This is priceless, and reads like parody. “Jewish Groups Push Back in Fight for Divestment From Fossil Fuel Companies; Fear Tactic Could Be Used in Israel Debate.” Great reporting by Hody Nemes and Nathan Guttman at the Forward.
Global warming? Chopped liver. Iran’s more of a problem.
[I]n interviews with the Forward, Jewish institutional leaders saw the issue as secondary to other global and social issues.
“We should be thinking of divestment only in terms of very extreme threats of the kind that Iran poses,” said Richard Foltin, director of national and legislative affairs at the American Jewish Committee. Foltin was referring to mainstream Jewish communal support for divestment from companies doing business with Iran, whose development of its nuclear capabilities is viewed as a cover for developing nuclear weapons that would pose an existential threat to Israel.
Reality check from the youth:
Kara Kaufman, a 2012 graduate of Brown University and committed climate activist, sees this perspective as one bound to alienate younger Jews…
What’s the big fear? That divestment would be legitimized as a tool, and would be turned on Israel. BDS really is marching.
Jews urging such a move [divesting from fossil fuel companies] on national organizations face a formidable hurdle: the fear of legitimizing divestment as a tactic, considering its use by pro-Palestinian groups against Israel.
In 2003, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, an important mainstream Jewish umbrella group, adopted guidelines for judging boycott or divestment initiatives that urged avoiding them in most cases. The guidelines, which are still viewed as the communal standard for judging these initiatives, recommend avoiding boycotts, divestment and economic sanctions because such measures could “deny the Jewish community the higher moral ground in opposing boycotts against Israel or Jewish interests.”…
Nemes and Guttman notice the hypocrisy:
In the past, however, the Jewish community did not hesitate to use these very same investments as a tool to advance communal goals. Groups stood behind legislation imposing trade restrictions on the Soviet Union until Jews were allowed to leave the country; some supported counter-boycotts against companies that adhered to the Arab boycott against Israel and, more recently, Jewish groups led calls to divest from Sudan because of genocide the Khartoum government was accused of committing in the country’s Darfur region. Most noticeable today, however, is the campaign supported by a wall-to-wall coalition of Jewish groups to divest American funds from Iran.
The difference this time?
Some groups argue that fossil fuel is not a clear-cut case compared to previous campaigns and that chances of it succeeding in bringing down carbon-emitting fuel companies are, at best, slim. But the concern about legitimizing the use of divestment, one of the three pillars of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement targeted at Israel in recent years, is ever-present.
That association got some traction recently during a debate over fossil fuel divestment at Swarthmore College. “Last year, there was a lot of agitation for companies to support Palestine and stop investing in companies having to do with Israel,” Swarthmore board chairman Giles Kemp told The New York Times, explaining one factor in his school’s rejection of the tactic. “Those students were as fervent in their cause as these students are in theirs.”
So the planet can go down the tube. Again we see how corrupting Zionism is, destroying Jewish activism on a central issue for the human species:
JCPA [Jewish Council for Public Affairs] also operates the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, but the council has yet to adopt a policy on fossil fuel divestment.
Jared Feldman, the council’s Washington director, expressed skepticism on the tactic’s efficacy. “Instead of talking about divestment, we should see how we can support development of alternative energy sources,” Feldman said.
I don’t know what to say. But this wasn’t in the Onion.