This article was originally published on April 13, 2017 on Canada Talks Israel Palestine.
To Zionists, the “Balfour Declaration” has an almost mythical status – like the Magna Carta or the US Declaration of Independence. One hundred years ago, on November 2nd 1917, Britain’s Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour sent a letter to British Zionist Lord Rothschild, promising that Britain would help establish a “national home” for the Jewish people” in Palestine, which at that time was under the Ottoman Empire.
The 1917 “Balfour Declaration” promised British support for the creation of a “national home for the Jewish people” but to the disappointment of Zionists did not call for a “Jewish state”Read more
This article was originally published on May 4, 2017 in the Huffington Post.
Three things are clear coming out of the second NDP leadership debate in Montreal. First, there’s a clear sense of where the party is headed. Second, the field of leadership candidates is extremely strong. And finally, the candidates will need to try harder to distinguish themselves.
This is in strong contrast to 2012, when last the NDP had to choose a leader. The task of replacing Jack Layton in 2012 forced the party to make many tough decisions, foremost over whether to bring the party closer to the political centre under Thomas Mulcair. But the current race has four candidates all of whom push a strong social democrat vision. They each refer frequently and favourably to Jack Layton’s legacy, but rarely to Thomas Mulcair’s. Regardless of which candidate prevails in the end, the party will be pushing a solidly progressive vision.
This article was originally published on March 28, 2017 in the Huffington Post.
If you’re like me, Canada’s debate around Islamophobia has left you drained and disillusioned. Both the Liberals and Conservatives treated this important social issue as if it were political football, seeking to gain cheap yardage with seemingly little concern for the lives involved. Muslim Canadians deserve better.
Many Canadians might be surprised to learn that back in October, Canada passed an anti-Islamophobia motion by unanimous consent. House of Common petition e411, sponsored by Liberal MP Frank Baylis was the basis for this motion. Sadly, at the time, Liberals didn’t have the political courage to propose a motion on Islamophobia before the House. Instead, it was NDP leader Thomas Mulcair who showed the sensitivity and political resolve to present this motion, and did so successfully on October 26.Read more
This article was originally published on Feb. 23, 2017 in the Huffington Post.
The jury is in. According to a new survey, the vast majority of Canadians do not consider criticism of the government of Israel to be “anti-Semitic.” This finding flatly contradicts those who have been warning of a “new anti-Semitism” in Canada, where criticism of Israel is a veiled form of this despicable historic ideology.
Of those who offered an opinion, 91 percent of Canadians did not believe that criticism of Israeli government policy is necessarily anti-Semitic. For those respondents who identified with the Liberal party, the number was 97 percent; for those with in NDP, literally 100% said that criticism of Israel is like criticism of any other country.Read more
This article was originally published on Feb. 20, 2017 in Rabble.
The most recent poll regarding Canadian’s attitudes towards Israel has just been released and the results are telling. Quite strikingly, far more Canadians have a negative view of the government of Israel than a positive one. Even more remarkable, Quebec respondents have a far harsher view of the government of Israel than their fellow Canadians.
Some have argued that Quebecers have always been more critical of the Israeli government, and more sympathetic to the Palestinians. This assumption was up in the air, however, when a survey by Crop-LaPresse issued in 2014 during the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas found that the majority (64%) of Quebecers chose not to pick sides in the messy flare up.Read more
This article was originally published on Feb. 17, 2017 in the Huffington Post.
New survey results indicate that on the question of Israel-Palestine politics, the Trudeau government is grossly out of step with the Canadian electorate. New survey results indicate that while Canadians were far more likely to have a negative opinion of Israeli government, most Canadians believe their government is biased in favour of Israel.
In a survey co-sponsored by my organization and conducted by EKOS, 46 percent of Canadians who expressed an opinion had a negative or somewhat negative view of the government of Israel. Only 28 percent had a positive or mostly positive view of Israel. On the other hand, 61 percent believed that their government held a pro-Israel Middle East policy, while only 16 percent thought Canada was pro-Palestinian.Read more
Canada Appears More Interested in Supporting a “2 State Solution” Than in Defending Palestinian Human Rights
This article was originally published on February 16, 2017 on Canada Talks Israel Palestine.
Israel, its settlers and its military have been on an aggressive roll since the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. From shooting a Palestinian member of Israeli Knesset, to killing a Bedouin citizen of Israel fighting expulsion, to demolishing 11 homes in the Israeli Palestinian town of Qalanswah, to announcing 6000 new settlement homes in the West Bank, to renewed bombing on Gaza, to retroactively legalizing settlements in the West Bank, Israel seems more determined than ever to exert its dominance over the Palestinians.
What has been Canada’s response? A month after being appointed, Canada’s new foreign affairs minister has finally made a comment:Read more
This article was originally published on December 8, 2016 on Rabble.
The Green Party convention this past weekend offered a win for everyone. Sort of. The convention was held to clarify the Greens’ position vis-à-vis economic pressure on Israel for its human rights abuses. Green leader Elizabeth May was so opposed to an August resolution condemning Israel’s human rights abuses that she had threatened to resign. Influential party activists sought to preserve their August win while maintaining party unity.
A “compromise” resolution endorsed in advance by both party brass and influential grassroots activists suggested that everyone could have what they wanted. Green leader Elizabeth May got her wish to remove reference to the international “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) movement, while human rights activists were able to retain strong language censuring Israel’s human rights abuses against Palestinians.Read more
This article was originally published on Nov. 16, 2016 on the Huffington Post.
The naysayers on both sides of the issue have been proven wrong. When the Green Party passed a motion in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on Israel in August, conservative voices felt Elizabeth May would be justified in stepping down as party leader. Progressive voices, however, urged her to stay on, and not to disavow the BDS movement.
May and the federal Greens may do both.
With the release of a draft “compromise” resolution last week, the Green Party of Canada (GPC) seems poised to advocate economic pressure on Israel – while not endorsing the BDS movement – and May seems comfortable leading the party forward with this position.Read more
This article was originally published on Oct. 25, 2016 on the Huffington Post.
As the Harper era ended and Trudeau’s term began in late 2015, a collective sigh of relief could be heard from ethnic communities all across Canada, especially from Muslim Canadians. From opposing niqabs at citizenship ceremonies to setting up a hotline for individuals to report the “barbaric cultural practices” of their fellow Canadians - which would have undoubtedly targeted Muslims and those believed to be Muslim - Steven Harper’s Conservative government proved to be highly intolerant of certain minority communities and certainly aided in the heightening of tensions against ethnic and religious groups in the country.
It is no surprise, then, that Trudeau’s comparatively progressive stances and charismatic personality have been so enthusiastically embraced by Muslim Canadians. As a Muslim Canadian myself, I have witnessed the raw enthusiasm within the community over our new Prime Minister. I can’t tell you the number of times my Muslim friends have posted selfies with our “dreamy” Prime Minister on social media. Many others have either proudly shared posts of the PM doing some pretty quirky things, like practicing yoga moves on a desk or showing off his Bhangra dancing skills.Read more