25 Progressive Minnesotans Divest from Israel [UPDATED]

No, this is not a headline from The Onion.
News broke yesterday on Twitter and several local blogs that the Minnesota DFL Progressive Caucus unanimously passed a resolution to divest from Israel bonds.

Twitter Announcement of Divestment Resolution Passing

The resolution was introduced by local pro-Palestinian activist Elisabeth Geschiere, and accepted unanimously toward the end of the three-and-a-half-hour caucus meeting.
[UPDATED: Having broken the news of the resolution’s passage on her Twitter account yesterday, Elisabeth Geschiere decided that she stood behind her resolution so strongly as to scrub her Twitter account clean of the post. As of late last night, an error page appears when the post is accessed. Luckily for us, several blogs had already picked up an image of the original tweet.] The full text of the resolution read:

“Be It Resolved that the State of Minnesota shall divest from all Israel bonds investments.”

No kidding! So according to the DFL Progressive Caucus, democratic Israel should be counted alongside genocidal Sudan and terrorist-sponsoring Iran in the annals of “the only regimes awful enough for Minnesota to divest from.”

Worse than Russia, which leveled the Chechen capital Grozny so utterly that the UN called it “the most destroyed city on earth,” leaving not a single building undamaged.

Worse than China, with its ongoing brutal oppression of Tibet, which has so far netted over 1 million Tibetans killed, and over 6,000 monasteries destroyed.

Yet they did not resolve to divest from either of these, or any of the long list of such actors. Instead, we get a call to divest from Israel – a country whose efforts at sparing civilian lives amid open warfare have been so exemplary as to prompt British military expert Col. Richard Kemp, CBE, to say:

I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza.

(Watch the full BBC interview with Col. Kemp below).


This does raise the obvious question of what it is, exactly, that sets Israel apart from all other countries in the eyes of the righteous voters of the DFL Progressive Caucus? As far as I can tell, the only thing setting Israel apart from every other nation state, like Egypt or Russia, is that it is the only Jewish state. But I am certain that this is not at all what the DFL Progressive Caucus had in mind, leaving me wide open to other suggestions.

Now, before we all start writing angry letters to our closest Minnesota Democratic officeholder, I would like to point out that the DFL Progressive Caucus does not speak for the entire Minnesota Democratic party. In fact, Brian Melendez, Chair of the Minnesota DFL, took time yesterday evening to respond and write to the DFL Central Committee concerning this resolution.

According to Mr. Melendez, far from being representative of the large and diverse membership of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, “the Progressive Caucus has 25 voting members, not all of whom were present.” Mr. Melendez goes on to comment on the resolution’s debate: “I understand that the pro-Israel view was not meaningfully considered.” Mr. Melendez further goes on to clarify that “the divestment resolution … is antithetical to the Party’s long-held view in support of Israel’s right to exist,” and that “the divestment resolution does not represent the Party’s views — in fact, it flies in the face of the DFL Platform.”

Watch for developments on this resolution at your upcoming DFL Precinct Caucuses on February 2nd.