Pro-Palestine activism and climate protection: an awkward alliance

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and the global climate protection movement Fridays for Future are facing growing criticism for their pro-Palestinian stance. Most recently, one of the speakers at a climate rally on Sunday in Amsterdam gave the microphone to an activist who used the phrase, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free". Environmentalism must not be hijacked by other causes, commentators warn.

Svenska Dagbladet (SE) /

Partly understandable, but regrettable

Svenska Dagbladet is saddened:

“The politicisation of the environmental movement is a well-known and sad fact. To a certain extent it’s understandable: the right doesn’t exactly have a brilliant track record when it comes to climate commitment. And it’s also true that many of those who suffer most from climate change are the poor, oppressed people in developing countries. ... Nevertheless the polarisation is extremely regrettable because the very nature of the climate problem is that it affects almost everyone on earth, regardless of their opinion on the thorny issue of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. ... We cannot afford to let the climate issue be hijacked and used as a megaphone for Hamas terrorists.”

Josefin de Gregorio
taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Climate policy has no answers here

Thunberg’s unilateral positioning is a fatal mistake, the taz criticises:

“The problem is that climate change is really not the key issue in the Middle East conflict. Climate policy offers no answers to the question of how appropriate Israel’s military action in Gaza is, a question that can hardly be answered anyway. And you don’t have to be particularly climate-savvy to know that the antisemitic pogrom by Hamas on 7 October in Israel is to be condemned. Rather than exploiting the potential of the climate movement, Thunberg is driving a wedge into it with her positioning.”

Gereon Asmuth
De Volkskrant (NL) /

Lumping all injustices together

The climate protection movement must stick to its own message, Volkskrant columnist Marcia Luyten advises:

“The strength of this movement lies in the apolitical threat it addresses. The political question is how and by whom the climate measures will be paid for, but no one escapes the problem itself. One of the most powerful movements in decades risks being taken hostage by a sectarian left that proclaims every splinter identity a woke emancipation movement; that lumps all injustices together and makes it impossible for the left to return to power in societies dominated by the right.”

Marcia Luyten
The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Her reign is over

The binding element of a united cause that characterised the mono-thematic climate movement no longer applies here, writes The Daily Telegraph:

“The problem for Thunberg now is the chunk of environmental campaigners who are not up for the anti-capitalist agenda. There are the charity shop workers who will feel uneasy watching their cause morph into an all-out socialist movement. ... The great advantage of single-issue campaigns is that they can unite people who otherwise agree on little else. But don’t expect disparate groups to come together under some new ‘popular front’ led by Greta. If anything, her reign is over.”

Annabel Denham