Sunday, 21 September 2014

Countering Israeli greenwashing at the People’s Climate March

From The Electronic Intifada - As a possibly historic People’s Climate March in New York City approaches this weekend, a debate among participants and the organizers over Israel-aligned co-sponsors smolders below the surface...

...The story reaches far beyond several Israel-aligned groups sponsoring a single climate march. Faced with consistent negative global perceptions over state policies in the occupied Palestinian territories and in the region, the Israeli foreign ministry officially launched the “Brand Israel” campaign in 2006. With the help of US marketing executives, the Israeli government poured in enormous resources to “rebrand” Israel in a positive light upon the world. By 2010, the ministry allotted some $26 million for branding efforts.

Part of the spin campaign comes under the guise of protecting the environment. In June 2012, Israel, for the first time, launched “an international television campaign on CNN to brand itself as a green country which pioneers ‘green technology,’” its US embassy stated. “Israel advertises its green technology edge to strengthen its image as a ‘Green Country,” according to the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Efforts to rebrand Israel explicitly aim to divert attention away from Israeli policy in the occupied Palestinian territories, instead focusing on Israel’s positively spun and frequently overblown “green” achievements. The mission of the Green Zionist Alliance (GZA), a co-sponsor of the People’s Climate March, harmonizes with Israel’s rebranding campaigns.

Spokespeople from the Green Zionist Alliance were not available for comment, directing inquiries to their website. GZA’s statement on Gaza this summer attempts to equalize the disproportion of violence and calls for a two-state solution. Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” that lasted 51 days killed more than 2100 Palestinians (mostly civilians, including more than 500 children), as well as five Israeli civilians (including one child), a Thai migrant worker, and 66 Israeli soldiers.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Israel ranks at the bottom 33 out of 36 countries in “water quality” and 25 out of 36 countries in air pollution.

In order to mask Israel’s ongoing military occupation and colonization of the occupied territories and to hide its poor record when it comes to adverse environmental impacts, the Israeli government and its allies abroad continue to pour enormous resources into branding projects. more


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