Common Sense Canadian
 

Elizabeth May, Rafe Mair debate Israel, BDS and Green Party’s future

Posted August 15, 2016 by Rafe Mair in Politics
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Elizabeth May (photo: Laurel L. Russwurm/Flickr) and Rafe Mair

Elizabeth May (photo: Laurel L. Russwurm/Flickr) and Rafe Mair

UPDATE: Following heated debate – including that with Rafe Mair highlighted below – Elizabeth May has decided to stay on as Green Party of Canada leader.

What follows below is my recent exchange of letters with federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May over her high-profile dilemma with the party endorsing the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement. But first, a few words to set the stage.

I began to hear rumours as you all did that Elizabeth May was going to quit the leadership of the Green Party over its resolution to support The BDS initiative, a worldwide effort to force Israel to treat Palestine and Palestinians fairly.

I then received a copy of a letter, generally circulated, sent by the former Director of Communications for the Green Party of Canada, Kieran Green, to Ms. May.

I must tell you frankly that, along with many British Columbians, I was much impressed by Ms. May’s accomplishments, supported her editorially here and elsewhere. We became friends.

I was and remain extremely disappointed and believe that Elizabeth May has let a great many people down and, perhaps worse, has taken, forgive me, the evil side of an issue, on the wrong side of history, and an issue that has nothing to do with the cause for which so many supported her so wholeheartedly.

I only hope that we don’t learn that she carries an offer from Justin Trudeau in her handbag.

Here is the correspondence between us, plus some highlights from Mr. Kieran Green’s letter to Elizabeth May:

Kieran Green’s Aug. 10 letter – select passages

…Today, Israel continues to commit crimes – bulldozing homes, building illegal settlements. In fact, Israel has violated more different international laws than just about any nation in the world today, including, but not limited to: illegal use of inhumane white phosphorous munitions; violation of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; use of collective punishment against civilians; expropriation of property from an occupied territory; claiming sovereignty over land in an occupied territory; extrajudicial executions; torture; deliberate military targeting of emergency medical first response personnel and vehicles; deliberate targeting of civilians; denial of humanitarian aid to a civilian population; use of civilians as human shields by military personnel. Many of these are explicitly war crimes under International Law…

…In supporting BDS, the Green party of Canada has stepped to the right side of history. Which side will you stand on?

Letter from Rafe Mair to Elizabeth May – Aug. 11

Dear Elizabeth,

I whole heartedly with Kieran Green’s letter to you.

This is not a matter of anti-Semitism as the state of Israel and now you would have one believe is the issue – so convenient to Netanyahu – but a question of fair play for a minority driven out of their lands, now, by international law, occupied lands to be returned to their owners. Why you would support contrived self pity over the clear rights of Palestinians under international law, not to mention civilized morality, is beyond me. Anti-Semitism is not even an issue except as a phoney, self-serving whine. I spent 25 years in radio receiving complaints from the Canadian Jewish Congress, as an automatic reflex, any time I criticized the state of Israel.

Indeed, there is anti-Semitism as a major social issue in the world but in this context it is an irrelevant issue, contrived by Israel, not to draw attention to discrimination against Jews, but to serve its national interests.

Of course there has been atrociously uncivilized behaviour on both sides – that is the hallmark of war, especially civil war with deep religious hatred. However you may wish to parcel out that blame, there’s plenty to go around. For the Green Party, a party of moral principles, to deprive the Palestinian people of international and Canadian support for nationhood after all these years and suffering in refugee camps is, frankly, unbelievable. There is no question but that the Jewish lobby, both in the United States and Canada, has flogged the case that any support for Palestinians is anti-Semitic, a grossly unfair tactic which should be condemned by all decent people. I can’t believe that the Elizabeth May I know and admire could fall for this crap.

It’s abundantly clear that by no means is this the attitude of Jewish people in general – certainly not those that I have known, was law partners and political associates with, and travel with and see socially. It is not easy for them to get into a societal row over such matters; it never has been and never will be. Demographic groups tend to avoid internal squabbles; certainly mine does. While I don’t say that’s right, it’s natural not to want communities and even families fighting one another. Having said that, it’s the clear obligation of those who supply money and other support to the state of Israel to make it clear that depriving Palestinians of their own nation, by occupying and destroying their homes, “legally” stealing the land and building houses on it, is not on and will not be accepted, let alone supported. 

I find it impossible to understand how Elizabeth May, the humanitarian I’ve come to admire so greatly, would stake her leadership of the Green Party not on a “Green”  issue, which would be understandable, but in support of an Israeli government whose policies violate principles of basic humanity. How ironic, how awful it is to contemplate that the person who established The Green Party as a political force for such good in this country is apparently about to preside at its funeral.

I beg of you to reconsider.

Most sincerely,

Rafe

Reply from Elizabeth May to Rafe Mair – Aug. 12

I gather Rafe’s missive went to more than me? Perhaps I should share this with you.

The Green Party should not have tried out Robert’s Rules of Order.  We have always used consensus based decision making. We always find common ground through mutual respect and shared values.  We actually violated core values in leaving consensus decision-making. ‎It is an absolute parallel with the electoral reform debate. Parliaments that operate under FPTP are like Roberts Rules of Order – nasty. Majoritarian and prone to policy lurches thru winner take all votes. Proportional Rep democracies strive for consensus and operate much better.  We accidentally backed into a process that violates our core values-   Just as we make the case that Canada should move to consensus!

I want to be clearer about why I opposed the resolution on BDS. Of course, I do not condemn people in the BDS movement.  In fact I am sponsoring a petition to reverse the House of Commons vote to demonize the movement itself.

My concern is that it is very divisive and, fairly or unfairly, is seen as anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.  How divisive it is is very clear from what it just did to our party.

Criticism of Netanyahu’s actions is appropriate. In fact, I was the only party leader to criticize the excessive reaction by Netanyahu in bombarding Gaza in 2014.   The demand for Palestinian rights is appropriate.  This is all in existing GPC policy. Endorsing a series of social movement tactics is not something a political party does. For example, we can call for a two state solution and for Israel to stop the illegal expansions in occupied territory. We do not need to support one particular set of slogans and demands from a movement that is not a political party and whose demands make no sense for a party looking for solutions the Canadian Government can deliver.

Unfortunately, as noted above, the debate was run under new rules – Roberts Rules of Order.  Had we followed our usual and time-worn practice of consensus based decision making, this resolution would never have passed. It was too divisive.  A compromise would have been found.

As well,  due to a misunderstanding, my microphone was cut off in my only intervention, after 90 seconds.  What I had wanted to do when my mic was cut off was support the call from retired members of the Israeli security forces. This new group, Security First, is taking on Netanyahu. It calls for an end to illegal expansions by pointing out it makes Israel less secure. Supporting the same demands as being made by an outside group, BDS, but coming from retired Israeli defense and Mossad members is much smarter and will be more effective.

The range of options to get Israel to live up to international law could include sanctions and consumer boycotts.  In fact language like that was in a compromise amendment I wanted to support.  But it was ruled out of order.  It would have allowed us to speak in our own words, to keep us from being hijacked by a one-issue movement.

So to be really clear, I respect what many in the BDS movement are trying to do.  And I do not think the movement can be condemned as anti-Semitic, although it does attract some who are. It is just wrong to make an outside, and highly controversial movement, our policy.

I also look at what moves governments to change as Gandhi used to – by examining what will be effective. He once said he knew non-violent civil disobedience would move the British to leave India because he knew their conscience could be pricked. But he did not think it could work against a dictatorship.  The sanctions movement against South Africa worked because South Africa was a country with Commonwealth colonial history. It really stung South African Afrikaners to be thrown out of the Commonwealth. They wanted back in. It was their “family.”

Israel is entirely different.  It is a country established from the ashes of the unspeakable genocide. It feels surrounded by enemies. Its leadership and citizenry is not pricked by conscience by these tactics; it does not feel excluded and wishing to be accepted.  It feels under assault and threatened. It draws more inward and erects more walls – figurative and literal. Through a history of victimization and genocide, boycotts and sanctions are experienced by the mainstream Canadian Jewish community, by Greens in Israel and by the Israeli government an attack on Israel’s right to exist.  It does not move or promote change.  I am convinced BDS will never advance peace or Palestinian rights. Working to promote the views of retired Israeli armed forces members and promoting more Canadian government support for Palestinian rights, for aid and development assistance is where we should be as a party.  Unfortunately,  I was not allowed to say any of this in the plenary debate.

You may still condemn my views, but at least you have the benefit of knowing what they are.

Elizabeth

Rafe Mair’s reply to Elizabeth May – Aug. 12

Elizabeth,

I find it difficult to accept the breakup of a party in which Canadians placed so much hope on a failed microphone. For that’s what it amounts to. If you think the national party can carry on without you, you’re kidding yourself. Après vous, le deluge. Naturally that would have to change but for the next couple of years, the party and Elizabeth May will be synonymous unless, of course, you quit. The BC Party under Weaver is finished as I told you over a year ago. What a disaster.

I don’t need any lectures on the horrors of  the Holocaust. It happened at the most impressionable time of my youth and for the rest of my life I shall remember the Atrocity films we all watched and the dozen refugee kids that came to our school for Grades XI & XII. We all learned a hell of a lot from these brave contemporaries who became classmates and friends. One of them, Tommy Korican, became an outstanding Canadian diplomat.

Your letter betrays, however, a fundamental error and Netanyahu and his gang will love you for it.

The Holocaust had nothing to do with the Palestinians.

You can argue that they should all have read the Old Testament and embraced Zionism, but would you and your family have done so?

There is no point going over uncountable miles of tragic ground. There is an Israel and it must be able to protect itself. But surely to God those that support and finance her have to condemn and force a halt to her egregious lawlessness in simply stealing Palestinian land and displacing Palestinians with settlers, no? How can you even say a word about Israel without your anger rising at this massive ongoing crime, permitted if not encouraged by the US in particular? How would you feel to be a nation of ancient occupants told that you can’t be a nation until Mr. Netanyahu says you can? The only weapons at our disposal are aid and support.

We have an obligation to Palestinians to bring some order and sense to this tragedy. Do you have any idea, Elizabeth, how Israeli Arabs are treated? The gross discrimination in all matters, much including municipal and school funding? The constant harassment with checkpoints and intolerable delays? What the hell has this to do with the Holocaust?

Of course, as I said in my last letter, there’s blame on both sides, plenty enough to go around. But when you open your eyes and look at the 2016 situation, the next move is clearly Israel’s and as long as there’s a Netanyahu, and there always is one close at hand, undeterred if not actually encouraged by the West, there can never be justice for Palestine and Palestinians.

The Green Party self immolating in Canada is sad but we’ll get over it. The Green Party destroying itself because it can’t deal with international issues because a mic didn’t work, meaning I suppose that but for a short, sharp lecture from the leader all would have been well, makes you all look like damned fools who couldn’t run the Village of Lions Bay, much less a country. If it weren’t so serious it could be a P.G.Wodehouse book.

Leadership is much more than what one does on the hustings and, critically, includes what the leader leaves as a legacy.

Sincerely,

Rafe Mair,
Lions Bay, BC

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About the Author

Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

50 Comments


  1.  
    Angel

    If you are genuinely concerned with the welfare of the Palestinian people and are not just closet anti-Semites or Jew obsessed then why aren’t you at all concerned with the Palestinians in Lebanon that are non-citizens even though they have been there for generations? or the hundreds of thousands in Syria that are being murdered, starved and impassioned? or the fact that they are suffering so much cruelty and injustice in the hands of the PA and Hamas?

    That’s not mentioning all the other atrocities and injustice currently going on in the world.

    Does there have to be a Jew in the equation for you to care?




  2.  
    Reinier Kanis

    Strange how people who love and care for our environment can have such differing opinions. In a system where the Green Party represents an ideology, and one that has an end consequence of achieving the dead opposite, by breaking up the left wing vote, and insuring that those who want to destroy our environment do get elected.

    Second its refreshing to see we have at least one person with enough courage to not suck on the nipples of and Israel that has become one of them most ruthless nations on earth in regards to genocide.

    I have always been open mind and anti racist, how can I now keep my silence? Because its the popular thing to do? Or the fear of speaking out against Israel is tantamount to shoot a scared cow?

    Last but not east the best thing for the environment, is to united the groups who defend it, not encourage splinter organizations, so on this “one” Rafe, I don’t agree with you.




  3.  
    nonconfidencevote

    Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

    The arguement is moot when actuarial numbers used to predict Palestinian babies would eventually overwhelm the State of Israel……..

    http://www.google.ca/url?url=http://matzav.com/jewish-baby-boom-alters-israeli-palestinian-dynamic/&rct=j&frm=1&q=&esrc=s&sa=U&ved=0ahUKEwiu8sLcq9DOAhVG3mMKHW0-Am4QFggWMAE&usg=AFQjCNHCy2Nyz8MyvCMg7EEK3sViB2UmAQ

    Make love not war……literally.

    Babies…. not bombs…..will win the day.




  4.  

    My God Brian!!!!!

    ARE YOU SERIOUS? “Since the Palestinians clearly don’t want to use the fertile land around them, the Isrealis might as well develop what they legitimately liberate from a people enthralled with primitive beliefs and superstitions and polluted by irrational modern hatred.”

    First, learn to spell Israel.
    Then learn that no religion or set of beliefs makes sense to non believers nor stands much unbiased analysis (I personally remain a Christian, incidentally)
    Then follow through your argument with respect to fertile land, apply it to BC, and demand that all unused fertile land be given to any who would like to use it and forcibly evict the lazy buggers who don’t. We have enormous demand for our land by foreign investors with endless funding, we are too crowded for them in Vancouver, and are desperately seeking solutions – and you, Brian, have found it!




    •  
      Brian

      Israel. Happy now? Religion in general and xianity in particular, is the worst scourge, the foulest plague to ever beset mankind. It matters not a whit what people believe, it is reality which is important. Sticking to primitive beliefs in an age when they have all been proven completely unfounded is an indication either of sheer willful stupidity or a genetic mental disorder. In fact, increasingly psychologists are considering religious beliefs to be just that, a mental disorder.

      I’ll not be diverted from my point by drawing comparisons with BC or anywhere else. The Israeli/Palestine situation is unique unto itself.

      The simple fact is as I stated it earlier. The Palestinians had two courses of action at partition. Accept the fact and get on with rebuilding or continue a tribal grudge eons old. They chose the latter and have been playing the victim card ever since. Consequently, as the result of unending attacks on Israel they have invited defensive reprises. They are getting the snot kicked out of them and rightfully so. Their own people have killed far more of their civilians than thr total of any Israeli attack whether defensive of offensive. Every time there has been a ceasefire it has been the Palestinians who have broken it. If they stop that, things will change.

      Since the land is arable, since the Palestinians have shown no interest in tilling it and since they have invited warfare to their lands, then there is no good reason the conquerors should not make use of it.

      Should the Palestinian people develop the good sense to rid themselves of the mindless jihadists among them, they might very well benefit from having those lads bearing grass and grains. As it is now, their land bears only a bitter fruit.




      •  

        Although your wording is difficult, your points have some validity. So long as the PA leadership is willing to say one thing for western consumption and another thing [making maps that have no reference to Israel, and allowing images of Jews to be used as target practice for children being trained in marksmanship], it is no wonder that Netanyahu manages to retain majority support.

        I am not inclined accept Rafe’s cavalier position that there is atrocities on both sides as being a substantive argument. In my view, as someone who once was a kibbutz volunteer on a secular Histradrut-affiliated kibbutz that welcomed Arabs as equals – I see the preponderance of the problem as being unwillingness on the part of Arab leadership to accept a Jewish community in Palestine. This was as far as the Balfour Declaration went in asserting British support for Jewish settlement. It was largely because of xenophobic hostility from Palestinian Arab leadership that racheted up the use of Jewish force in order to allow for Jewish self determination in the region of their Indigenous provenance.

        Elizabeth is to be commended for wanting to be fair and genuinely constructive on this subject. I feel that the Green Party would have been well advised a couple of years ago to have given some consideration to advocating that Canada take an active role in reviving the UNESCO Culture of Peace Initiative that would enable the skills and tools for choosing peace to become more practice-able than resorting to war and violence. The fact that the Green Party brushed this off over the past few years means they now face the whirlwind. cpnn-world.org




        •  
          Bud

          Well said. However, the UN being one of the most corrupt organizations in history, after the Vatican, IOC and Fifa, I’d not put much faith in anything they are part of.




  5.  
    G West

    Several points: 1. Either Ms May accepts the decision of her party or she ‘proves’ by her own actions that this really is a ‘one-person’ movement and not an actual political party at all. If she leaves – as she most likely will – she’ll certainly find a home with her good friend Justin – who also doesn’t think BDS is such a good idea and who (like Ms May) has his own ‘ideas’ about what constitutes ‘consensus’. 2. The suggestion that a majority decision (simply because of the effect of using Robert’s Rules of Order) is not a valid decision and a reflection of the views of Green Party membership is sophistry. Like Robert Moses (who pulled this same trick numerous times in New York) Ms May is using the threat of resignation as her own bully pulpit rather than accepting that Louis XIV’s dictum (L’État, c’est moi) can’t ever apply in a democracy – or a ‘democratic’ party.




  6.  
    Barry Epstein

    I don’t agree with what Israel is and has been doing to the Palestinians. It’s too much like what we did to the North American Indigenous peoples, on whose land we remain to this day, legally confining them to the worst, most useless parts of Canada, and denying them their rights to protest when Big Oil comes along and tries to intrude on what they have left. Perhaps we should be turning our sights to the outrageous injustices that have been and are being perpetrated here at home before we preach to others.




    •  
      Bud

      Well Barry, then return whatever you figure you and you family, going back until they came here, owe the natives. Then, head back to whatever country your folks came from and give back to the natives there who were displaced when your folks displaced them.

      Do you begin to get an inkling of just how ignorant your post is?




    •  

      I find your post valuable, Barry and I find Bud’s post ignorant. Colonialism has an atrocious record in North America in creating plunder and impunity for criminality to this day. That is not difficult to demonstrate. Just go to Investment System Fraud on facebook for an introduction to lawlessness in the investment industry and rampant elder abuse and deliberate ignoring of common law of contract. The self-regulation culture has conditioned the RCMP to defer to sham, pretend outfits like the Insurance Council of BC to deal with blatant fraud by investment dealers who take savings of seniors involuntarily and place these funds into locked-in seg funds. Our phony regulators – when given hard evidence of violations say “we sympathize but our hands are tied.”

      This form of governance is utterly worthless – and it is time to look at restoring the Original Society of Turtle Island foundations for investment law. The book “Nationhood Interrupted” by Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum) shows the history of genuine foundations for governing investment 1) Investment is a sacred function 2) It must put as its first goal healing the Earth 3) It must provide for the security of the next 7 generations. It is astounding how such values are exactly what are needed in today’s context for us to be able to focus on what is needed to deal with climate stabilization. If we could marshall all the resources on the continent to get rid of the rot in the brokerage industry – we would have a far more credible capacity in speaking to the Palestinians and Israelis. http://www.mcnallyrobinson.com/9781895830804/sylvia-mcadam/nationhood-interrupted#.V7jkOygrK70




  7.  
    Lori Smith

    I feel both the problem and the solution must be defined by and come from the Israelis. Our timely challenge is to help the Israelis realize this. Until this happens, sadly I feel, nothing for the Palestinians is going to change.

    Prior to reading Ms. May’s suggested solution, I disagreed with her and felt different tactics were needed. But now, I actually feel her solution is probably the best way we can help the Palestinians, who have my utmost support. To sit idly by and do nothing is not an option.




  8.  
    Sue Stroud

    She was never honest. http://www.watershedsentinel.ca/content/interview-elizabeth-may
    Here she’s caught by her own supporters, then there are all the polling lies during the election (and there were more than just the one Elections Canada nabbed them on as anyone who live on the Island knows).




    •  
      Ron

      Good points., Sue.
      But the media appears to be incapable of serious analysis of the claims, and performance, of either the federal or the BC Greens.
      For example, one federal Green MP voted for Cdn involvement in recent Iraq/ISIS war and the other opposed it! Is it possible that the Greens are both for and against the war? Yes – because they refuse to be whipped and stand for any policy for which campaigned!




  9.  
    David

    Elizabeth May is exactly right. Although criticism of Israel on some issues is necessary, making a divisive movement party policy is not the answer. The convention process was clearly hijacked and should be revisited with a consensus-based approach.




    •  
      Jef Keighley

      David:

      Leadership, for a party that seeks to contest national governance, consists of taking on issues of local, national and international importance whether or not raising those issues carry the potential of division within or external to the party engaging in the debate. Political courage includes the courage to willingly ruffle feathers along the way if that is what is necessary to make political progress. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of those issues that demands such courage. A political party that avoids debating particular issues out of fear that to do so will raise internal conflicts is not a political party at all, it is a mere debating society not fit to govern a nation. Greens will choose to be genuine political party or a mere debating society and Canadians will judge your fitness to govern accordingly.




      •  
        Florence

        Regarding the “Con Sensus” Factor…I recommend reading this: https://axiomamuse.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/28188812-what-american-citizens-need-to-know-about-consensus-and-facilitation.pdf
        Please understand one does NOT need to agree with everything in this article, nor be an American citizen BUT it does explain much more in depth this word/meaning “concensus” so many people do not truly comprehend. What it means, in actual effect, rather than on paper…..Substance over Form must be recognized and valued, in my perception……So many forget this…..such as clearly Elizabeth May has done. Same as the word and it’s popular use “Compromise”….to ask the human Beings in Palestine to compromise to Netanyahu Israel Regime is absurd….and a violation of basic human natural decency….diminishing the long suffering these human Beings have been forced to endure…..that is against International Covenants that Canada is signatory to…..




  10.  
    Perry Anglin

    I agree with Rafe entirely and am saddened that Elizabeth May has taken a position at variance with her party’s democratic expression of a policy, particularly one that is irrelevant to the party’s primary goal.

    It is also sad to read her blames on a microphone or on Robert’s Rules of Order. I happen to prefer Beauchene’s. Both are more civilized than someone’s notion of “consensus,” which can be manipulated.

    Perry Anglin




  11.  

    By consensus one would have to conclude that it exists in the Green Party of Canada and in favour of support for BDS. It is May that is outside of the consensus of the movement. Nonetheless there are certain measures to be taken in addition to support for BDS in order to differentiate support for the Palestinians inside and the refugees outside the Zionist State as opposed to Antisemitism, which truly exists. Whether consciously or unconsciously one must use focused terminology which does not target a so-called ‘Jewish Lobby’ or targets ‘Israeli’ this and that when actually it is the Zionist movement that is at fault, both Jewish and Christian. As for the aura of the Zionist State as a refuge for us Jewish refugees, i should mention that we did not chose to go to Palestine but rather were denied visas to go anywhere else except for those who already had relatives in a country like Canada, as was the case in my family. 48% of the Jewish refugees were forced to go to Palestine, a minority.




  12.  
    peacenik

    If Israel feels surrounded by enemies and threatened, what is Israel doing to make friends and lessen the threat? Surely taking land, forcing people to leave their homes and live in refugee camps, imprisioning and holding people without charges, unreasonable and unfair check-points and other horrors perpetrated do not foster friendship, trust and peace among peoples.




  13.  
    s carl

    This is a more complex issue than Rafe Mair’s blundering against Ms. May suggests.. It is not as simple as failure of a microphone.
    While of course the Palestinians have been mistreated, as noted, it is also
    true, as Brian noted, that Israel is surrounded by enemies who leave little unturned in trying to remove Israel. And yet, Israel has moved so far from the original 242 UN Mandate, that
    it is difficult to place credibility in the context of Israel. And so it goes. On and on.
    As long as the leadership of Israel is reflected in the style of Netanyahu (How would you feel to be a nation of ancient occupants told that you can’t be a nation until Mr. Netanyahu says you can?)..this blarney of an arrangement will continue.
    Were I Israeli, which I am not, I would understand more of their position.
    Though I am not Palestinian, I understand, more, of their position, as it comes from a
    position of weakness and despair. Granted of their own blame, especially considering Arafat had a potential deal in his hands and he walked away…then died.

    Israel, for all its shortcomings and security concerns, which are surely legitimate, doesn’t share the Palestinians despair. Does that make enough difference?
    Certainly the sides can’t agree. Either way, the issue shall continue…rigid.

    To think that Ms. May would quit on this issue, considering the importance of maintaining a slight connection of the Green Party to parliament, is hard to fathom.

    Steven




    •  
      Bud

      When one is fighting for their very existence, any weapon at hand is legitimate. If you naysayers were defending your family, would you not use anything to protect them? When the person attacking you knows no restraints, why should you?




      •  
        zalm

        You must be referring here to the Palestinians. The Israelis are under no such threat. However, most Palestinians have abjured violence, knowing how it doesn’t work.

        Would that Israel would support what DOES work, though….




    •  
      David

      s. carl

      “…especially considering Arafat had a potential deal in his hands and he walked away….”

      You are of course, referring to the 2000 Camp David Summit.

      Reality:
      Working in tandem, Barak and Clinton tried to shove a very bad deal down Arafat’s throat during the 2000 Camp David Summit. It could only be rejected. Suffice to quote Shlomo Ben-Ami, then Israel’s foreign minister and lead negotiator at Camp David: “Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well.” (National Public Radio, 14 February 2006.)

      Furthermore:
      Regarding the Tabb II Negotiations: Unfortunately, as Aaron David Miller, a key member of the U.S. negotiating team, revealed to author Clayton Swisher (The Truth about Camp David: The Untold Story about the Collapse of the Middle East Peace Process, Nation Books, 2004), even at this late stage President Clinton remained poorly prepared and as a result his bridging proposal was ill-defined: “Things got no better as the final months of Clinton’s administration went on. Miller confesses to Swisher that the so-called ‘parameters’ that Clinton finally presented in late December 2000 – the first time the Clinton team had ventured to adopt a policy position – were still being revised the very day they were presented, meaning that, as Miller notes, ‘we were not ready.’ This was less than a month before the end of eight years in office. Clinton and company lacked a clear strategy and ‘dithered’ over what exactly the parameters were to define.” (Kathleen Christison, “Camp David Redux, Counterpunch, 15 August 2005)

      While his remarks received scant attention in the media, Shlomo Ben-Ami, Israel’s foreign minister, set the record straight regarding the suspension of Taba II: “Despite reports to the contrary in Israel, however, Mr. Arafat never turned down ’97 percent of the West Bank’ at Taba, as many Israelis hold. The negotiations were suspended by Israel because elections were imminent [February 2001] and ‘the pressure of Israeli public opinion against the talks could not be resisted ‘….” ((“Quest for Mideast Peace: How and Why It Failed,” Deborah Sontag, New York Times, 26 July 2001)

      BTW, The “offer” made in 2008 by Israeli PM Ehud Olmert was never seen as serious because it lacked cabinet approval and he was under indictment with only a few weeks left in office, had a 6% favorable rating, and, therefore, couldn’t have closed the deal, even if the Palestinians had accepted it. (Olmert is now in prison.)




  14.  
    Evil Eye

    Why are the Palestinians being treated differently by Canada, than our First nations peoples? Should not the Palestinians be allowed their land and why should they not fight to get it back?

    It is a double standard that should embarrass Canada, but we now have a Prime Minister to busy apologizing for misdeeds done in the past to al least tell the Israeli government that the Palestinian peoples not be treated any differently, including land claims, than our first nations peoples.

    The hypocrisy is breath taking.




  15.  
    Brian

    First off, the Green Party will never amount to a hill of beans, not even as much as the NDamnableP. Secondly Ms. May has achieved her seat less through her own appeal, political skill, and position and more because the voters of that riding were sick and tired of Harper The Horrible and his rancid little MP No Neck Lund.

    Further, perhaps the Isreali’s go a bit overboard from time to time. However, they are surrounded by enemies and are literally fighting for their very existence. Their enemies fight with every dirty tactic known to mankind and invent new ones almost daily. One does not combat such an intractable enemy by playing by the Marquess Of Queensberry Rules. One fights such an enemy by using his own tactics against him. An enemy which will hide rocket launchers and launch rockets from hospitals, nurseries and schools is calling death and destruction down upon his own people.

    Had the Palestinian people taken the high road when the partition took place, grabbed their bootstraps and made the best of things, they’d be independent and prosperous today. Instead, they insisted on becoming victims and chose to continue tribal warfare thousands of years old.

    Since the Palestinians clearly don’t want to use the fertile land around them, the Isrealis might as well develop what they legitimately liberate from a people enthralled with primitive beliefs and superstitions and polluted by irrational modern hatred.

    Cheers,

    B




    •  
      Dana Cooke

      That, Brian is perhaps the most ugly response filled with no knowledge of the situation.
      The only thing you said here that made any sense was that the Green Party will not amount to anything. I suggest you try and do some reading up on history, and current events. I might even say you either did not read any of this or the responses or your eyes are just closed.. Either way, such a sad sight.




      •  
        Bud

        Those who refuse to acknowledge the truth, often find it ugly.




        •  
          David

          Bud

          Brian’s comment is about as far away from the “truth” as one can get. The two of you should get together and do some research on the subject using scholarly, duly sourced and foot-noted sources.

          Indeed, if “ignorance” is indeed “bliss,” you and Brian must be ecstatic.




        •  
          zalm

          The truth, as written byu Israeli historians like Bernard Avishai, Benny Morris, Tom Segev and others is pretty much diametrically opposite to what you and Brian seem to think it is.

          You really should get out of your churches and read some Israeli history some time. It’s very instructive.




      •  
        Florence

        Clearly Brian has un researched bias




    •  
      David

      https://vimeo.com/86575949

      A film which has been produced by a group of Australian journalists has sparked an international outcry against Israel after it explicitly detailed Tel Aviv’s use of torture against Palestinian children.
      The film, titled ‘Stone Cold Justice’ documents how Palestinian children, who have been arrested and detained by Israeli forces, are subjected to physical abuse, torture and forced into false confessions and pushed into gathering intelligence on Palestinian activists. Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop has spoken out against Israeli’s use of torture stating that “I am deeply concerned by allegations of the mistreatment of Palestinian children,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor has described the human rights abuses documented in the film as “intolerable”. But rights groups have slammed this statement, saying that the Israelis are doing nothing to change Tel Aviv’s policy to torture Palestinian children. Last year a report by the United Nations International Emergency Children’s Fund or UNICEF concluded that Palestinian children are often targeted in night arrests and raids of their homes, threatened with death and subjected to physical violence, solitary confinement and sexual assault. The film Stone Cold Justice has sparked an international outcry about Israel’s treatment of children in Israeli jails. However, rights groups have criticized Tel Aviv for not doing anything to create a policy that protects Palestinian children against arbitrary arrest and torture.




    •  
      David

      Brian

      Such appalling and inexcusable ignorance.

      To be brief, allow me to enlighten you regarding the UNGA Partition Plan:

      Palestinians rejected the 1947 Partition Plan (UNGA Res. 181, Nov. 29/47) for entirely justified reasons based on international law. While Jews made up just 31% of the population (90% were of foreign origin, only 30% had become citizens, thousands were illegal immigrants) and owned only 6.5% of the land, the Partition Plan (recommendatory only, i.e., non-binding, contrary to the League of Nations British Class A Mandate and the Atlantic Charter, never adopted by the UNSC) outrageously proposed they receive 56% of Palestine (including its most fertile areas) in which Palestinians made up 45% of the population as a Jewish state. (10% of Palestine’s Jewish population consisted of native vehemently anti-Zionist Palestinian/Arab Jews.)

      Although Palestinian Arab citizens made up at least 69% of the population and setting aside state owned land, privately owned 48% of the total area of mandated Palestine (as noted above, Jews privately owned a mere 6.5%), the Partition Plan recommended they receive only 42% as a state. (The 2% of Palestine comprised of Jerusalem and Bethlehem was to be placed under international control, i.e., a Corpus Separatum.)

      No wonder Palestinians rejected the Partition Plan. Indeed, it proved so unworkable that when Polish born David Ben-Gurion (nee, David Gruen) et al. declared the state of Israel effective 15 May 1948 (after Jewish forces had already expelled 500,000 Palestinian Arabs per the Jewish Agency’s Plan Dalet through armed might, mass rape, several massacres and intimidation – e.g., 60,000 from West Jerusalem in March and early May, 67,000 from Haifa in April, 75,000 from Jaffa in late April and early May) and captured large portions of the Partition Plan’s recommended Palestinian state, (e.g. Jaffa), the UNGA was in the process of shelving the Partition Plan in favor of a UN Trusteeship.

      When war erupted due to necessary intervention by reluctant outnumbered/outgunned Arab state armies to stem the accelerating expulsion of Palestinians, a US proposed cease-fire was accepted by the Arab League but rejected by Israel.

      By the end of the war Israel had seized 78% of Palestine, expelled 400,000 more Palestinians for a total of about 800,000 and bulldozed over 500 of their towns and villages, including churches, mosques and cemeteries. It was only the beginning of the dispossession and expulsion of historic Palestine’s indigenous inhabitants by Zionist Jews of foreign origin.




      •  
        Barry Epstein

        First let me say that I don’t agree with the way Israel is going about nation-building, or their treatment of Palestinians, who deserve better, especially from their own government. But all of this sounds a lot like what we did to North America’s Indigenous peoples, except in our case, it was 100% people of foreign origin misappropriating their lands. They weren’t even given the option to negotiate the terms of settlement. In Israel’s case, the indigenous inhabitants were cast forth centuries ago in a Diaspora that is recognized by most of the world, and their descendants are merely coming back to claim a historic birthright. Instead of being welcomed and aided in their aspirations, they were set upon by savage, warring tribes, and when efforts to expel the Jews failed, the losers went whining to various international bodies. There is a middle ground, that should be acceptable to all parties, but 70 years of accumulated grievances have so hardened their respective positions that it seems likely that only an international body can help them to resolve their differences. BDS is merely a ridiculous and useless distraction from any real solutions.




        •  
          David

          Barry Epstein

          Seldom have I read such utter bilge regarding the history of Palestine.

          To be brief:

          Zionism is racism. Zionism is theft. Zionism is fascism.

          Israel: 68 years of trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.

          Palestinians, along with their Canaanite and other ancestors have been living between the Jordan River and the Med. Sea since 7,000 BCE – millennia before the short-lived (73 years) United Jewish Kingdom existed, which never controlled the coast from Jaffa to Gaza.

          To quote Professor Ilene Beatty, renowned historian/anthropologist and specialist on the Holy Land: “[Being of] Canaanite origin, Palestinians have priority; their descendants have continued to live there, which gives them continuity; and (except for the 800,000 dispossessed refugees [of 1947-48, and the hundreds of thousands subsequently expelled]), they are still living there, which gives them present possession. Thus we see that on purely statistical grounds they have a proven legal right to their land.” (Ilene Beatty – Arab and Jew in the Land of Canaan)

          Bottom line: Foreign Jews had as much right to Palestine as Irish Catholics and Mexican atheists, i.e., none whatsoever.




          •  
            David

            Barry Epstein

            P.S.
            Thankfully, as is increasingly evident, people around the world, especially youth, including Americans and righteous Jews, are growing ever more disgusted with and enraged at the entity known as “Israel” for its monstrous crimes against Palestine’s essentially defenseless native inhabitants. It is only going to get much, much worse for Israel. All so predictable.

            Enough said.
            Bye, bye




          •  
            Barry Epstein

            Yeah, yeah, I know. Canadianism is racism. Canadianism is theft. Canadianism is fascism. You just don’t get it, do you? Most (European) nations wind up doing exactly what you accuse Israel of doing. That doesn’t make it right, but you might reserve a modicum of your outrage for your own ancestors. Foreign settlers had as much right to North America as Irish Catholics and Mexican atheists, i.e., none whatsoever.

            The Jewish people base their claim to the land of Israel on at least four premises: 1) God promised the land to the patriarch Abraham; 2) the Jewish people settled and developed the land; 3) the international community granted political sovereignty in Palestine to the Jewish people and 4) the territory was captured in defensive wars … [as have most nations and territories since the beginning of warfare].

            You can twist the facts all you want, but the truth is that, although coming under the sway of various empires and home to a variety of ethnicities, the Land of Israel was predominantly Jewish until the 3rd century.




  16.  
    Kiff Archer

    What will Vancouver Island voters say….many christians there voted green… Liz probably keeps paycheques coming in …. green majority wants Palestine freed.. Nothing was ever mentioned about imaginary counterfeited money systems ….she knows zionist beliefs control 80% of Amercan politicians …..Remember most jews and many others don’t believe in holy city validity until second coming or first depending on whatever fundamentalist point of views. ..Some of these deluded care very much about environmental issues…..so away we go with similar smoke screens again. ….stuck in the middle of BAU





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