'The Return of the NDP's Anti-Israel Fringe'

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'The Return of the NDP's Anti-Israel Fringe'

The Return of the NDP's Anti-Israel Fringe  -  by Matt Gurney

http://www.nationalpost.com/todays-paper/return+anti+Israel+fringe/49092...

"...Mr Atamanenko's office has apparently confirmed that he is indeed a supporter of the Canadian Boat To Gaza, though it did so to a Quebec news agency..

This wouldn't be the first time the NDP has had an MP go off the reservation when it comes to Israel.."

NP's Matt Gurney's racist allusion to a standard settler state practice - the imprisonment of the Indigenous landowners - is the perfect indictment of both racist states' apartheid and colonialisms. Let us hope the principled support by NDP MP Atamanenko is not crushed and overruled by the reactionary pro-Zionist NDP leadership.

Uncle John

I like the way that the Anti-Israel is a "fringe" whereas if you actually took a poll of world opinion the Anti-Israel is probably the majority position. I expect there are very few places where the Pro-Israel is a majority.

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

This wouldn't be the first time the NDP has had an MP go off the reservation when it comes to Israel.."

 

Wow. He actually wrote that? Are they circling the wagons in Hebron too?

NDPP

he actually said that: and you can tell him what you think:

mgurney@nationalpost.com

and congratulate NDP MP Alex Atamanenko on his principled stand in support of Gaza. Ditto for NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice who also supports. According to a piece M Spector posted to the Free Gaza thread, Jack Layton, after meeting with the Israeli ambassador, stated the Canadian Boat to Gaza "is not an initiative that is supported by the NDP." It should be. Tell him so.

Atamanenko.A@parl.gc.ca

Alexandre.Boulerice@parl.gc.ca

jack.layton@parl.gc.ca

Stockholm

Of course the Conservative's "more pro-Israel than about 80% of Israelis" fringe is also alive and well. I wonder why no one mentions that.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

The NDP on foreign policy is a full blown supporter of NATO imperialism.  

They are also calling for new measures against Syria.  They are lock step with the Conservatives.

Does anyone know how a municipality can get a factory making uranium tipped bombs?  We need good manufacturing jobs and this seems to be a growth industry.  Is the factory in Ontario that builds armoured cars for NATO approved dictators going to be expanded?  Those are good union jobs. The kind that we can build a caring and loving society on. Is there any way we can build a plant in every province to help our working class get back to work?

Embarassed

 

George Victor

And back in Israel...

2dawall

Rare for me to be on the page as Stockholm but yes that is pretty darn appropriate question. Part of it is that section of the population that lives in Canada but gets to vote in Israeli elections as well and almost always votes for the most extremist of the Zionist parties there too. Yet a bigger question is why there is no large confrontation with the Conservatives' ties to the Christian Zionists. An apt description of the Christian Zionists is that they wish to use Israel to destroy the world; the Tories should be held to account for playing footsie with these folks, folken, volken, etc.

Stockholm wrote:

Of course the Conservative's "more pro-Israel than about 80% of Israelis" fringe is also alive and well. I wonder why no one mentions that.

Unionist

We need political representatives and allies to build solidarity with the Palestinian people. We naturally look to the NDP. That's why this thread was opened and focused on the NDP. To say we should start focusing on Conservative support for Israel is the most transparent and blatant diversion.

Hmm. Let me find a comparison. This ain't easy. Ok, try this: You ask your spouse whether s/he is "cheating" on you. Your spouse responds: "Cheating?? Why don't you complain about Tiger Woods???"

 

2dawall

Yet in order to ask that representatives to take that task of solidarity with Palestinians we would have to expand the range of those who understand the Palestinian plight. I am sorry but the pro-Palestinian solidarity movement is still very small and weak. They are commited groups and individuals but they are marginalized, in large part due to the institutional biases (ie states, corporations, media) but also due to poor organizing by some pro-Palestinian groups. I would never bother to join the one in Winnipeg, for example.

genstrike

Well, are you involved in anything in Winnipeg, or do you just sit back and criticize everyone else on the left for not being good enough for you?  If you have all the secrets, and if everyone in Winnipeg is a terrible organizer except for you, why not join something and show us the light?

2dawall

I am no longer able to attend meetings or make a real commitment due to health issues but even if I could I would probably not. There is a real problem, a real crisis of intelligence on the Left. I understand that you are a very committed, hardworking individual genstrike but you unfortunately do not define either CanPalNet or the rest of what takes place in Winnipeg. Its is just debilitating to attend a meeting just to have your vote cancelled out by a neo-pagan or a NDP speedbumper or to see a real potentional, pivotal moment go down the drain because of some odd sub-culutral trend.

I will give an example and again this is not about who you are. Several years ago about the time of Israel's last (?- sorry it is hard to track) onslaught in Lebanon, there was also an anniversary of the Nakhba. An ad had been purchased in the UPTOWN (Winnipeg's free entertainment weekly); the ad had been purchased/written not only by CanPalNet but by other groups as well (ie Jews for a Just Peace Winnipeg, etc). The ad was so tepid in its criticism and mild in regard to Israel that it seemed almost pointless to have been purchased (that must have been at least $10 000-20 000 given its size).

 At the same time, an event was promoted as a commemoration of the Nakhba and there were posters placed well in advance. The posters said the event would take place on the grounds of the Legislature, that there would be informative displays etc. I did not go myself as I was not in the city at the time; 3 different people whom I know went (to my knowledge they do not know each other or at least not well enough to have recognized the other). Although these three persons have different backgrounds - to a degree - they all came from it unhappy. They said there were no informational displays (at least any info tables) but that there were these very large boards featuring abstract graphics and what appeared to be graffiti tags at the bottom - none of the three could make out what they were to be. Now true only one of the three had English as a first language but still nothing could be determined what they signs or symbol were to represent. There was one banner saying "End the Occupation" but 'of Palestine' was put in as a afterthought along with a small version of the Palestinian flag. Otherwise there a bunch of recently purchased tents and a loud boom box playing Neil Young (!?!). There was nothing there really prominent to confirm any reality about the Occupation and it was actually in Memorial Park across Broadway. Whatever those large cardboard or wood panels were suppose to be they should have been clear in whatever image of idea they were to represent.

Anonymouse

Stockholm wrote:

Of course the Conservative's "more pro-Israel than about 80% of Israelis" fringe is also alive and well. I wonder why no one mentions that.

yup, and it's nice to see an official opposition so strongly opposed to the blockade on Gaza. That is a concrete if pyrrhic improvement.

lagatta

Unionist, Tiger Woods or worse, Dominique Strauss-Kahn...

I'll be writing to my MP, Alexandre Boulerice, to help him stay the course.

I see Independent Jewish Voices/Voix juives indépendantes will be meeting in Montréal soon!

NDPP

Unfortunately, it looks like Alex Boulerice has successfully been muscled by Layton into a retraction of his support.

2dawall

The discussion of Palestine, Israel and the Middle East in general would have to widen and deepen before we can expect any political figures to take any further risks. The type of discipline that has been applied to Libby Davies and Alex Boulerice has not faced any recrimination from within or without the NDP or at least that I have seen (please somone provide evidence to the contrary).

Outside of rabble/babble it is very hard to see or hear any pro-Palestinian words or voices. The infrasture of that sort of dissent does not exist. The Winnipeg library system used to carry the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs but it was removed several years ago (along with Against The Current) and there was only one complaint made to the library.

Most of the websites are designed for a particular audience. We need something that is the web equal to Israel/Palestine for Beginners.

Stockholm

Libby Davies is Deputy Leader and Health Critic and Alexandre Boulerice is a rookie MP and yet given the very high profile post of critic for the Treasury Board. If that is what passes for "discipline" in the NDP - what happens to you when you take positions the leadership agrees with?

2dawall

Layton was only stopped from removing Davies after a huge campaign of e-mails deluging him asking him not to but nothing else happened to him or the party. Mulclair did not face any barrage for his attacks on her (also stepping out of line); Mulclair did not even get anything for those bizarre commets about the US not actually having photos of OBL's corpse.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

It seems Mulcair is on the right side of Layton's vision for the party.

Unionist

lagatta wrote:

Unionist, Tiger Woods or worse, Dominique Strauss-Kahn...

I'll be writing to my MP, Alexandre Boulerice, to help him stay the course.

I wrote him congratulating him on his stand and predicting that he would face much pressure to change it. That was just before his name disappeared from the website. I'll write him again and ask him if he's too busy to acknowledge receipt of my first email. Is that nasty?

Quote:
I see Independent Jewish Voices/Voix juives indépendantes will be meeting in Montréal soon!

Where - when - maybe it's time I got back in touch with my inner Jew...

vaudree

"We think that the unauthorized intentions run severe risks," Layton said Tuesday. "It's not an initiative that is supported by the NDP. We want the blockade to end according to the call by the United Nations."

Israel has shown a willingness to shoot and kill people on flotillas - which would constitute a "severe risk". In fact, rabble has been calling on pressuring the Tories to insist that Israel promise not to harm those on board the flotillas. I don't think that Israel has agreed to such a promise.

genstrike

Unionist wrote:

Quote:
I see Independent Jewish Voices/Voix juives indépendantes will be meeting in Montréal soon!

Where - when - maybe it's time I got back in touch with my inner Jew...

this weekend - http://ijvcanada.org/ijv-annual-general-meeting-agm-2011-registration/

2dawall

Can anyone site a recent action/event performed by a Canadian pro-Palestinian group that was actually directed at reaching ordinary Canadians, outside of the group itself?

genstrike

2dawall wrote:

Can anyone site a recent action/event performed by a Canadian pro-Palestinian group that was actually directed at reaching ordinary Canadians, outside of the group itself?

Israeli Apartheid Week

2dawall

Well you and Brian Latour did a lot of hard, commendable work, but that was directed toward university students and there was not a lot of heavy promotion well in advance. Someone else beyond you two who can tolerate those other certain princes of privilege needs to chip in with you guys beyond update their pictures to the CanPalNet Facebook page. I do see that one lecture was featured on Shaw but it appears the speaker went too long for them (?).

As an aside, some of the promotional materials brought to me afterward had some stuff printed in a tiny font. Given how too many of us are staring at computer screens, nothing should be printed in a font smaller than 12 (I know that seems seriously anal to you but seriously most people now struggle with that).

No, sorry genstrike I really meant something toward the general public and I am asking for all across Canada although it may be the case that nobody from the Ontario groups come here (maybe they ought to come here to help take on the likes of 'you pick').

wage zombie

2dawall wrote:

Can anyone site a recent action/event performed by a Canadian pro-Palestinian group that was actually directed at reaching ordinary Canadians, outside of the group itself?

George Galloway tour.

2dawall

Well at least here that was mostly promoted by Facebook and I do not recall seeing any posters beyond the downtown library and that poster had an Afpak look/quality to it. I know this seems like being difficult but honestly until there is a more national or North American wide cohesive confrontation with the media's presentation of Palestine/Israeli occupation, I cannot see a major change like we saw with South Africa throughout the 80's. Witness how in recent months, The Nation has had exchanges on their allowing FLAME ads; people cancelled their subs but that does not stop the FLAME ads from appearing. We need the pro-Palestinian counter to FLAME, CAMERA but that is not happening. Everyone once in awhile, readers of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs has letters to their editors asking for it to develop that and they respond that its a good idea but nothing beyond that.

Btw, WRMEA was removed from the Winnipeg public library circulation with only one complaint of protest. That type of infrastructure is what is missing.

wage zombie wrote:

2dawall wrote:

Can anyone site a recent action/event performed by a Canadian pro-Palestinian group that was actually directed at reaching ordinary Canadians, outside of the group itself?

George Galloway tour.

genstrike

You asked for an event geared at reaching ordinary Canadians.  I provided you two recent examples.

However, it seems as though your criteria for "event geared at reaching ordinary Canadians" is absurd.  First, you state that events with a university audience don't count (because I guess as a student I'm not an "ordinary Canadian" in your Palinesque classification system).  Then you nitpick on things like the font size, the pictures on a facebook page, poster design, and minor issues with having our events on TV (hey, don't "ordinary Canadians" watch TV?).

1. No movement is perfect.  Okay, so our posters don't always look nice.  Well, sometimes when you operate with volunteer labour on a shoestring budget, you get what you pay for.

2. We're not flush with cash.  Unless they somehow manage to get big sponsorship from somewhere, activist groups generally can't afford to pay for a lot of advertising.  The advertising budget for activist organizing means it is generally limited to "Bill, can you send out an email, Jen, can you make a facebook event, and does anyone want to grab some posters if you have spare time for postering?"

3. Most of your issues fall into the category of either nitpicking, or complaining that the Palestinian solidarity movement doesn't have massive bags of cash and unlimited volunteer hours.  Well, the first is hardly a reason to smack-talk everyone on rabble, and as for the second - yeah, money has never been a strong point on movements for justice.

 

As an aside, I used to edit a newsletter for my local, and my four most common complaints were:  "the font is too big", "the font is too small", "I want a paper copy because I don't like reading it online", and "I don't want a paper copy so I can save trees."

2dawall

Absurd? I can understand someone saying 'unfair' but not 'absurd.' What percentage of Canadians have actually attended university? The U of Winnipeg for a longtime starting in the 90's a policy of banning non-student males from its campus. That is not really a public setting.

If you make the decision to print, fine but seriously it needs to be read. And postering needs to be done weeks in advance not days in advance. If there is not enough volunteer labor, then pull back on the number of events and do those ones better. So many of the events in the past year only had a few days notice - that is self-defeating.

genstrike wrote:

You asked for an event geared at reaching ordinary Canadians.  I provided you two recent examples.

However, it seems as though your criteria for "event geared at reaching ordinary Canadians" is absurd.  First, you state that events with a university audience don't count (because I guess as a student I'm not an "ordinary Canadian" in your Palinesque classification system).  Then you nitpick on things like the font size, the pictures on a facebook page, poster design, and minor issues with having our events on TV (hey, don't "ordinary Canadians" watch TV?).

1. No movement is perfect.  Okay, so our posters don't always look nice.  Well, sometimes when you operate with volunteer labour on a shoestring budget, you get what you pay for.

2. We're not flush with cash.  Unless they somehow manage to get big sponsorship from somewhere, activist groups generally can't afford to pay for a lot of advertising.  The advertising budget for activist organizing means it is generally limited to "Bill, can you send out an email, Jen, can you make a facebook event, and does anyone want to grab some posters if you have spare time for postering?"

3. Most of your issues fall into the category of either nitpicking, or complaining that the Palestinian solidarity movement doesn't have massive bags of cash and unlimited volunteer hours.  Well, the first is hardly a reason to smack-talk everyone on rabble, and as for the second - yeah, money has never been a strong point on movements for justice.

 

As an aside, I used to edit a newsletter for my local, and my four most common complaints were:  "the font is too big", "the font is too small", "I want a paper copy because I don't like reading it online", and "I don't want a paper copy so I can save trees."

2dawall

Uh not actually you gave one. Wagezombie gave the other. uh .. uh

genstrike wrote:

You asked for an event geared at reaching ordinary Canadians.  I provided you two recent examples.

2dawall

Being "anti-Israel" pro-Palestinian will remain 'fringe' until an all-out assault on the invisible editorial blocade of the truth about Israel is undertaken. Right now we have islands of whispered truths emanating from church basements on a Saturday afternoon once and awhile. The pro-Palestinian groups of North America have to pool their resources to create a Palestinian solidarity equal to FLAME or 'Honest Reporting' and then promote the living daylights out of it. Sites such as 'Electronic Intifada' are too in-group (the name and the structure of the site narrowcasts to already convinced grad students - not that this is also probably needed as well).

*****
As an aside, I do not think it is appropriate to have children at events. Given the current psychology of Israeli boosters here in North America, a Baruch Goldstein type of assault from one of their minions is nearly inevitable. It is not just the Israeli state that is lunatic, it is their cheerleading/foundation funder crew as well that has lost their mind.

disenchanted
Krago

2dawall wrote:
As an aside, I do not think it is appropriate to have children at events. Given the current psychology of Israeli boosters here in North America, a Baruch Goldstein type of assault from one of their minions is nearly inevitable. It is not just the Israeli state that is lunatic, it is their cheerleading/foundation funder crew as well that has lost their mind.

 

You think it is 'nearly inevitable' that 'Israeli boosters here in North America' are going to slaughter children at a pro-Palestinian event?

 

Fascinating.

2dawall

No, that they will kill people in attendance including children.

How is that 'fascinating?' That was Baruch Goldstein's mindset and that is where they are heading.

They have had their way for so long, so deeply entrenched that one threat coming apart sets them off unhinged. The events of that past four months in the Middle East are getting many of them very tense; its not just Netanyahu who is getting freaked out.

milo204

at the most recent protests here in winnipeg, people were standing on the corner of broadway and osborne handing out info to cars, there's been a number of film festivals, events on campus, dance party's at local clubs etc...

doesn't that fit the bill for trying reaching out to the public?  Sure more can be done, but it's a an uphill battle.

I'd agree we have a really hard time reaching people in the "mainstream" communities, but not for lack of trying.  I think it probably has more to do with:

*a majority of people don't follow anything remotely political in nature, or have any grasp of things like international law, rights, canada's historical record in regards to FN's or other countries etc.  so there's no basis to get involved/interested in local issues let alone palestinian issues.

*billions of dollars a year poured into propaganda by pro israel groups and the influence of US tv here in canada

then again, look at how public perceptions of the issue have changed in the last ten years.  it's gaining momentum, obviously not fast enough but it's happening.  especially amongst younger canadians.  

2dawall

The issue of Palestine needs greater visibility and that requires something more regular, more overt, more readable, understandable.

Not to quibble too much but that event was at Osborne and River in a construction zone on a Saturday afternoon. Most people who are in the Osborne Village on Friday or Saturday are there to buy boutique shoes or crack at the local hotel. A fundraising social on a Friday or Saturday night is a fine idea but political events of an educational vein such as that one need to be done Sunday through Thursday; Friday and Saturday people are more focused on either the 'party' tonight or shopping/work around the house. There is a reason why most TV becomea a deadzone from Friday night through Saturday and viewership is way, way down especially for news. You might notice that Friday even CNN does repeats of shows from earlier in the week ie Pierce Morgan as do other networks (ie CBS's Late Night w DL, E's Chelsea Lately, etc.). That is why Israel itself does its nastiest stuff on Fridays and Saturdays our time (ie phosphorous bombings in 78 & 82 were done our time Friday, Saturday, their helicopter attacks on Red Crescent ambulances in the early 90's when they were still in Lebanon were done mostly Saturdays). Hence, the last time there was a pro-Israeli rally at the Manitoba Legislative grounds, it was on a Sunday (they got TV coverage both Sunday and Monday).

I notice that Paul Burrows of CanPalNet says on his Z Net blog that he would like to see a return of the Palestinian film festival. Well certainly well intentioned, I do not think that is a good idea. Well some of us more hardcore types could see documentary after documentary of utter brutality and bigotry for three days straight, a lot of others could not stomach it. Many of those documentaries had some gruesome footage (eg a young woman walks toward a camera, a bomb explodes, and what was left was her feet with high-heeled shoes and the rest of her looked like strips of processed dead pig) and watchng Israeli after Israeli express Ku Klux Klan-type sentiments was shocking for some of Winnipeg's more softer types. It would make more sense to have a weekly or monthly documentary series at some consistent location so people have more time to digest these harsh truths that have otherwise been suppressed.

There also has to be more visibility on other ways. When events such as the murder of Rachel Corrie or of Iman al-Hams take place, more should have been done here. To my thinking, we should have seen hoodies or sweatshirts that had their names, date-of-birth & date-of-death, and their portrait on the front with an explanation in large bold print on the back.

These are ideas I am throwing out but it is really about developing a method to something else.

What cannot remain is the status quo because that is why those of who are pro-Palestinian are still at the fringe of North America.

genstrike

2dawall wrote:

There also has to be more visibility on other ways. When events such as the murder of Rachel Corrie or of Iman al-Hams take place, more should have been done here. To my thinking, we should have seen hoodies or sweatshirts that had their names, date-of-birth & date-of-death, and their portrait on the front with an explanation in large bold print on the back.

If Palestinian solidarity activists do that, you'll just complain that we used a serif typeface instead of a sans-serif typeface and therefore it doesn't count and only proves how useless we are.

2dawall

Wow! Look making something too small makes it unreadable - period. This is about the desire to reach people and we should want to do better than we are doing now. Complacency is the hallmark of much of the Left and that is one of the multiple reasons the Left is so marginal. It also does not makes sense to only publicize a few days in advance.

My point was that when Iman al-Hams was murdered by Captain R, there was very little coverage here in North American although it was front page news everywhere else. What little coverage there was, omitted huge amounts, particulary those wire pieces served up by UPI, Rev Moon's newswire service. Again this is about marginalization and thus why anyone, including NDP MP's, can be derided as fringe. You either have an infrastructure to carry the message or you do not.

...

...

 

but sans serif is better.