Hypocrisy or Cowardice?
Former Liberal Cabinet minister John McCallum is in Israel along with 5 other Canadian parliamentarians on a “fact finding mission”. Their activities include visiting an Israeli hospital to sympathize with injured IDF soldiers and attending a Canada-Israel solidarity event. They won’t talk to any Palestinians.
Three Liberals (2 MP’s and a senator) are part of a 6 person delegation in Israel on a two day “fact finding mission” organized by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) according to the Toronto Sun.
CIJA says the trip is designed to give the half-dozen parliamentarians “firsthand knowledge and perspective” on the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Except that they aren’t going to Gaza. They are learning about the situation in Gaza by visiting Israel, talking to Israeli politicians, sympathizing with wounded Israeli soldiers and even attending a Solidarity Night with Israel in Jerusalem.
The six legislators are: Liberal MPs Carolyn Bennett and John McCallum, Conservative MPs Randy Hoback, Ted Opitz and David Sweet and Liberal Sen. Grant Mitchell. (To its credit, the NDP had the integrity to say that it would not participate in what appeared to be a one-sided tour.)
I would encourage people to ask a few questions of these MP’s. For example:.
- Does it make sense to do a fact-finding mission on any conflict by visiting only one side?
- Why didn’t you go to Gaza? (Of course it’s dangerous, but you could ask Israel to stop bombing for a bit. And there are lots of foreign journalists there, including CBC. The UN agency UNRWA would have been happy to show you the extensive destruction to its facilities.)
- What efforts did you make to talk to representatives of Palestinians, (including the PA or Hamas which is still the elected government in Gaza?)
- Do you see any contradiction between a “fact-finding” tour, and a “solidarity tour”?
- Who paid for your trip to Israel?
- What did you learn about the Israeli objectives in this conflict? From whom?
- What did you learn about the Palestinian objectives (or why they are continuing to struggle)? From whom?
- How much of Israel’s infrastructure would you estimate has been damaged?
- You visited injured Israeli soldiers and offering your sympathy and condolences. Did you make any effort to visit injured Palestinian women, children or other civilians or offer them any sympathy?
- After your fact-finding mission, what do you conclude about Israel’s killing of over 1000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, in Gaza?
Anybody interested in asking any questions to the 3 Liberals about the trip could write to:
- John MacCallum, MP at: email@example.com
- Carolyn Bennett, MP at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sen. Grant Mitchell at: email@example.com
If you do so, I would like to know if you get an answer.