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US presidential candidate endorses boycott of Israel, Saudi Arabia Open in fullscreen

Karim Traboulsi

US presidential candidate endorses boycott of Israel, Saudi Arabia

The Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein is a Jewish native of Chicago [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 June, 2016

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Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has called on the US to end its support for Israel and Saudi Arabia, accusing the countries of war crimes and human rights abuses.
The US Green Party's candidate for this year's presidential elections has called on Washington to end its support for Israel and Saudi Arabia citing war crimes and massive human rights violations as a reason.

Dr. Jill Stein's team announced the move as the increasingly popular boycott, sanctions and divestment campaign against Israel rattles some elites in the West who have sympathies or close ties to Tel Aviv.

"The United States has encouraged the worst tendencies of the Israeli government as it pursues policies of occupation, apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements, demolitions, blockades, building of nuclear bombs, indefinite detention, collective punishment, and defiance of international law," the Stein campaign said in a statement.

"Therefore, the Stein campaign calls for ending military and economic support for the Israeli government while it is committing war crimes and defying international law."

The Jewish Green Party candidate said she supported the BDS movement as a peaceful, nonviolent set of actions.

The campaign is organised by civil society groups across the world and aimed at ending Israeli discriminatory laws, occupation of Palestinian land, war crimes, and systematic human rights abuses, added the statement.

The Stein campaign called for an "emergency overhaul" of current US foreign policy, which it described as a programme of total global military and economic domination. Instead, Stein wants US actions to promote international law, human rights and diplomacy.

"Our foreign policy currently serves war profiteers and fossil fuel companies, but not the American people or the cause of global justice, peace and security," it added.

The statement also called for the US to end war for "oil and markets", and backing allies who defy international law, commit human rights violations and war crimes.

"This includes the Israeli government and the rulers of Saudi Arabia," the statement went on to say, in reference to Israeli actions in Palestine and Saudi Arabia's involvement in the Yemeni conflict.
With regard to Israel, the United States has encouraged the worst tendencies of the Israeli government as it pursues policies of occupation, apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements, demolitions, blockades, building of nuclear bombs, indefinite detention, collective punishment, and defiance of international law.

Instead of allying with the courageous proponents of peace and human rights within Palestine and Israel, our government has rewarded consistent abusers of human rights.

In addition, the Stein campaign supports actions of nonviolent resistance to the policies of the occupation and of the Israeli apartheid regime, including those of the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign, which was endorsed by the Green Party of the United States in 2005 and is supported by thousands of civil society peace activists and organisations.  

--From the Stein Campaign statement

Dr. Stein, 64, is a physician and a Jewish Chicago native. She announced her candidacy for president last February.

While the Green Party remains on the fringe of the US' two-party political system, the endorsement reflects increased criticism of Israel, once a taboo subject in the US mainstream.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been overtly critical of Israel, including over its conduct during the 2014 war in Gaza, but stopped short of supporting BDS.

Nevertheless, Sanders, who is of Jewish heritage, is associated with some pro-BDS supporters according to the pro-Israel Jewish Journal.

Sanders appointed Dr. Cornel West, "a prominent supporter of the BDS movement" according to the paper, to the Democratic Party drafting platform committee in order to push for changes in the party’s policy on Israel.

His brother Larry, who lives in the UK, revealed in a tweet last year that he supports BDS.

"That Israel end occupation of West Bank, siege of Gaza, Palestinians in Israel equal rights. Netanyahu obstacle to peace. BDS yes," Larry Sanders tweeted on April 20, 2015.
The growing success of BDS has triggered a backlash from staunch supporters of Israel, who dominate the ruling elites in Western capitals on both the left and the right
But the growing success of BDS has triggered a backlash from staunch supporters of Israel, who dominate the ruling elites in Western capitals on both the left and the right.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton addressed the matter numerous times on the campaign trail.

In a letter sent to Hollywood mogul and major Democratic donor Haim Saban last year, Clinton expressed her "alarm" over the movement’s efforts attempting to "punish Israel".

"We need to repudiate forceful efforts to malign and undermine Israel and the Jewish people… We need to make countering BDS a priority."

Clinton also recently reaffirmed her commitment to fighting BDS in a letter to Jewish-American leaders.

Pro-Israel Senator Chuck Schumer announced he would soon introduce federal legislation against BDS, accusing BDS supporters of anti-Semitism. This follow's New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's signing of an executive order to state agencies and institutions.

"We must have a strong voice in denouncing the BDS movement and we must call it for what it is: Anti-Semitism," Schumer said on Sunday.

Similar moves against BDS have been proposed in Canada, the UK and France as Israel and its allies scramble to contain the "existential" threat from the movement.

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