Would a Green US president end aid to Israel?

Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein

Richard Hurd Flickr

Another presidential election is looming, and supporters of Palestinian rights may be asking themselves what kind of choice they have.

Those who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 in the hopes that he would improve the situation for Palestinians surely had their hopes dashed even before his inauguration, as he sat by silently while Israel launched a high-tech pogrom against the population of Gaza. Meanwhile, Republican candidate Mitt Romney never misses a chance to demonstrate that he plans to be even more craven in his subservience to Israel than the incumbent.

With such a bleak choice between the major party candidates, it is natural that many voters will want to consider making a statement by voting for the Green Party candidate. After all, the Green Party platform has called for a one-state solution, stating “we support a US foreign policy that promotes the creation of one secular, democratic state for Palestinians and Israelis on the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan as the national home of both peoples, with Jerusalem as its capital” (Green Party 2012 Platform).

Its 2008 standard bearer, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, risked her life aboard a “Free Gaza” boat that was rammed by the Israeli Navy when it attempted to reach Gaza with medicine banned under Israel’s ongoing siege. Ralph Nader, the Greens’ candidate in 1996 and 2000, brought up the plight of the Palestinians while he campaigned.

So what about this year? The Greens have nominated Massachusetts physician Jill Stein. Her campaign efforts have focused on getting on the ballot and securing federal matching funds. Her website had absolutely no policy statements on it for many months, and even today it does not have an “issues” section.

Instead, she has a “Green New Deal” tab which leads to you the text of her rebuttal to the president’s State of the Union message. While that rebuttal includes a good deal of economic and environmental policy, it does not include any foreign policy. It was not until May that she issued a statement on United States policy regarding Israel and the Palestinians, which is now buried on page seven of the “Campaign News” section of her website (“US policy to Israel, Palestine must change, says Stein,” 15 May 2012).

Statements warrant careful analysis

While the first two paragraphs of the statement include some blunt criticism of Israeli policies and US support for them, the actual proposals that she makes in the following five paragraphs are rather Zionist. Moreover, the wording is crafted in such a way as to give a leave the casual reader with the impression that she is being tough on Israel, whereas a careful analysis shows that the opposite is the case.

The problems start with paragraph number 3, in which Stein states:

“On taking office, I will put all parties on notice, including the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority, and the Hamas administration in Gaza that future US support will depend on respect for human rights and compliance with international law. All three administrations will also be held responsible for preventing attacks by non-state actors on civilians or military personnel of any nationality. The parties will be given 60 days to each demonstrate unilateral material progress towards these ends.”

At first glance it would seem as if she is trying to be even-handed, which itself would be an act of charity to the Israelis, seeing as she singled out their “occupation, apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements, blockades, building of nuclear bombs, indefinite detention, collective punishment, and defiance of international law” in the previous paragraph.

But the even-handedness is an illusion. Notice that she says: “All three administrations will also be held responsible for preventing attacks by non-state actors on civilians or military personnel of any nationality” (emphasis added).

The problem here is that Israel is a state, and Palestine is not. Hamas, for instance, would be obligated to refrain from any attack as well as prevent Islamic Jihad and other groups from attacking. Israel, on the other hand, would only have to stop its settlers in the West Bank from attacking their neighbors, but the Israeli army as a state actor would not be prevented from its frequent and vicious attacks.

In fact, there is nothing in this statement calling on the Israeli military to halt its attacks. She could have said “All three administrations will cease attacks on civilians or military personnel of any nationality,” but for some reason she decided only to call for them to prevent attacks by non-state actors.

What constitutes “material progress”?

At the end of paragraph number three Stein says that the parties will have 60 days to show “material progress,” which she explains in paragraph four could constitute “an end to the discriminatory apartheid policies within the state of Israel, the removal of the Separation Wall, a ban on assassination, movement toward denuclearization, the release of all political prisoners and journalists from Israeli and Palestinian prisons, disarmament of non-state militias, and recognition of the right of self-determination for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

Again, at first glance it would seem as if she is being harder on the Israeli side, because most of the steps she lists only apply to Israel (i.e. only Israel practices apartheid policies, only it has built a wall, only it has engaged in countless assassinations, only it is suspected of possessing nuclear weapons, etc.). However, remember that she is not demanding that all these practices be halted within sixty days, but that “material progress” be shown.

The release of a fraction of the 10,000 or so Palestinians held in Israeli prison could be deemed to constitute material progress. Meanwhile, the only step that applies to the Palestinians is the disarmament of non-state militias, which is virtually impossible. The last time that this was tried it resulted in a Palestinian civil war and the political separation of Gaza from the West Bank. Notice that the Israeli army is not required to disarm, nor are the Jewish settlers who are not organized into militias.

Little departure from current policy

Dr. Stein states that “Failure by any party to demonstrate sufficient material progress will result in the end of US military and economic aid to that party.” The corollary is that if Israel makes “material progress” then it can continue to receive three billion dollars a year in direct military aid, plus all the other indirect aid and hidden perks.

I can’t think why Israel, given its ongoing history of violence against the Palestinians and neighboring countries, should be receiving US military aid under any circumstances. Besides, Israel is a very affluent country due in large part to American taxpayers, and we should not be sending them ever more aid while cutting programs here at home. Furthermore, while Hamas doesn’t exactly have to sweat about the loss of US aid, their inability to disarm militias in Gaza would result in them being subject to sanctions and boycotts implemented by the Stein administration.

So, while Dr. Stein’s rhetorical criticism of Israel is harsh, so long as the US keeps funding the Israeli military occupation, there will be little meaningful change on the ground. Under the proposal Stein put forth, Israel could continue its frequent and devastating attacks and point to Hamas’ inability to stop one group or another from lobbing homemade rockets towards Sderot. No change here.

Of course, given the lock that the two major parties have on the electoral system, any discussion of policy under a Stein administration is purely hypothetical. Still, there would be considerable value in a presidential candidate calling for cutting off foreign aid to Israel and an end to the siege of Gaza in unqualified and unconditional terms, which Stein does not seem prepared to do.

It is possible that she drafted this proposal in haste and simply did not think it through. If that is the case, she should withdraw her policy and draft one that truly promotes the causes of peace and justice.

Titus North is a former professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Pittsburgh. He was the Green Party’s nominee for Mayor of Pittsburgh in 2005 and for US Congress in 2006 and 2008.




The implication that Jill Stein is a closet Zionist and is running away from the GP platform is nonsense. Unfortunately some Roseanne Barr supporters and others have been spreading this manure and hoping it will stick. Truth is, Jill Stein supports the Green Party's position on Palestine-Israel issues (see http://www.gp.org/press/pr-nat... for one example) and I'm sure as the campaign progresses that will become clear to everyone. The fact that her website lacks details on this and other policy issues can be a problem, but anyone who assumes it is because our national ticket is running away from the GP platform is mistaken. Serious political activists know better than to fall for this mudslinging. Support this revolutionary campaign and build the progressive movement.


Mr. North can't read. The GP platform is pretty clear about stopping US aid to Israel, without the bizarre parsing he applies to other paragraphs to avoid this one:

"d. We reject U.S. unbalanced financial and military support of Israel while Israel occupies Palestinian lands and maintains an apartheid-like system in both the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel toward its non-Jewish citizens. Therefore, we call on the U.S. President and Congress to suspend all military and foreign aid, including loans and grants, to Israel until Israel withdraws from the Occupied Territories, dismantles the separation wall in the Occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem, ends its siege of Gaza and its apart­heid-like system both within the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel toward its non-Jewish citizens."


If you re-read my third paragraph, I state that many voters would want to consider the Green Party because of the pro-Palestinian plank in its platform. I supplied a link to it. What I am pointing out is that Dr. Stein’s proposal is at odds with the Green Party platform. The Green Party platform calls for all aid to Israel to be cut off “until Israel withdraws from the Occupied Territories” and “ends its siege of Gaza,” among other things. By Dr. Stein’s proposal would allow aid to continue as long as vaguely defined “material progress” is made on a list of issues, although withdrawing from the Occupied Territories and ending its siege of Gaza were not on that list.

When I was on the Green Party Platform Committee I helped ward off efforts to water down our plank on Palestine. If Dr. Stein simply adopted the Green Party platform plank on Palestine as her own position, I could support her in good conscience. However, she issued a on statement on Israel and Palestine that marks a significant retreat from the traditional Green party position. I don’t think I am unreasonable to hope that she might withdraw her flawed proposal and instead fully endorse the Green Party platform’s plank on Palestine.


Regarding your comment of "The problem here is that Israel is a state, and Palestine is not." is it possible that Jill Stein considers Palestine a state? After all the PLO/Palestine declared statehood in 1988 and currently 130 UN member countries recognize Palestine as a state. I also recognize Palestine as a state, though a state which is not fully independent.


The 2012 Green Party Platform says in part

"d. We reject U.S. unbalanced financial and military support of Israel while Israel occupies Palestinian lands and maintains an apartheid-like system in both the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel toward its non-Jewish citizens. Therefore, we call on the U.S. President and Congress to suspend all military and foreign aid, including loans and grants, to Israel until Israel withdraws from the Occupied Territories, dismantles the separation wall in the Occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem, ends its siege of Gaza and its apart­heid-like system both within the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel toward its non-Jewish citizens."

"e. We also reject U.S. political support for Israel and demand that the U.S. government end its veto of Security Council resolutions pertaining to Israel. We urge our government to join with the U.N. to secure Israel’s complete withdrawal to the 1967 boundaries and its compliance with international law."

Each of those statements as well as other statements in the platform are very pro Palestinian.


Titus raises some very good points and all of us who support Palestine should read them carefully and give them due consideration. I am to a large degree still persuaded to vote for her given the Green Party platform on Palestine/Israel and have to presume that she supports that position as a Green Party candidate.
On another note, I have some feelings that Titus North, in full disclosure, has an obligation to acknowledge (altho he was also a Green Party candidate for elected office in the past) that he has been a very vocal and firm supporter of Ron Paul for quite some time, a candidate whose policies are clearly in almost complete contradiction to Green Party principles and that his criticisms of Green Party candidates may be influenced/shaped by his adherence to Ron Paul. Some may find this irrelevant and I understand that, but I do not.


I don’t know if I have an obligation to disclose the candidates I have supported or worked for in the past, but I openly and actively supported Ron Paul’s campaign during the primaries. I also supported Ralph Nader in the last four general elections, whether he was running as a Green or not.

Ron Paul never had any trouble calling for aid to Israel to be cut off. Please refer to this article from none other that Fox News titled “Anti-War Group Code Pink Counts Ron Paul in Their Camp on Israel Aid Opposition” (http://www.foxnews.com/politic...). He also had no trouble condemning Israel’s siege of Gaza, even from the floor of Congress, calling it a “cruel act of war.” (http://paul.house.gov/index.ph...). Jill Stein’s statement on Israel and Palestine failed to even mention the siege. I supported Ron Paul despite many significant differences with him on domestic policies because his stands against war were so principled, and in particular because of his consistent opposition to our aid to Israel and complicity with its war crimes.

Regarding the contention that Ron Paul’s policies are “clearly in almost complete contradiction to Green Party principles,” very much to her credit Dr. Stein acknowledges that she has “a lot of overlap with Ron Paul.” She specifically mentions the need to close our overseas military bases, protect civil liberties, stop the bail out of Wall Street corporations, and take on the Federal Reserve. (http://www.opednews.com/articl...). If Dr. Stein feels that many Ron Paul’s supporters would want to vote for the Green Party candidate in the general election, the corollary is that Green Party members could have found Ron Paul attractive during the primaries.


Readers should consider the source of this article. Titus North was at one time affiliated with the Green Party himself, but somewhere along the line made a political conversion to Ron Paul-ism, if not Ayn Rand-ism. This hatchet job of an article he wrote here appears to be nothing more than an attempt to smear a political organization that he either left voluntarily or was thrown out of.


How about a purple president or maybe lapis lazuli? They would be equally relevant.


Roseanne Barr is the way to go for President. She is on the ballot in Michigan, so I know a lot of Arab-Americans and Muslim Americans are going to voting for her. Roseanne Barr is 100% aligned with the GP Platform, and Stein's silence speaks volumes. Who is really funding Stein anyway? Zionists?


This kind of baseless ad hominem attack does not reflect well on the Roseanne Barr campaign or her supporters. Considering that Barr is on the ballot in just three states, the presidential run (she also says she is running for Prime Minister of Israel) is little more than a celebrity's publicity stunt. In reality, Barr and Stein have virtually the same position on Palestine-Israel issues, and honestly the attitude toward Jill looks like sour grapes over Barr not getting nominated for the GP ticket. Barr's VP candidate Cindy Sheehan has already resigned from the campaign. Serious activists know better than to fall for this mudslinging. Jill Stein is not a Zionist and she is not running away from the Green Party's position on Palestine-Israel issues (see http://www.gp.org/press/pr-nat... for one example).


On September 7th Jill Stein finally added an issues page on her website. She makes no direct reference to Palestine or Israel, but two bullet-points do reference the Middle East as a region.

•Create a nuclear free zone in the Middle East region and require all nations in area to join.

•Make human rights and international law the basis of our policy in the Middle East


I searched Ms. Stein's website & requested information from her campaign regarding her support of BDS for (equal) human rights for Palestinians and Israelis. I never received a reply.

Very disappointing. In order to get to human rights & justice, a presidential campaign is the perfect platform for educating people about how they can take action to support the same. Instead of saying "vote for me" or "get me on the ballot"; Ms. Stein and the US Green Party have lost an opportunity to support a world-wide non violent movement (requested by Palestinian civil society) to engage in Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions as a method of forcing Israel to change its policies of apartheid, theft & war.
I'm still waiting for an answer regarding Ms. Stein's position on BDS.
The whole point of third party candidate at this point is to raise issues fearlessly, take a stand & educate people.

Still waiting.


This is a useful article. I don't agree that it is a "hatchet job" at all--it's careful and specific. That said, I'm not sure what Ms. Stein would say. It *should* be the case that the Green Party supports the complete cessation of military "aid" to nations anywhere. We shouldn't be the NRA to the world! I hope she would and does agree. Someone should bring this up to her.


I've read about Jill Stein, and, for the most part, I like what she has to say. I take issue with her on at least two things, however:

A) Unlike her and the Green Party, I'm a proponent of the 2-state solution for the I/P debacle, and think that Israel should end its occupation of West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem once and for all, evacuating all their settlers, pulling their troops back from those territories, and allow the Palestinians to create their own independent, sovereign Palestinian nation-state alongside Israel, and not in place of Israel, the way lots of people want.


If Jill Stein were a Zionist (closeted or otherwise), Noam Chomsky wouldn't be supporting her.


Noam Chomsky is against the Zionist regime but he has expressed support of Obama if the voter is in a swing state. Reasoning like this could be used to support another Zionist.


The Green Party (USA) platform is an excellent statement of policy - calling for the reunification of Palestine in a single democratic state with equal rights of all human beings in all of Palestine. Ms. Stein by contrast seems to believe that there is some sort of equivalence between ethnic cleansing imperialists and indigenous people trying to liberate there homeland from one of the worst human rights abusing and utterly hypocritical regimes of the past century. There is no point in voting for Ms. Stein. Perhaps next time, the Green Party will nominate a candidate who will stand firmly for the end to Zionist persecution of the Palestinian people and the removal of genocidal nuclear weapons from such a early dangerous and truly crazy regimes of the "modern" world.


Thanks for asking the question, follow up questions, filming and posting. Interesting she didn't call out the PA on human rights abuse as she repeated opposition to human rights abuses by (Israel, as well as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Hamas) as if Israel could not be isolated. I wish there had been a question about supporting BDS. It was a perfect opportunity for her to educate people about it when she referred to organizing and protest by civil society. It's good to talk about what the US should do, but more effective for change to educate and mobilize people about what we can do to force the government(s) to change.


From the Jill Stein website (http://www.jillstein.org/first...):
Jill Stein, the first Jewish contender for the presidency of the United States of America, called today for the international community to heed the findings of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine and to take immediate steps to ensure that Israel comply with its responsibilities according to international human rights law. Specifically, Dr. Stein reiterated that as president, she would require Israel, as well as other nations, to uphold international law and human rights as a condition for further U.S. aid. In particular, this would require Israel to end human rights abuses, and respect the rights of Palestinians and other peoples living under Israeli rule.

“The Green Party of the United States has long been a leader in standing up for the rights of all peoples living under military rule and racial apartheid, and the Palestinian people are no exception,” said Dr. Stein. “I am proud that our party platform reflects our universal and consistent commitment to human rights.”