Canada’s NDP is one of 153 social democratic parties around the world who are members of the “Socialist International” (or SI). At its semi-annual meeting at the United Nations in Geneva on July 1 -2, 2016, the SI council expressed for the first time support for the growing international movement to boycott Israel. Read more…
The labour, social democratic and socialist parties which are members of the Socialist International are a major political force in many democracies around the world. Currently 52 member parties of the international are in government. Many others, like Canada’s NDP, are not in government but represent significant opposition parties.
The SI’s Council, at its July 2016 meeting held in Geneva, dealt with a number of international issues including the ceasefire agreement in Colombia, the peace process in Cyprus, calling for a peaceful and lasting solution in Western Sahara and responding to threats to peace and security in Libya and Niger.
It also passed a resolution on Palestine. This in itself is not new. There have been many resolutions from previous councils on the Israel/Palestine issue. But all of them, including the one passed in 2015, have limited themselves to supporting a “peace process aimed at ending the occupation” and supporting a “2 state solution”.
A step further: “recognizing” BDS
In what might be a significant development, however, this year’s declaration went a step further, by saying it “recognises the nonviolent BDS movement”. This would seem to be a serious rebuff to those who are trying to encourage legislatures around the world (including in Canada) to oppose the BDS movement by characterizing it as anti-Semitic.
“The Council supports international solidarity with Palestine. The SI recognises the nonviolent BDS movement puts pressure on the Israeli occupation. The SI demands an end to occupation, the system of segregation and all forms of discrimination against all Palestinians including those living in the Negev and affirms the right of the people for full equality and to return to their destroyed communities, for the sake of both peoples and their future.”
– SI Council resolution, July 2016
Council resolutions are not binding on its member parties, so the Canadian NDP is under no obligation to adopt the same position. (In fact, the list of participants at the Geneva meeting does not show a Canadian delegate.) But the decision would appear to indicate that BDS is gaining ground among social democratic parties around the world.