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Staying silent on human rights in Syria, China or Cuba, Canada’s New Democrats brought six resolutions against Israel

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The convention of Canada’s fourth party refused to hear a motion to denounce the IHRA, but the far-left NDP later approved of targeting Canada-Israel trade in a separate resolution. (Photo: Facebook)

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Despite being the first NDP Policy Convention in the party’s history to be conducted entirely virtually, some things will never change: 

  • The Chair will be repeatedly interrupted by procedure challenges, “Points of Order”, and complaints about the schedule that takes up so much time that they end up significantly reducing the time allotted for debating resolutions;
  • There will be multiple technical problems with the sound equipment, the tallying of votes, or some other crucial aspect of the ceremony that will cause repeated delays and claims of a conspiracy;
  • A resolution, or series of resolutions, will be proposed that present the State of Israel – the world’s only Jewish state – as evil, sadistic, racist, nationalistic, or all of the above.

This weekend’s NDP Policy Convention did not disappoint in that it included all of that and more. The combined efforts of NDP party brass and members of the NDP Parliamentary caucus to prevent the anti-International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) resolution authored by Svend Robinson from reaching the plenary floor were ultimately successful. 

As Timmins-James Bay (Ontario) MP, Charlie Angus, wrote on Twitter: “I keep getting mentioned by some who want the NDP to oppose the [IHRA] definition of antisemitism. This is not the way to go.” Angus went on to write that he is “deeply concerned about the growing threat of antisemitism.” 

Public opposition to this resolution was echoed by Angus’s British Columbia caucus-mates Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, BC) and Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, BC). 

Several NDP delegates to the convention (identities kept anonymous at their request) approached TheJ over social media this weekend to indicate that they were on the fence regarding whether or not to prioritize the anti-IHRA resolution. However, recent articles published by TheJ about IHRA’s merits convinced them not to.

The anti-Israel faction of the NDP still managed to score a small victory, however, with the passage of resolution 04-10-20, “Justice and Peace in Israel-Palestine,” a one-sided resolution that targeted Canada-Israel trade relations. Specifically, it: 

  • adds hostile, anti-Israel wording to the existing NDP policy on Israel/Palestine; 
  • directly attacks legitimate Israeli businesses and business owners located in Area C of the Judea & Samaria (West Bank) region, and; 
  • accuses the Canadian government of being complicit in actions allegedly taken against Palestinian civilians.

Much like the anti-IHRA resolution, this resolution is just as inaccurate and just as filled with antisemitism – both explicit and implicit. However, certain members of the Left have honed to an exceptional degree the ability to convey antisemitism wrapped in an “anti-Israel” coating and mislead the public into supporting it. In this way, even people that vehemently opposed the anti-IHRA resolution being debated at the convention were able to comfortably support 04-10-20 and believe that they weren’t an accessory to antisemitism nonetheless.

Due to the usual pedantry over agendas, debate time, and other minutiae, the actual debate on 04-10-20 by the delegates was severely curtailed by the Chair and only had time for one “Pro” and one “Con” to speak to the motion.

The “Pro” was a delegate named Omar that, much like his fellow anti-Israel friends, attempted to hijack the agenda to allow for more opportunities to spread their disinformation. When the Chair shot down that attempt, Omar began his statement by expressing, “There is no legal or moral justification for the status quo.” (On that point, and only on that point, I was in complete agreement with Omar. When rockets are fired with reckless abandon by Hamas agents in Gaza, and terrorists attempt daily to get through checkpoints with weapons, the status quo is not working.) 

Omar then claims that “Canada encourages land annexation, illegal settlement, and illegal military occupation. And has been doing so for decades.” 

Of course, Omar didn’t use any of his speaking time remaining to back his outrageous statement up with facts or figures showing that Canada has – at any time – taken a direct role in the affairs of the Knesset or its policies over the past decades. He presented no evidence to undermine the legality of Israel’s actions, nor to substantiate the legal status of Palestinian moves against Israel or its people. 

It’s because of this omission that Omar’s claim that this resolution is “fair” and involves “peace”, “justice”, and “solidarity with all peoples” rings hollow.

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These final points were immediately addressed by the sole “Con” speaker, Kamila Graczyk of Kanata-Carleton (ON). She stated that she opposed this resolution because “The world is not black and white. Things are not that simple.” and reminded the delegates at the convention that “Israel is a thriving democracy that promotes fundamental freedoms for women and the LGBTQ community.”

Kamila went on to state that Israel is imperfect, with certain laws that she disagrees with, but said, “I believe there is a better way, than this one-sided approach.” Expressing dismay that the NDP Membership put forward six resolutions that deal specifically with Israel/Palestine – and zero that deal with countries like Saudi Arabia, Syria or Venezuela – Kamila concluded by urging her fellow delegates to show that they stand for fairness, for human rights in all countries, and to show that they “support the existence of Israel as a country.”

Alas, only 15.6% of delegates joined Kamila in opposition.

Following the results, Kamila posted a video of her “Con” speech on social media with the caption: “Proud to have unapologetically voiced my concerns about the Section 4 – Resolution 10 debated today at #NDPConvention2021 ! Fighting for a better NDP <3”

The lone voice allowed to speak against the anti-Israel resolution was Kamila Graczyk, an NDP member from the Ottawa region. (Photo: Facebook)

TheJ.ca spoke with Kamila Graczyk and asked her to share her thoughts about the vote results.

“The NDP membership itself proposed an astounding number of *six* resolutions involving Israel-Palestine, with no regard for how the resulting policies would affect the lives of hard-working Israelis, Israeli-Arabs, Palestinians living in Israel, and other ethnic minorities residing in the State of Israel.”

“Although it was incredibly disappointing, it was not unexpected that delegates at the convention would largely vote to pass the Israel-Palestine resolution,” Grazyk added, looking towards the effects on the long-term political consequences of the 80% support ratio:     

“Unfortunately, today’s hyper-polarized public discourse has led the Israel-Palestine conflict to become a litmus test on whether one is progressive (left-wing) or conservative (right-wing)… if so much attention is going to be paid by the NDP membership to one conflict happening thousands of kilometers away, then I would expect the party of social justice and human rights to pay equal attention to other ongoing foreign policy issues – such as the war being waged by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, or the oppression of the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang, China.”

That opinion was echoed by another Ontario delegate (name withheld at their request): “I genuinely don’t understand why that resolution passed, but they’re ignoring China or Saudi Arabia!” Asked if they’d spoken to anybody else about their opposition, I was told not only were there no conversations, they had stayed off of social media “because of all the antisemitic messaging.” 

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) lauded the NDP vote; “Justice and Peace” apparently only applies to Palestinian areas, not when Israel or the Israeli people are threatened. (Image: CJPME Facebook)

Party leader Jagmeet Singh defended passage of the resolution, according to JNS. “… saying that in order to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “some pressure is required. And that’s something I support.” 

The report noted that Singh also brushed aside allegations of antisemitism in his party, saying “I have a really strong commitment to fighting antisemitism. I am committed to that.”

Over the weekend of the convention, I did note a significant increase in antisemitism directed by and toward the delegates. Many posts on Facebook and Twitter talked about “The Israel lobby trying to influence the vote,” and spread misinformation such as “Jews aren’t indigenous to Palestine.”

Following the vote results, TheJ reached out to both B’nai Brith Canada and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) for comment asking what the adoption of this resolution might mean for the future of the NDP itself?

B’nai Brith Canada CEO, Michael Mostyn, responded to TheJ’s inquiry with the following statement: 

Last month we wrote to NDP leader Jagmeet Singh urging him to ensure that any resolution rejecting the IHRA definition of antisemitism is itself rejected at the convention, which was then fast approaching. What I can tell you is that we’re satisfied that the anti-IRHA resolution did not come up for a vote and so was in effect rejected. 

It’s disturbing that the anti-Israel resolution that was passed, disingenuously called ‘Justice and Peace in Israel-Palestine,’ contributes nothing towards justice or peace. It’s meant to isolate and bash Israel – part of a parade of anti-Israel resolutions that many at the convention hoped to bring to a vote…  Unless the NDP adheres to the fundamental Canadian values of fairness and balance and rejects the pull of certain factions to gang up obsessively on Israel, it will almost certainly remain a marginal player on the national and international stages.”

As for CIJA, it declined to respond to our question, instead pointing to their press release. In part, CIJA President Shimon Koffler Fogel stated: 

“The NDP’s adoption of resolution ’04-10-20 Justice and Peace in Israel-Palestine’ highlights a toxic obsession with Israel to the serious detriment of the party. It is staggering that, given the state of the world and the consequential issues before us, including the pandemic, the NDP placed this resolution and one other targeting the Jewish community on the list of top Foreign Policy concerns. In doing this, the NDP ignored catastrophes unfolding in Syria, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Brazil, Hong Kong, and elsewhere around the world. That is shameful.”

Shameful, indeed.

However, the NDP Convention did end on a hopeful note in the Party President race, as delegates decisively rejected the bid of Jessa McLean in favour of Dahanani (DJ) Kohli. McLean, the NDP candidate in York-Simcoe (ON) in 2019, was notable for her incitement of an anti-Israel riot at York University in that same year that resulted in bullying of Jewish students and “Go back to the ovens.”. McLean also posted an antisemitic image on social media earlier this week, that many saw as blaming Jews for her impending loss.

Moshe Appel has been involved in Jewish activism for most of his life, and regularly calls out antisemitism from all levels of government. Originally from Montreal, Moshe currently resides in Victoria, British Columbia and works in the healthcare field.

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Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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