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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Canada's Helen Thomas: The NDP's Libby Davies

Here's Canadian New Democratic Party MP Libby Davies telling the world what she thinks of Israel. This video was made by a blogger at an anti-Israel rally in Vancouver last month and Davies bascially comes right out and says Israel has no right to exist.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Tamar L).

Davies' own party has quickly disowned her.
The remarks, made in Vancouver and captured on the above video, which is circulating rapidly on the Internet, have provoked an angry backlash among members of the NDP caucus, including Leader Jack Layton — who quickly distanced himself from Ms. Davies. “I have spoken to the [Israeli] ambassador [to Canada], to indicate very clearly that those comments were not the position of our party and Ms. Davies has sent a letter indicating that she made a very serious mistake,” Mr. Layton said. “I told her it was a serious mistake.”
Yes, it's a serious mistake to let people find out where you really stand, isn't it?
“[The occupation started in] ‘48. It’s the longest occupation in the world,” she said in the video. “People are suffering. I’ve been to the West Bank and Gaza twice, so I see what’s going on.”

Ms. Davies also expressed her personal support for an international campaign for a boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, breaking ranks with her party’s official position.

Thomas Mulcair, the NDP’s other deputy leader, said he found the video online last week and “was very quick to point it out” to some of his colleagues to clarify the party’s support of a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

“No member of our caucus, whatever other title they have, is allowed to invent their own policy,” said Mr. Mulcair. “We take decisions together, parties formulate policies together, and to say that you’re personally in favour of boycott, divestment and sanctions for the only democracy in the Middle East is, as far as I’m concerned, grossly unacceptable.”

In a letter to the Ottawa Citizen that published an editorial last week criticizing Ms. Davies’ comments, the Vancouver-area MP apologized for causing “confusion.”

“My reference to the year 1948 as the beginning of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory was a serious and completely inadvertent error,” she said in the letter, which was also posted on her personal website at libbydavies.ca.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a true friend of Israel, ripped Davies and the NDP in Canada's parliament.

This video is in two parts (both short), so let's go to the videotape with Part 1:

And let's go to the videotape with Part 2:

Stephen Taylor has more reactions here.

This is much more than a 'mistake.' While Davies may be able to claim that she meant 1967 and not 1948 (which I would find offensive but others might not) when she referred to 'occupation,' her support for BDS (boycott, divest and sanction) is the bailiwick of the European Far Left, and certainly is not a welcome addition to North American discourse. No one can argue that support was 'accidental' or a 'mistake.'

I wonder if the Jews in Vancouver will vote for her next time anyway.

P.S. Sorry - this post accidentally published while I was in the middle of writing it.


At 10:31 PM, Blogger Andre (Canada) said...

Jews in Canada generally vote for the Liberal party, not the NDP party (which is much more far-left). This has been changing lately as our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper probably is Israel's best friend in the world (Harper came to our Chabad Shul for its inauguration last year, it was absolutely amazing).
When you think of Vancouver, think of San Francisco in terms of tree-hugging, Birkenstock wearing, unshaved-armpits, hump-made dresses women. You'd be close!

At 7:08 AM, Blogger mrzee said...

At the Stephen Taylor site you linked to, there's a comment by Bob Rae, the Liberal Party Foreign Affairs critic calling for Davies to resign. Rae was for many years a high ranking member of the NDP and left them in 2002 because of their anti-Israel stance.

Here's his explanation of why he left.


At 7:10 AM, Blogger mrzee said...

BTW, Davies was also part of the George Galloway circus that got held up in Egypt last winter


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