Tuesday, August 25

Human Rights, Palestinians and the 2015 Canadian elections

If you are concerned about Human Rights for Palestinians who 
do you vote for in the Canadian federal election?
by Edward C. CorriganThere is  a recent news reports that Hollywood producers are 
going to boycott 
Penelope Cruz and her 
husband Javier Bardem
, both Oscar winners, 
for their signing an 
letter condemning
 “the genocide 
perpetrated by the 
Israeli occupation army.” The Spanish letter criticized Israel’s 
2014 attack on Gaza and was also
signed by 100 “leading figures in the film industry, including 
director Pedro Almodovar.”
Supporters of Israel frequently attack supporters of the Palestinians
 and critics of Israel’s military actions. The threat of boycotts and 
black-listing are common.  The problem for Israel’s supporters is 
that more and more celebrities and public figures are speaking out 
in support of the Palestinians. These include actor Ed Asner, who 
is active with Jewish Voice for Peace, British comedian Russell 
Brand, musician Elvis Costello, actors John Cusack, Mia Farrow, 
Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, world renown 
physicist Stephen Hawking, actor Dustin Hoffman, singer Annie 
Lennox, singer Rihanna, actor Mark Ruffalo who plays the Hulk, 
actor Vanessa Redgrave, actor Meg Ryan, comedian Rob 
Schneider, Irish singer Sinead O'Connor , TV Host Jon Stewart, 
sports star Amare Stoudemire, actor Emma Thompson, Pink Floyd 
front man Roger Waters and singer Stevie Wonder. This list of 
Palestinian supporters is far from complete. Israel, of course, also 
has its supporters amongst celebrities. However, if the supporters 
of Israel want to boycott every supporter of the Palestinians they 
will soon run out of leading actors.
Other prominent supporters of the Palestinians and critics of 
Israel’s treatment include former US President Jimmy Carter, 
Nelsen Mandela, Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu and noted author 
Alice Walker. British MP Jeremy Corbyn who is widely expected 
to win the leadership of the British Labour Party is also a strong 
supporter of the Palestinians. The Vatican has now officially 
recognized the State of Palestine.
The United Nations General Assembly has long supported the 
rights of the Palestinians by overwhelming majorities. The 
supporters of Israel in these votes are only a handful. Canada and 
the United States are almost always in Israel’s camp. There is also 
statement released on August 18, 2015 signed by over 1,000 
Black activists, scholars and artists “supporting Palestinian 
freedom and equality” and supporting Boycott, Divest and 
Sanction (BDS) against Israel.
In Europe the support for the Palestinians is growing stronger every
 day. Also growing in Europe is support for the BDS Israel 
movement and calls for sanctions over Israel’s “Jewish only
 settlements” in the Occupied Territories.
Many Jews are also supportive of human rights for the 
Palestinians. Two Jewish organizations that support BDS in North
 America are the Jewish Voice for Peace and Independent Jewish 
Voices (Canada). There are many Israelis who also do not support
 the right-wing policies of the Netanyahu government. There is a 
list of more than a thousand Israeli academics and writers that are 
considered anti-Zionist by supporters of Zionism in Israel
Many Academics around the World, including many in the United
 States and Canada, have long spoken out on the issue of equal 
rights for the Palestinians and have been very  critical of Israel’s 
military actions. Many leading academic organizations, including 
those in Britain and Ireland, have declared their support for the 
BDS campaign. The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) has 
long been a supporter of the Palestinians and a critic of Israel’s 
policies. Virtually every university in North America has an active 
pro-Palestinian presence. Many student unions and academic 
associations have passed resolutions in support of BDS.
Human rights activists in South Africa draw comparisons between 
the racist apartheid system in South Africa and the discriminatory 
system towards the Palestinians in Israel and its Occupied 
Territories. Some South Africans say that the system of apartheid 
in Israel is worse than the racist regime in South Africa. 

One NDP Member of Parliament from Quebec left the NDP over this issue. Sana Hassainia wrote on her web site, “My decision to leave the NDP was precipitated, among other things, by the party's positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." - 

Clearly there has been considerable movement around the World to support the Palestinian cause. This is especially the case after Netanyahu’s government’s attack on Gaza in 2014 and the earlier attack in 2009. However, while there is much movement on the ground, the main stream media, the major political parties and most elected politicians in Canada and the United States strongly support Israel. The rise in support for the Palestinians is not reflected in the political power structure.
Supporters of Israel try to portray these critics as marginal and 
even “anti-Semitic” but these claims are becoming harder and 
harder to seen as believable. However, the rise in support for
Palestinians in Canada and the United States has the supporters of 
Israel in a panic mode. 
The federal election in Canada is occurring on October 19, 2015.  
The question is who do you vote for if you are concerned about 
human rights for the Palestinians and that they deserve equal 
treatment and the right to live in dignity?
In Canada this issue is complicated. There are no really good 
choices among the three main political parties.

The NDP gives lip service to Palestinian rights but almost always
 does not let anyone who actually criticizes Israel or support’s BDS
 to run for the NDP. There are at least five NDP candidates who 
have been banned or come under attack for their views on the 
Palestinian issue. One NDP Member of Parliament from Quebec 
left the NDP over this issue. Sana Hassainia wrote on her web site, 
“My decision to leave the NDP was precipitated, among other 
things, by the party's positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
Libby Davis, the Deputy Leader of the NDP, decided not to run this
 time around. No doubt the treatment given to her over comments 
she made opposing the Israeli Occupation played a factor in her 
decision. Gone are the days when New Democrat MPs like Derek 
Blackburn, Howard McCurdy, Svend Robinson and Ian Waddell 
could openly be supportive of the Palestinians.
This pattern of refusals is more evidence of censorship and anti-
democratic behavior in Tom Mulcair's Federal NDP. Perhaps the 
NDP should adopt the slogan "no Palestinian, Arab or Muslim or 
non-Zionist Jew or person concerned about Palestinian human 
rights should apply." This NDP purge is symptomatic about a 
much larger problem in Canadian politics.
The Liberals are no better. Justin Trudeau has said he was opposed 
to BDS at a lecture at McGill University. He also implied support 
for BDS was anti-Semitic.  On the plus side Justin Trudeau has 
spoken out against the Conservative scare tactics against the 
Muslim Community and he resisted calls not to speak to a Muslim 
youth organization.  At one time there were a number of Liberal 
MP’s who supported human rights for the Palestinians. They 
included Yvon Charbonneau, Marcel Prud’homme, and Ian 
Watson. Pierre Debane, who is Palestinian, served in Prime 
Minister Trudeau’s cabinet. However, these few voices posed little 
threat to the pro-Israeli narrative that dominated Canada’s political
 culture at the time.
On a personal note I was black listed by the federal Liberals under
 Stephane Dion and not allowed to run for a Liberal nomination 
because of my support for Palestinian human rights. I was cleared 
by the Ontario Liberal Party and allowed to run for a provincial 
nomination a few years earlier. The “official reason” for my being 
banned was that I distributed an email which supported the call for 
a meeting between Liberal Leader Dion and over thirty Arab and 
Muslim organizations and which included 5 Jewish organizations 
to discuss issues on the Middle East.
I was a past president of a Federal Liberal Riding Association and 
former member of City Council. Also a Certified Specialist in
 Citizenship and Immigration law. Actually I was approved by 2
 out of the 3 members of the so called review committee and all of 
my publications were vetted and approved by a lawyer. I was given
 this information by someone directly involved with the review
 process. However, the Zionist member of the Review Committee
 sent my case to the higher echelons and I was black-listed. I was 
told that this person had a virtual veto on approving candidates and 
no one who had criticized Israel was allowed to run. Many other 
individuals who are sympathetic to the Palestinians have been 
barred for running for the Liberals. See the article written by Linda 

Also of interest is another article by Linda Belanger.

The Conservatives are just plain horrible. At one time MP's like
 Bob Corbett were very good on the issue. Bob Stanfield and even 
former Prime Minister Joe Clark were not that bad. Stanfield wrote 
a good report on the Middle East for Joe Clark. Harper is just plain
 horrible as are most of his associates like Jason Kenney and John 
Baird. They all think, or at least argue, that any criticism of Israel 
is anti-Semitic. They are silent on the issue of racism against 
Palestinians and voice no criticism on Israel’s many attacks on the
 Palestinians. The Conservatives frequently publicly attack 
Muslims and stoke fears of Islamic terrorism and Sharia law here at
 home and in the Middle East.   

Elizabeth May is not perfect but the Green Party is at least letting 
people like Paul Manley who the NDP banned run for them. 
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) 
cancelled an invitation to Elizabeth May after she made some 
strong comments in support of Israel and against the Palestinians.
  Elizabeth May, however, is clearly more democratic and open 
minded on the issue of Palestinian rights than the other federal 
party leaders.

I encourage people to make donations to Paul Manley and to other 
progressive candidates who are supportive of human rights for the 
Palestinians. I have given $100 to Paul Manley and $100 each to 
two Liberal Candidates who are friends. I have also made a 
donation to Linda McQuaig, a prominent author and journalist, 
who running for the NDP and is pro-Palestinian and excellent on 
the environment and economic issues. It only costs $25 to make a 
$100 donation to a candidate or political party up to $400. It is easy
 to find a suitable candidate on the net or Party website. My $400 
donation will cost me only $100 once I get the deduction off of my 
income that is to be paid.

Now is the time to get involved. Strategic voting to defeat the
 Harper Conservatives is, in my opinion, the best option. 
Supporting the Green's, in my opinion, is also a smart decision if 
you support human rights for the Palestinians and a real peace 
process in the Middle East.

The Palestinian, Arab and Muslim community and their friends in 
Independent Jewish Voices and in the wider community need to 
get engaged in Canada's political process and volunteer, get signs, 
make donations and vote based on the issue of Palestinian human 
rights. The supporters of Israel usually vote on who supports Israel 
the strongest. They also donate money and get involved 
organizationally. Supporters of Israel also vote. Israel’s supporters 
also attack anyone who has criticized Israel in the past, even if 
those criticisms are widely shared and justified.
There are over 1 million Muslims, around 300,000 Arabs and 
maybe as many as 100,000 Palestinians in Canada yet the 
Canadian mainstream political establishment ignores them or at 
least takes them for granted. There is no political penalty for 
supporting Israel and denigrating the Palestinians. This fact has to 
change before there will be improvement on the Palestinian issue 
in Canada.  Not to act is to ensure that nothing will change on the 
question of rights for the Palestinians.

Edward C. Corrigan is certified as a specialist by the Law Society 
of Upper Canada in Citizenship, Immigration and Immigration 
and Refugee Law. 

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1 comment:

  1. traducteur8:45 am

    I'll be damned if I'm going to vote for any of the three major parties. Maybe some Marxist-Leninist splinter group.