Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Leave No Politician Behind. Not even the Greens.

The Green Party USA supports Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions of Israel.

The Green Party of the United States (GPUS) publicly calls for divestment from and boycott of the State of Israel until such time as the full individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people are realized.

So why does an elected official in San Francisco, who ran on a platform that very explicitly opposed militarism, decide to accept funding for a trip sponsored by a extremist pro-war organization to visit Israel? We would very much like to know.

The following is an open letter to Jane Kim of the San Francisco Board of Education. Last year, she participated in a delegation put together by a group called "American-Israel Friendship League", a groups that right now is focusing on making sure that Israel is not held accountable for the war crimes it committed in Gaza.

We are hoping that this open letter gets a positive response, and that Ms. Kim will be open to meeting with Palestinian youth, so they can share firsthand the barriers Israel has constructed to prevent a decent education for them. So if you live in San Francisco, please also consider sharing your concerns in a respectful manner.

Jane Kim
San Francisco Board of Education

Ms. Kim,

I have just learned, more than a year after the fact, that you participated in a trip paid for by a political lobby supporting Israeli policies. It is disturbing that you have accepted funding for travel from an organization that has a platform that contradicts progressive values of support for human rights and peace.

This very same organization, "American Israel Friendship League" is leading the call to exempt Israel from being held accountable for violations of international law with its barbaric bombing and destruction of Gaza. Crimes that include the killing of hundreds of children (students) by US supplied weapons. Crimes that include the withholding of aid that will provide nourishment for children, who are instead suffering malnutrition and in the grip of a man-made humanitarian catastrophe with policies supported by the very same organization that paid for your trip to Israel.

I appreciate that you want to learn more of what is happening in the Middle East. I hope in the future you choose not to accept any funding from groups that oppose human rights, from groups that support the waging of war against civilians that destroys the basics of society. I hope you can very soon take the time to listen to Palestinian voices and their experiences of how the Israeli system of occupation and apartheid have denied so many Palestinian young people of their right to education. That can be done by listening to local voices here in the Bay Area or by another trip to the Middle East. May I suggest you consider joining a delegation to Palestine guided by the Middle East Children's Alliance? You may learn more of that delegation here: http://mecaforpeace.org/article.php?list=type&type=52

We need more than ever political leaders unafraid to speak up for human rights, justice and peace. I appreciate your courage to stand against the ROTC and military recruitment in our schools. Please stand firmly for the rights of Palestinians to education and a decent future.

For peace,

Jim Harris

PO Box 11311
Berkeley, CA 94712

"Local Progressives Step Beyond Normal Boundaries"

American Israel Friendship League

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