Citizen Action Monitor

Green Party leader Elizabeth May appears to be ignoring Party’s sanctions policy against Israel

What, if anything, will get Ms May to act in support of peace and justice for Palestinians?

No 1952 Posted by fw, May 7, 2017

In an April 17, 2017 post, I asked “When will Elizabeth May take her Green Party’s “targeted sanctions against Israel” for a test drive?

With the release of her May 5 Week in Review newsletter, it becomes increasingly likely that the answer to that question will be “Never.”

To elaborate — In my April 17 post, I referenced Ms May’s April 13, 2017 Week in Review newsletter, noting that the Green Party leader made no mention of a mass hunger strike by more than 1,000 prisoners to mark Palestinian Prisoners Day. I wrote:

I continue to receive Elizabeth May’s Week in Review email. And I scan each in search of confirming evidence that Ms. May has not invoked the revised policy, and has, in fact, remained silent on the Israel-Palestine issue. So far, she has confirmed my expectation.

I also noted that, in her April 13 Newsletter, Ms May sent her best wishes to everyone recognizing Passover. Her message included this sentence:

Ms. May defends the right of all persons to belong to a society supportive of their dignity, health, and spiritual well-being.

Which promoted me to respond:

It’s a pity the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, particularly those in Israeli prisons, do not appear to have Ms. May defending their rights “to belong to a society supportive of their dignity, health, and spiritual well-being.”

*****

Yesterday I received Ms May’s May 5, 2017 Week in Review. In it she celebrates her 6 years as an MP. She lists, among her 14 accomplishments during this time, this one:

Standing alone in 2011 as the only MP to oppose continued bombing of Libya, now widely recognized as a tragic mistake that destabilized the region and assisted the rise of ISIS.

In contrast, and conspicuous by its absence, is there any mention by Ms May of her opposition as an MP to “continued bombing” by Israel during its vicious 51-day assault on Gaza in the summer of 2014, a so-called act of ‘self-defence”, euphemistically labeled “Operation Protective Edge.” What moral compass, one wonders, does Ms May use in selecting targets for her critical foreign affairs commentary as an MP?

More to the point, glaring as well in its absence from her list of accomplishments is any mention of the fact that the Green Party of Canada is the first and only political party in Canada to adopt a policy that expresses support for the three goals of the BDS movement – albeit, without referring to the BDS movement by name.

According to Green Party member Dimitri Lascaris, “the policy had the full support of the party’s leader, Elizabeth May” – but omitted was even one example of how Ms May was expected to manifest that “full support” of the policy.

*****

Returning to Ms May’s May 5 Week in Review, I noticed that she followed up her April Passover statement with a Statement on Yom HaShoah, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day. In her message, Ms May states “The lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten, particularly during a time when acts of antisemitism are on the rise in Canada and around the world.

My post today is neither the place nor time to challenge May’s blanket allegation about the “rise of antisemitism around the world.” However, I do invite readers to reflect on just two plausible explanations for the rise of anti-Semitism, which Ms May should be considering.

First, think about this March 2017 article in Mondoweiss. Although the author, Jewish-American Philip Weiss, acknowledges a “surge in anti-Semitism around the world”, he does offer an explanation that may not occur to Ms May:

Support for Israel’s “neverending” occupation is changing the very nature of what it means to be Jewish. We used to be people devoted to justice: we played a prominent role in the civil rights movement. Now our reputation is becoming one of “infamy,” as the enablers of Israeli injustices. This new reputation is feeding the surge in anti-Semitism around the world and making the Jewish position in the west “precarious.”

Second, in a May 3, 2017 article, Politicizing Anti-Semitism, US historian Lawrence Davidson explains how Israelis managed to use their influence, and that of Zionist lobby surrogates, to push the US, UK and others (including Canada, though he doesn’t say so) to make criticism of the Israeli state legally synonymous with anti-Semitism.

And how did they make Western politicians buy into such an illogical argument? — In a word, money. US politicians especially, need money to survive. “They will sell their support to the high bidders,” says Davidson, and “…no one bids higher than the Zionists.” Consequently, in return for a payoff, Western politicians selectively suppress free speech in their own countries in support of racist Israeli policies.

Bottom line, by making the “working definition” of anti-Semitism more inclusive, it should come as no surprise that acts of a bogus ‘anti-Semitism’ would be on the rise around the world.

One further observation regarding Ms May’s Statement on Yom HaShoah — She missed a rare opportunity to commemorate, in global solidarity with the Palestinian cause and struggle, World Keffiyeh Day, strategically scheduled on May 11th to prepare Palestinians for Al Nakba on May 15, the day of calamity in 1948. The Keffiyeh is a traditional Middle Eastern headdress.

It’s possible Ms May is not aware of the Canadian connection to World Keffiyeh Day — it was established with the strong backing of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) – a student-run organization at Concordia University in Montreal.

SPHR would doubtlessly have been pleased to receive from the leader of the Green Party of Canada this sentiment she shared with those who received her Statement on Yom HaShoah — As Canadians, we rebuke hatred and fear, and embrace freedom, diversity, and human rights.” 

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