Harper and Baird are so extreme on the Israel/Palestine question that it is relatively easy to get decent people angry or dismissive of them.
However, the uncomfortable reality is that there is an all-party consensus in Canada to support Israel, almost unconditionally.
By “all Party consensus”, I mean an official consensus shared by the Conservatives, the NDP, the Liberals and the Green Party as articulated by the leaders of those parties.
Harpers views are very well known as are those of Mulcair and even Elizabeth May.
Some had hoped that Justin Trudeau might be more nuanced. But it does not appear to be the case. While he has been more careful in his public statements, behind the scenes he appears to be assuring the Israel lobby that he supports them, and Israel, just as much as Harper.
Here is a remarkable video, to be found on CIJA’s website in which Trudeau assures them that he has “Israel’s back”, going on to describe the shared values that Canada and Israel have in common. He also assures the viewers that there is an “all party consensus” in Canada to defend Israel.
But what are we going to do about it?
While there does appear to be an “all party consensus” at the leaders level, I am not sure it exists below the leaders level in ANY of the parties. I know there are divisions in the respective caucuses and also in the base. (A former prime conservative prime minister told me over a year ago that not all the Conservative caucus members are on the same page as Harper on this issue.)
So the challenge for us is… what are we doing to do about this all party consensus?
Should we focus on Harper, the easiest target? Is it productive to attack Mulcair or Trudeau or May? If there are other caucus members who don’t support Israel unconditionally, how can we find them, and can we work with them. Or is it a waste of time to deal with MP’s and should we instead work at the constitutency level leading up to the next federal election??
Who has a strategy?
One thing is clear – we can’t just ‘rage’ about Harper. We have to recognize the situation and then figure out what we can do and how to go about it.
Comments, suggestions most welcome.
Ignore the politicians for now. Continue to work with civil society. As usual, the politicians will follow, not lead.
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