Canadian MP’s visit Israel on “fact finding mission”, but don’t go to Gaza

Hypocrisy or Cowardice?

John McCallum and a map of Israel Canadian politicians in Israel

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:.

  1. Does it make sense to do a fact-finding mission on any conflict by visiting only one side?
  2. 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.)
  3. What efforts did you make to talk to representatives of Palestinians, (including the PA or Hamas which is still the elected government in Gaza?)
  4. Do you see any contradiction between a “fact-finding” tour, and a “solidarity tour”?
  5. Who paid for your trip to Israel?
  6. What did you learn about the Israeli objectives in this conflict? From whom?
  7. What did you learn about the Palestinian objectives (or why they are continuing to struggle)? From whom?
  8. How much of Israel’s infrastructure would you estimate has been damaged?
  9. 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?
  10. 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:

If you do so, I would like to know if you get an answer.

8 comments

  1. Carolyn Bennett is my MP and I am going to write to her. The one-sided perspective of our leading political parties totally boggles my mind. I hope the open letter to political party leaders makes a difference but what bothers me the most is the craven double-think coming not only from politicians but also from ordinary citizens. Israel has a right to protect itself; Palestine does not. Palestinians are terrorists; Israel murders moe than 200 children but they are not terrorists. Palestinians dig tunnels; Israel occupied their land and built barricades and blockades around them but the tunnels, rockets and bombs are all Hamas;s fault. . Israel is committing war crimes opposed by the UN; no discussion will occur in Canada about the human rights of Palestinian people. Palestinians use children as human shields; Israelis bomb schools, shelters and beaches, and the children have nowhere to hide.
    So my question is, the information is available, it’s all over the internet, what do we do to stop the U.S. and Israel from creating more terrorists so they can drop more bombs so they can develop new arms so they can sell them to Canada?

  2. First of all, housekeeping. You spelled Israel wrong in your blog post above in the domain name. Since this was forwarded to me via email, I clicked on it and got the wrong domain name. I thought the domain name was Palestine Is Real and wasted a lot of time. Also, since it is shared as an email, please provide an email address rather than ask us to comment in the blog. It’s so much faster, than logging into my WordPress account first in order to comment.

    Secondly, I did email the three suggestions above, and I got this.

    “Dear Ms. Roy,

    On behalf of Senator Grant Mitchell, thank you for your email.

    Senator Mitchell has returned from his trip and appreciates being made aware of your views. He is wondering if he can speak with you on the telephone to discuss your comments further? If yes, can you send me your telephone number?

    Thank you again for taking the time to write.

    Sincerely,

    Sarah Gray
    Office of Senator Grant Mitchell”

    1. I hope I get a message from Senator Mitchell as well! I would be happy to speak to him, or to anyone who want on that mission. I hope you get some news from him about what happened there, if you do talk to him. According to the news, there isn’t very much opposition in Israel to the bombing of Gaza. But there is some, and hopefully they heard from critics as well.

  3. Several people have contacted me to say that Senator Mitchell has received their letter and questions and has offered to speak personally on the telephone. I think this is terrific.
    We can be frustrated that he went on a one-sided trip, but I think that does not make him a dishonest person. I encourage people to talk to him on the phone, be polite and try to find out what he thinks about the situation. Unless you really know a lot about the situation, you are better positioned to express your concern than to try to argue with him. My view, in any case.

  4. A propos your interview:

    In 2005, Israel’s Defense Minister asked its Supreme Court to review a ruling outlawing the IDF’s use of human shields:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3154142,00.html

    Ynet News 10.11.05

    Mofaz: IDF to appeal ‘human shield’ ruling

    High Court rules that ‘human shield’ and ‘early warning’ procedures used by IDF to apprehend terrorists are illegal; Mofaz intends to use democratic means to review the issue. According to defense officials, the Israel Defense Forces made use of the ‘human shield’ procedure on 1,200 occasions over the last five years.

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