April 9, 2012
Independent Jewish Voices-Canada considers the New Democratic Party a natural ally in the struggle to achieve a just settlement to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
And since the last federal election, when the NDP achieved Official Opposition status for the first time in its history, we were hopeful that the party would provide a strong alternative to the one-sided, pro-Israel position of the governing Conservatives.
In sizing up the candidates for the recent NDP leadership contest, it seemed to us that Thomas Mulcair’s position on Israel-Palestine resembled that of governing Harper Conservatives more than that of any other contender in the race.
We also learned that Lorne Nystrom, the national co-chair of Mr. Mulcair’s leadership campaign and a former NDP MP, currently sits on the board of Canada’s major pro-Israel lobby group, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
However, the party’s members have spoken. Thomas Mulcair is the new NDP leader and IJV-Canada wishes him well.
We are ready and willing to work with the NDP on the Israel-Palestine issue. In doing so we will be guided by a set of principles, the first being that human rights are universal and indivisible and should be upheld without exception. This is applicable in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories as it is elsewhere.
Another principle is that the battle against anti-Semitism is vital and is undermined whenever opposition to the Israeli government policies is automatically branded as anti-Semitic.
IJV-Canada sees boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) directed against Israeli-made products – especially products made in the illegal Settlements — as important tools in pressuring Israel to reach a just peace with the Palestinians.
We stand ready to work with the NDP and Thomas Mulcair in order to achieve a just peace in the Middle East.