Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Oil, Sudan and Divestment

Oil is a HUGE issue when it comes to international relations. Most of commerce today is based on the sale or price of the stuff. DK brings this up in his post about Darfur and Oil. His argument is that Darfur activists are not talking about the Oil issues. I would argue that they are.

JCPA, AJWS, URJ, STAND, Many of the Ivy Leagues, the University of California and many other major orgs are divesting from companies that benefit from business in Sudan. Most of these companies are Chinese energy companies getting oil from Sudan.

So DK, while I 100% agree with you that oil is a major issue in Sudan and addressing these issues will help end the genocide in Darfur, I don't believe it is being ignored. Divestment is a wonderful way to bring the issue of the oil to the forefront. And if you bring up the idea that Divestment from Sudan is a clear and simple way to make an argument for Divestment from Israel I might flip a lid. Genocide is different from Occupation. We are people of nuance and should use our tactics accordingly. Sudan is nothing like Israel and Israel is nothing like Sudan.

What else can we do but use the power of the purse? The governments won't act after years of protest and advocacy. The time is now to divest from companies that benefit from the murder, rape and destruction of the people of Darfur.


DK said...


My rabbi, Rabbi Kosman, once told me, "When it rains, it fills all the wells."

I think if we moved more concretely to get off oil addiction, we would all be a lot happier with our role in the world. Otherwise, I fear we will be running from one catastrophe to the other. We cannot underestimate how horrific the costs of this addiction is both to ourselves and to others.

Which isn't to say that others won't fill in with their own oil addictions and cause the same problems, but at least then we will be better positioned to help them, not just as a superpower flexing, but as a sponsor who has been there and cares.

Liberal Jew said...


I don't disagree about getting off oil. I just don't think at this point it will happen. We need government intervention for such a thing and as we all know (no matter who is in charge but especially now) that will take years. People are still dying, still being raped and still exiled from their homes. We need to act faster than taking 12 steps to an oil free lifestyle.