When I joined the Greens in 2001, there was no clear position on Israeli occupation of Palestine. The only justification I got from Greens officials and politicians that “the Greens is very small party that did not have a chance to be involved in foreign politics”. This was not accurate, as there was Greens member of Federal parliament (Bob Brown).
The Greens campaign that year was based on one issue: Tampa and boat people, despite the fact that the Greens until that time did not have policy on refugees and boat people. It was popular issue that Bob Brown thought he could capitalise to win more votes. But the Greens discovered from the campaign that there are many issues that form strong basis for their votes. One of them was the Israeli brutal occupation of Palestine.
At one campaign gathering the Greens were faced with one question: what is your position on Israeli occupation of Palestine. The Greens member referred the voter to Lee Rhiannon (NSW MLC at that time and current senator for NSW). Ms Lee did not find any answer. She referred the public member to me. I made lies on the Greens position on Palestine. Lee and her Greens members were happy that I saved them from very crucial and embarrassing question.
After the election of Kerry Nettle in that election, Australians (including me) was sucked to the Greens lies that it is a progressive party. And they let them down badly.
In 2002 and in the wake of Israeli massacres during Defensive Wall operation, the Palestinian and pro-Palestinians decided to hold a fundraising event to help Palestinian victims of Israeli latest brutality. The organisers of the event (held in Addison Road Community centre) decided that no politician deserves to speak at the event, except the Greens politicians. The organisers decided to invite Bob Brown and ask him to speak at the event. The organisers were shocked when Bob Brown’s office declined the invitation. Not only this. No Greens politician attended the event. It was very clear that the Greens leadership took a decision not to show solidarity with Palestinian people. To be fair, I should mention that 2 Greens council members attended the event in very low profile way.
In the same year, the Australian unions decided to send fact-finding mission to West Bank to investigate what really happened and report back to Australian parliament and people. The same decision was taken: to invite only Greens politicians to head the mission. The organisers were shocked to receive very clear decline of this invitation. The organisers asked me (as Greens member and spokesperson) to explore the reasons behind the refusal. I met Kerry Nettle on 1 May 2002 at the rally for Labor Day. I asked her, on behalf of the organisers, and her reply was deeply shocking. She told me that the Greens cannot do this and face the upheaval of conservative media attack. She told me exactly: “I do not want to be branded as pro-Palestinian politician from the beginning of my term”.
Frankly I was not shocked. The same person (Kerry Nettle) asked me after her election to the senate to provide her with literature on Palestine issue as “I do not know anything about the issue”.
The Greens to date did not do anything significant, apart from rhetoric, to give specific practical support to advance the debate about the issue on the way to change official Australian position on the issue.
Maybe some people will tell me that some Greens former politicians participated recently in solidarity ventures. And the question remains: why they could not participate in such missions when they were members of parliament???
The answer is very clear. This is the heart of Greens deceptive campaign to keep “all sides happy”. When the media asked Greens party about Sylvia Hale (former Greens MLC) participation last year in Freedom Flotilla to Gaza, the answer was very clear. She is former politician and her actions do not represent official Greens position.
Even the latest Greens bid to deceive voters by introducing motion in Marrickville council to adopt BDS, the reasons for this motion and the final result was clear. The majority of Greens politicians retreated and condemned the BDS. And the party governing body met to confirm this. Officially, the Greens rejects the BDS.
My other articles on the issue is on: http://www.jamaldaoud.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/bds-campaign-in-australia-one-step.html
The Greens real stance on Palestine is simple: “deceive all sides to make all sides happy”... And this is the main reasons why I left the Greens in 2006....