Canadian MP slammed for suggesting Israel shouldn't exist

Davies criticized for saying “occupation of Palestinian territories” began in 1948.

June 17, 2010 22:00
2 minute read.
Libby Davies

Libby Davies 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, B’nai Brith Canada and even MPs from her own New Democratic Party have criticized NDP MP Libby Davies this week in the wake of comments she made at an anti- Israel rally earlier this month in Vancouver.

At the rally, Davies said that the Israeli “occupation of Palestinian territories” began in 1948, the year of the Jewish state’s establishment in the wake of the UN partition plan that divided the country into two states.

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“It's the longest occupation in the world,” she told an Internet journalist who filmed the exchange, and then went on to apparently express support for anti-Israel boycotts.

Davies has apologized for the statement.

In a letter last week to the Ottawa Citizen, she insisted that her “reference to the year 1948 as the beginning of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory was a serious and completely inadvertent error; I apologize for this and regret any confusion it has caused. I have always supported a twostate solution to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and have never questioned Israel's right to exist and the Palestinian’s right to a viable state.”

She also rejected “the allegation that I hate Israel, and I reject the assertion that I said that Israel is illegitimate or an abomination. Neither are true.”

But her critics remain unconvinced.

“She stated that Israel has been occupying territories since 1948, the year of its independence.

The logical implication of these comments is that Israel has no right to exist,” Liberal MP and opposition foreign affairs critic Bob Rae said in a statement Tuesday.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper also used a debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday to lambast the NDP for Davies’ comments. This drew a defense of the party’s stance on Israel from NDP leader Jack Layton, who said her comments had been a mistake. Layton added that he had called Israel’s ambassador to Canada to clarify that they did not reflect the NDP’s position.

“NDP leader Jack Layton has gone on the record today stating that her remarks are not the policy of his party,” noted B’nai Brith Canada executive vice president Frank Dimant. “If that is the case, then Mr. Layton should take the next step and relieve Davies of her leadership positions in the party.”

According to B’nai Brith, Davies has “a long record of anti-Israel activism.”

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