BDS movement endorsed by Canada's Green Party

Party members vote in support of BDS despite the party leader’s opposition to the measure.

By KAYLA ROSEN
August 8, 2016 13:38
1 minute read.
A pedestrian walks in the rain on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada.

A pedestrian walks in the rain on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Canada’s Green Party has voted to endorse BDS, making it the only political party in Canada to support the movement.

The pro-BDS resolution, which was launched by Green Party member and shadow justice critic Dimitri Lascaris and approved Sunday at a convention in Ottawa, supports BDS in the parts of the Israeli economy that allegedly benefit from occupied Palestinian territory. It further states that Israel is in violation of international law through its settlement in occupied Palestinian territory.

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“Unless those who profit from the occupation incur significant penalties for violating Palestinian rights, then the occupation will not end,” Lascaris said. “Western governments have essentially immunized Israel from the consequences of its offenses against Palestinians.

A law that is never enforced is a dead letter. If human-rights laws are to afford real protection to Palestinians, then those laws must be enforced.”

The topic of BDS led to a heated debate at the convention, with some party members worrying that the endorsement could make the Green Party even more polarizing than it already is given that it is the Canadian political party most supportive of Palestine.

The party’s leader and only member to hold a seat at parliament, Elizabeth May, spoke out against the resolution and said she would rather support an “action that could work.”

“Every country has its issues,” Richard Zurawski, a former Green Party candidate, told reporters.

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“When we specifically single out Israelis, I worry about the buzzwords and subtext and code language, which is anti-Semitic,” he said.

Also discussed at the convention was a resolution launched by party member Corey Levine, which stated that the Jewish National Fund discriminates against non-Jewish Israelis and that it takes rightful land away from Palestinians.

The resolution also pushed to have the Canada Revenue Agency revoke the JNF’s charitable status.

The resolution was condemned by the JNF and the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs and prompted a letter-writing campaign that criticized the Green Party for supporting “the discriminatory, fringe BDS movement.”

“JNF Canada, by its policies and actions, does not meet the criteria of a charity, and the fact that Canadian taxpayers subsidize the continued perpetuation of this crime is morally wrong,” Levine said.

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