After suggesting to the media she is considering stepping down as leader of the Green Party of Canada, MP Elizabeth May has decided to continue on as the party’s leader. This came after the Green Party voted in favor of two resolutions sympathizing with the Palestinian cause by way of supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) and calling for the Canada Revenue Agency to revoke the charitable organization status of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) at the party’s policy convention on August 7th.
After the policy convention May told CBC in an interview, "I think it is wrong-headed for the party… It's a very polarizing and divisive campaign." May continued, "You're talking to a broken-hearted person who is trying to figure out the best way forward."
Why so “broken-hearted” Mrs. May?
Leading up to and following the vote, the Greens were hit by a storm of right-wing and Zionist attention condemning the Green Party as being anti-Semitic. The National Post printed in their Ideas section on July 27 an article by JNF Chief Executive Officer, Josh Cooper in which he concluded, “While the impact is immediately felt by the Jewish community, what’s ultimately at stake is the Green party’s future in Canadian politics. Will the Greens reclaim their party from fringe anti-Israel ideologues and conspiracy theorists? Or will they placate an extreme agenda at the cost of their own ability to connect with mainstream Canadians?” In the previous statement we can see why May is so “broken-hearted”.
With a relative level of success for the Green Party, having elected MP Elizabeth May in two consecutive Canadian Parliaments, it would seem that the Green Party’s main leadership, in contrast to their membership, share Cooper’s sentiments. But at what expense and who are these “mainstream Canadians” that Cooper believes will be alienated by the Green’s policies on the Palestine/Israel conflict? If what is meant by “mainstream Canadians” is the mainstream political establishment in Canada, then Cooper and like-minded Zionist sympathizers and political opportunists are absolutely correct.
Canada’s Role in the Occupation of Palestine
Canada has had no small role in the occupation of Palestine since its inception. Having been one of the first countries to support Israel’s claim to the territory up to defending Israel on each and every major assault on the Palestinian people no matter how criminal, the political establishment in Canada has been consistent. Each of the big 3 political parties have all had their part in either directly supporting the brutal occupation of Palestine by Israel or at least working to silence opposition to the Zionist project.
In 2006, Israel leveled southern Lebanon bombing and killing thousands of civilians. At the end of the more than 30 days of Israeli war 1,300 Lebanese people had been killed and 1 million displaced. This came in retaliation for the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers. In reaction to Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of innocents in Lebanon, Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated that Israel demonstrated a “measured response” to the situation.
As has been reported in previous issues of Fire This Time, the NDP also has a long history of criminalizing opposition to Israel within its’ own ranks by firing or disciplining NDP candidates who took a position in favor of the oppressed Palestinian people.
Most recently in February of 2016 the Liberal Government under the leadership of PM Trudeau pushed a motion through parliament condemning people in Canada for supporting the BDS campaign trying to silence and scare Canadians from taking a position sympathizing with the Palestinian cause.
With that in mind it’s no wonder why MP Elizabeth May wants to maintain the status quo on the issue and present the green party as a reasonable and non-controversial member of the political establishment of Canada. And if for any reason these so-called “mainstream Canadians” could be alienated by the Green Party’s policies on Palestine it’s likely due to the fact that every government Canada has had since the beginning of the occupation of Palestine in 1948 by Israel has supported Israel 100% and the mainstream media in Canada rarely if ever displays the reality of the life of Palestinian people under brutal occupation.
Is Criticism of Israel Really Controversial?
A quick look into the history of the brutal occupation of Palestine by Israel leaves little doubt why the Green Party membership, which includes a large layer of progressive minded people, voted in favor of the policies.
During Israel’s 2008-09 siege on Gaza, Israel used the illegal chemical weapon White Phosphorus in its savage attack on the Palestinian people. The weapon was even used attacking a UN school where innocent people including children were fleeing the onslaught of Israeli terror.
During the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza 12,600 homes were completely destroyed, 6,500 severely damaged and 150,000 homes were left uninhabitable. The 2014 assault left 2,100 Palestinians dead while only 66 Israeli Defence Force soldiers were killed.
Can the Green Party membership, or anyone concerned with human rights and the environment be blamed for criticizing Israel and defending the plight of the Palestinian people knowing some of the facts?
The unfortunate truth is that the mainstream political establishment in Canada, mainstream media and the representatives of Zionism and the Israeli state are aware that although slow, the Green Party is garnering attention from people in Canada as an alternative. What they are trying to avoid is this small party bringing attention to and popularizing the very real issue of Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine and the Canadian political establishments complete and uncritical support for Israel.
What “mainstream Canadians” Should Do
It’s the responsibility of people in Canada who believe in human rights to defend the Green Party’s policies on Palestine whether it be against the mainstream Canadian political establishment or the Green Party’s leadership itself. Green Party members stood up to take a position in favor of the just cause of the Palestinian people and deserve support not only for their political position but also in defense of freedom of speech.
As long as Israel has the support of the major parties from the wealthiest countries in the world they will continue to be able to act in complete impunity not only in contradiction to the law but to human rights as well.
Criticizing Israel is no more anti-Semitic than criticizing the Islamic State terrorist group is Islamophobic. And quite contrary not criticizing Israel simply because of it’s pretensions as a religious state is more dangerous and in itself anti-Semitic.
Palestinian, Jewish and all people in Canada and around the world need to unite and call for an end to the occupation of Palestine by Israel. Only when the Israeli State is dismantled can Jews and Palestinians begin to build a life and future together in peace in a single democratic state.
Follow Noah Fine on Twitter:@noahfine
Back to Article Listing