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article imageOp-Ed: Both Liberals and NDP join Harper as cheerleaders for Israel

By Ken Hanly     Jul 18, 2014 in Politics
Ottawa - Stephen Harper the Canadian Prime Minister is often singled out as the Great Cheerleader for Israel on the world stage a role much appreciated by Israel. However leaders of both main Canadian opposition parties adopt a similar role.
The leader of the Liberal Party of Canada Justin Trudeau has issued a statement on the conflict that is so pro-Israel that It is reproduced by the Center for Jewish and Israel Affairs: The Liberal Party of Canada strongly condemns Hamas’ rejection of the Egyptian ceasefire proposal and its rocket attacks on civilians.“Israel should be commended for having accepted the ceasefire proposal, and demonstrating its commitment to peace. The Liberal Party of Canada, and many in the international community including the United States, the U.N. Security Council, and the Palestinian Authority, had urged a ceasefire that could have ended the tragic civilian loss of life in Gaza and the suffering of Israelis under terrorist attack.“Israel has the right to defend itself and its people. Hamas is a terrorist organization and must cease its rocket attacks immediately.”
Nothing about Hamas' demands, or that it was not involved in the negotiations. No analysis at all. Nothing about Israeli attacks in Gaza that killed several hundred. It is all about bad bad Hamas. Perhaps they asked Netanyahu to write the statement for him. Stephen Harper must be jealous. He is unlikely to top that.
We might expect that the NDP will be more balanced in their statement and even dare to stand up for Palestinian rights. At least the Liberals are forthright in their support of Israel, but the NDP statement has to be a bit more subdued. The NDP statement is insipid robotic rhetoric that no one could question: “New Democrats are very concerned by the escalation of tensions in Gaza and Israel. We call on the Canadian government to support a ceasefire and urge all parties to exercise restraint and avoid actions that could further destabilize the situation. On behalf of Canada's Official Opposition, we have written to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and called for Canada to work in support of restraint, de-escalation and civilian protection within a framework of international humanitarian law.
Independent Jewish Voices write in Rabble about the unwillingness of the NDP to criticize Israeli actions referring to an NDP statement: In the statement, foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar states that the NDP "have reiterated that Hamas' continued rocket attacks are unacceptable. We have also voiced our deep concern regarding the escalating violence and reports of civilian deaths." It appears that while the NDP considers Hamas' ineffective rockets to be "unacceptable," Israel's world-class rockets -- that have killed at least 25 children -- cannot even be mentioned, nor can the national identity of the civilians who have been killed.
Thomas Mulcair the new leader of the NDP and a former Liberal Cabinet minister in Quebec is an ardent supporter of Israel. Mulcair once said: “My in-laws are Holocaust survivors. Their history is part of my daily life. That’s why I am an ardent supporter of Israel in all instances "
The federal NDP also vetoed the candidacy of Paul Manly the son of former NDP MP Jim Manly who dared to suggest that Gazans are suffering because of Israel's blockade. Manly said of his being informed of his rejection as a candidate: "I was told verbally on the phone, that the reason was in relation to what I said and did when my father was in Israel. There was also concern that I was running to make Israel and Palestine an election issue." His father a long time NDP MP was arrested by Israeli authorities in 2012 for trying to run the naval blockade off Gaza. The NDP would neither confirm nor deny Manly's claims as to why his candidacy was rejected. Who could demand more openness and accountability by a party than that? Some individual members of the NDP may still speak out on the issue but they will no doubt need to be very careful about public pronouncements and keep them limited to their Facebook friends. Earlier criticism of Israel such as that of NDP MP Libby Davies in 2010 shown on the appended video brought about a lot of criticism. Mulcair in particular criticized Davies. Stephen Harper demanded she be forced to resign as she was denying Israel's right to exist. Davies apologized in a letter to a newspaper: "My reference to the year 1948 as the beginning of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory was a serious and completely inadvertent error," she wrote. "I apologize for this and regret any confusion it has caused. I have always supported a two-state solution to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and have never questioned Israel's right to exist and the Palestinians' right to a viable state."
Then leader of the NDP Jack Latyon supported Davies and did not ask her to resign: Libby Davies has apologized and did so immediately around the serious mistake about a date. She has never and our party has never, nor would we ever deny that Israel not only has a right to exist but a right to exist in secure borders in a safe context," he said.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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