Canada Pro-Israel orgs blast NDP for anti-Israel boycott, lawfare policies

The NDP demanded the Canadian government end all trade and economic relations with Israeli settlements and suspend all arms trade with Israel.

Police officers stand in line to separate protesters supporting the Palestinians from a small group of Israel supporters in front of city hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada May 15, 2021. (photo credit: REUTERS/CHRIS HELGREN)
Police officers stand in line to separate protesters supporting the Palestinians from a small group of Israel supporters in front of city hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada May 15, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/CHRIS HELGREN)

New policies to pressure Israel and accuse it of human rights abuses published by the Canadian New Democratic Party's (NDP) led to outrage among Canadian pro-Israel groups on Friday.

The NDP emailed out 13 policy demands for Canada's ruling Liberal party on August 26, which would recognize the "asymmetric nature" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ostensibly end hostilities by pressuring and ostracising the State of Israel.

What have been the responses?

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) said in a statement that the email was in contrast to long-standing NDP policies on Israel.

 Canada's New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada December 8, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/BLAIR GABLE) Canada's New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada December 8, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/BLAIR GABLE)

“It is distressing that [NDP leader Jagmeet] Singh posits that every challenge faced by the Palestinian people is not only the fault of Israel but also entirely up to Israel to solve," CIJA CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel, said in a statement, "The NDP must return to a more constructive position on the Middle East that neither demonizes Israelis nor infantilizes Palestinians and that genuinely promotes peace and human rights." 

"The NDP must return to a more constructive position on the Middle East that neither demonizes Israelis nor infantilizes Palestinians and that genuinely promotes peace and human rights."

CIJA CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel

The NDP demanded the Canadian government end all trade and economic relations with Israeli settlements and suspend all arms trade with Israel "until Palestinian rights are upheld."

The NDP had previously campaigned, during Operation Guardians of the Walls against Hamas-ruled Gaza, for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stop arms sales to Israel "until the end of the illegal occupation.

What are the demands made to Trudea?

This included a letter campaign to Trudeau. NDP's Foreign Affairs representative Heather McPherson called for the boycotting of Israeli settlements in February, after the release of the Amnesty International report declaring Israel an apartheid state.

For the crimes mentioned in such reports, Canada should engage in the prosecution of Israelis, according to the email sent by the NDP.

The NDP said that Canada should accept the recommendations of NGO reports on supposed Israeli apartheid — which includes calls to prosecute Israelis for apartheid, refer them to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or open an international tribunal. 

“Mr. Singh must also be reminded that Canada has already responded to false allegations accusing Israel of ‘apartheid,’" said Fogel. "It has rejected [the] application of that label being applied to Israel, as have other democracies, including the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, and the USA."

Israel should also be referred to the ICC over the death of Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, said one of the NDP's points.

McPherson previously accused Israeli forces of deliberately killing Abu Akleh in a May 30 letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly.

Abu Akleh was killed in a May 11 firefight in Jenin between Israeli and Palestinian forces. Examination of the bullet by Israeli and American investigators was inconclusive on the source of the projectile — but the US embassy said that it was likely she was accidentally killed by Israeli forces.

The NDP called for the condemnation of Israeli security efforts — the blockading of Hamas-ruled Gaza and the designation of six Palestinian NGOs as fronts of the Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine.

The progressive Canadian political party wished for Canada to begin voting "for Palestinian human rights at the United Nations." The NDP also demanded the government speak against Israel in land disputes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. 

Fogel warned that the NDP's new policies will not lead to an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict

"In its one-sided, unbalanced positioning against Israel, the NDP is apparently following in the steps of the UK Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn," he said. "We all know where that led: Unmitigated disaster at the polls and  widespread antisemitism within the Party."