Mass. Enacts “Iran Divestment” Law

by Jeff KleinJeff Klein

So-called “IRAN DIVESTMENT” passed in the final days of Massachusetts state legislature and has been signed by Governor Patrick. We opposed this measure not out of support for the Iranian government, but because it was one local aspect of a national (and international) campaign to raise tensions with Iran and promote a new military confrontation. Israel’s purported interests are at the center of this campaign.

In theory, an investment policy that promotes the values of peace and human rights is desirable. But, despite the protestations of its supporters, that is not what the Iran Divestment bill is about. Although Iran’s record is far from perfect, there are worse human rights abusers who are US allies and which have threatened to attack or actually attacked their neighbors, as Iran has not. Israel, unlike Iran, is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is believed to have as many as 200 nuclear weapons — but receives upwards of $3 billion in annual US aid.

Significantly, the Iran Divestment measure received little or no publicity in the local mainstream media but was reported in a Jerusalem Post article applauding candidate for State Treasurer — and AIPAC leader — Steve Grossman. Governor Patrick’s press release on signing the bill quotes praise from the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies – who, among other Israel Lobby organizations were the main promoters of this legislation.

The relentless campaign for war with Iran continues at the national level. A resolution (HR 1553) is making its way through Congress that that would endorse an Israeli attack on Iran, which would be going to war by proxy as the US would almost immediately be drawn into the conflict when Tehran retaliates. The resolution provides explicit US backing for Israel to bomb Iran, stating that Congress supports Israel’s use of “all means necessary…including the use of military force.”

The Iran Divestment Bill (H. 4297) passed 130-15 in the Mass House (roll call here) and by a voice vote in the state Senate. Please let them know what you think of their vote – and tell your representatives in Congress that a US war with Iran – or an Israeli attack with US-supplied weapons — is not an option.