AUSTIN, Texas — While members of both major political parties seek to oppress the free speech rights of human rights activists, the presumptive Green Party nominee is taking a stand against foreign wars and imperialism.
On Monday, Dr. Jill Stein tweeted a link to a statement in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, demanding radical change in U.S. foreign policy:
“The Jill Stein campaign calls for ending support for governments committing war crimes and massive human rights violations, including Israel and Saudi Arabia,” the undated statement on her website reads.\
“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,” the statement continues.
“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.”
She’s drawing attention to the issue at a time of increasing bipartisan support for limiting or banning the BDS movement. On Sunday, Mario Cuomo, New York’s Democratic governor, signed an executive order requiring the state to create a “blacklist” of individuals, corporations and organizations that boycott Israel, but Republican lawmakers have also suggested similar policies in other places, including California. Legal analysts have suggested these bans are an unconstitutional attack on activists’ free speech rights.
The BDS movement puts financial pressure on Israel to end its apartheid policies toward Palestinians and other oppressed minorities in the region. The movement is meeting with increasing success, especially on college campuses, but it’s also facing growing opposition from mainstream politicians and their wealthy supporters. In her statement, Stein points out that the Green Party endorsed the BDS movement in 2005, just months after Palestinian activists created it with a widely-circulated call to action.
Stein also criticizes other U.S. foreign policy decisions that have contributed to rampant instability in the Middle East and suggests her presidency would see the country charting a new course toward support of human rights:
“Consistency in U.S. policy regarding human rights and international law will begin, but not end, with Palestine and Israel. I will apply this same approach to other nations, such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt, among others.”
Saudi Arabia is a key ally of the United States, which shields the Gulf kingdom from the consequences of supporting terrorism and committing war crimes like its brutal assault on Yemen. The U.S. also backs repressive regimes in Egypt and Bahrain in order to protect its strategic interests in the Middle East.
While she singles out support for Israel and Saudi Arabia for special attention, Stein’s statement calls for an end to all U.S.empire building and military expansion:
“US foreign policy requires an emergency overhaul, from a program of total global military and economic domination, to a policy promoting international law, human rights and diplomacy. We must cease and desist from being, in the words of Martin Luther King, the greatest purveyor of violence world over.”
Stein’s platform advocates radical reform to the U.S. economy by redirecting resources from the military-industrial complex and the fossil fuel industry toward renewable green energy sources. And throughout her campaign, she’s advocated for voters to get more, and better, choices at the ballot box:
Retweet if you are disgusted by the idea of voting between a racist billionaire fool & a corporate funded warmonger 👎 Vote your conscience 👍
— Dr. Jill Stein🌻 (@DrJillStein) June 7, 2016
As Stein told Rolling Stone’s Tessa Stuart last month, voting for “[t]he lesser evil simply guarantees that the greater evil will be elected in the next election