The latest victim of Tom Mulcair's political purge of candidates and would-be candidates is Syed Hyder Ali, who had been hoping to run for the NDP nomination in Edmonton-Wetaskiwin. He has been refused the opportunity to do so.
Why? Apparently for daring to state in a Facebook post that Israel has committed "war crimes." This was considered so heinous that his own riding association, including any rivals for the nomination, could not be trusted to bury him for it. The NDP powermeisters in Ottawa wielded the spades.
Ali thus joins desaparecidos Paul Manly, Morgan Wheeldon and Jerry Natanine in an on-going witch-hunt against pro-Palestinian human rights advocates in the NDP. Just as young Justin Trudeau ludicrously described NDP candidate Linda McQuaig's reference to the Alberta tar sands as an "extreme position," so too, it seems, concern for Palestinians is considered "extreme" in the eyes of the NDP High Command.
Trudeau, of course, was demonstrably wrong. McQuaig's mild statement, that to meet emission targets "a lot of the oil may have to stay in the ground," is factually correct. But facts can be impolitic.
In like manner Mulcair and his hatchetpersons are way off the deep end when it comes to Israel. It is a matter of record that "war crimes," as defined in international law, have been, and are continuing to be, committed by the country in question. In fact it's a yawningly trite observation by now, like the oil sands one.
Ali was echoing Amnesty International's 2014-15 Annual Report, but there are many other sources available that underline the notion, well-enshrined in international law, that annexation of occupied territory, through colonization and forcible transfers of populations, are prohibited under the Fourth Geneva Convention and are considered war crimes under Article 8 of the Rome Statute.
The apartheid-like features of Israel's rule over the West Bank might also be mentioned: apartheid is not a war crime, but a graver "crime against humanity." The application of the term to Israel is an old, vexed debate, and I have little to contribute to it here, but this article by the senior editor of Haaretz.com is worthy of note. This one, too.
That this kind of discussion can take place in Israel, but not in Canada, is a pretty sad reflection on the debased state of political discourse in this country. That the allegedly social-democratic NDP has gone the extra mile to squelch any criticism of Israel in its own ranks, however well-founded, is nothing short of a bloody disgrace.
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