Among the other contenders for the leadership was the Welsh Greens' leader Pippa Bartolotti, well-known as an anti-Israel activist and flotilla alumna (on the candidates see the post and comments here).
Indeed, as seen also in Australia and elsewhere, bashing Israel is, it seems, in the Green Party's very DNA.
Successful candidate Ms Bennett is soon due to speak at this conference (along with some familiar Israel-demonisers) on a nuclear-free Middle East.
Of Ms Lucas, who has long exemplified the Greens' antipathy towards Israel, the Zionist Federation's Jonathan Hoffman writes:
'SodaStream has opened a shop in Brighton. SodaStream enables people to make their own carbonated soft drinks at home. It is thus the epitome of an environmentally friendly – or ‘green’ - company since it obviates the need for drinks in plastic bottles to be bought from the shops. In fact the company – which is present in 43 countries around the world with over 6 million active users – estimates that it saves the planet from the waste of 1 billion plastic bottles every day as well as saving millions of barrels of oil needed to make them.
Brighton’s MP is Caroline Lucas of the Green Party. You’d have thought she would welcome SodaStream to Brighton with open arms. Not only is a multinational choosing to invest in her constituency but its product conforms completely to the environmental agenda of her Party.
You’d have thought she’d welcome it … but you’d be wrong. Sodastream has a plant in Area C of the Disputed Territories and Ms Lucas says she
“supports the right of my constituents and others to … peacefully demonstrate against companies which operate out of illegal Israeli settlements.”
Ms Lucas should get her facts right. Under the Oslo Accords Area C is mostly under Israeli security and civil control pending a final settlement and Israeli companies are free to open plants there. The West Bank never belonged to any sovereign ruler after the British withdrew from Mandatory Palestine; before that it was part of the Ottoman Empire. Israel’s ‘borders’ are merely the ceasefire lines from its victory in 1948 against the Arab armies that tried unsuccessfully to exterminate it at birth. There is nothing ‘illegal’ about the settlements, a position supported by the US government for one. Indeed if settlements were ‘illegal’ then products manufactured there would not be allowed to be imported into the UK.
In fact Ms Lucas ties herself in knots in her statement because she says that
“I don’t support calls for the Ecostream store to close”.
But as she well knows, that is PRECISELY what the BDS mob wants – they even stand in the doorway of the shop to harangue potential customers.
If Ms Lucas is sincere about wanting the shop to stay open then she needs to come to the weekly BDS demonstrations and help to ensure that access to the shop is not blocked. And to talk to the police in Brighton to encourage them to move the BDS mob away from the shop (as the Met police did at Ahava).
If she doesn’t do both of these things then the electors of Brighton Pavilion – where she has a slim 1252 majority - can conclude that her antipathy to Israel trumps her enthusiasm for Green issues and can reasonably ask how ‘Green’ Ms Lucas REALLY is.'