Libby Davies

Today,  the House of Commons formed a virtual lynch mob demanding  the resignation of NDP MP Libby Davies for saying that the Israeli occupation began in 1948.  She was punked by a phoney blogger who was trying to trap her into saying something unacceptable.  Libby has been an outspoken critic of Israel since she visited Gaza and saw the horrors that Israeli is inflicting on the people there.  In her usual quiet courageous way, Libby is one of the few members of Parliament speaking for Palestinian rights and representing the thousands of Canadians who believe that Israel does not deserve the support of Canada.

It is a matter of debate whether the occupation started in 1948 or 1967.  If you are of the view that the expulsion of the Palestinians from their homes when Israel was founded was unacceptable than the occupation began there.  If you agree with the foundation of state of Israel whatever the costs to the Palestinian people then you think the occupation started in 1967.  Believing that the foundation  of the state of Israel was unjust does not mean that you think the state of Israel should not continue to exist.   I believe that the foundation of Canada was unjust but I don’t call for the dissolution of Canada; although I am starting to consider it. 

I am Jewish and have always opposed Zionism.  It was a debate among Jews.  It is a legitimate debate.  Libby however is not of the view that the state of Israel should not have been founded in its current form.  She made a mistake and that was clear on the video.  Yet she was publicly criticized by her leader Jack Layton, ferociously attacked by her colleague Thomas Mulcair and now under sustained attack in the House.

And for whom are they speaking?  In a recent BBC poll, only 23 percent of Canadians had a positive attitude towards Israel and 52 percent had a negative view.  Libby is speaking for the majority of Canadians on this issue.

Libby is one of the best Members of Parliament.  She is firmly rooted in her community, one of the poorest in the countries.  She stands up for what’s important and in these days of the rightward slide of the NDP, she is usually on the right side of most issues.  She is also a wonderful person and doesn’t deserve this shit.

So why the lynch mob?  There is a campaign against freedom of speech on Israel.  Under McCarthyism, it wasn’t only Communists who got attacked, it was friends, families and associates of Communiists, it was anyone who didn’t think the capitalist system was the cat’s meow.  And it’s the same with Israel.  Anyone who proclaims their solidarity with the people of Palestine, is persona non grata with this government and now it seems with the Opposition as well. 

Please write to [email protected], [email protected]”>Jack Layton and Michael Ignatieff to tell them that you are outraged by their attacks on Libby Davies.  Libby has spent decades speaking up in the House for the issues we all care about.  Now it’s time to speak up for her.

On June 17 a coalition of organizations are holding a press conference to raise their concern that democracy itself is threatened in Canada.  The attack on Libby, the creation of a police state in Toronto in preparation for the G20, the cuts to funding for any group supportive of Israel, the embrace by our government of some of the worst human rights abuser in the world.  All of these are signs of the erosion of our democratic rights. 

Speak the fuck up.  It’s time

Judy Rebick

Judy Rebick

Judy Rebick is one of Canada’s best-known feminists. She was the founding publisher of , wrote our advice column and was co-host of one of our first podcasts called Reel Women....