allocated approximately 1/3 of Palestinian territory to the Palestinian people, although they constituted approximately 2/3 of the population.
Since 1947, the Palestinian people have never exercised true sovereignty over the territory the U.N. had allocated to them. Moreover, due primarily to Israeli settlement construction in the OPT, the land Palestinians occupy has shrunk dramatically since 1947.
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits occupying powers from transferring parts of their own civilian population to territory they occupy. Accordingly, the U.N. Security Council has declared that Israeli settlements in the OPT constitute “a flagrant violation” of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Moreover, in a 2004 advisory opinion, the International Court of Justice ruled that Israel’s settlements have been established in breach of international law.
Despite the clear illegality of Israeli settlements in the OPT, Israel has continued to construct and expand such settlements up to the current time and has given no indication that it will cease doing so in the foreseeable future. Moreover, the current Israeli Prime Minister has made numerous statements that raise serious questions as to his commitment to a two-state solution. Thus, Palestinians’ prospects for achieving a sovereign Palestinian state through bilateral negotiations with Israel are remote.
This leaves only one, non-violent option to the Palestinian people for realizing their dream of self-determination within their lifetimes. That option is BDS. Further, because BDS seeks to achieve Palestinian self-determination through economic and political sanctions rather than the use of force, BDS is entirely consistent with the GPC’s commitment to peace and mutual respect.
However, should Israel implement a permanent ban on settlement construction and expansion and enter into good faith negotiations with the Palestinian authorities with a view to the creation of a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state, then the GPC should re-evaluate whether its support for BDS is necessary to achieve Palestinian self-determination.
For nearly 70 years, the Palestinian people have been without a sovereign state. It is time for international community to give to the Palestinian people a realistic and non-violent path to self-determination. In the current circumstances, BDS is, in the view of the submitter, the only such path.
Elizabeth May, Green Party’s only member in the parliament said she was deeply disappointed. “The party policy on this issue is a position I can’t support,” she said.
Canada’s former immigration and citizen minister Jason Kenney tweeted: “The only state Green Party wants to boycott and sanctions happens to be world’s only Jewish state.”
Richard Zurawski (Jewish), a former Green party candidate, said the vote was distressing and destructive for the party.
Other party members disagreed. “I’ve never felt prouder to be a member of this party,” said Dimitri Lascaris, the party’s justice critic who was the one responsible for tabling the motion. “We took a brave stand today for human rights,” adding that some Jewish delegates supported the position.
Earlier Green Party had campaigned against the charity status of the Jewish National Fund which finance the Jewish settlements on lands stolen from native Palestinians.
In February 2016, an anti-BDS bill was passed by Canada’s parliament (229:51) with the support of country’s three major political parties, ruling Liberals, and opposition parties; Conservatives and NDP.