CIJA ATTEMPTS TO PROTECT ISRAEL BY LAUNCHING COUNTER-ATTACK AGAINST NDP’S SINGH

Two weeks ago NDP leader Jagmeet Singh sent out a letter urging the Canadian government to take 13 sensible steps to defend the human rights of Palestinians. It seems to have upset the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs which launched an all out attack on Singh, claiming his support of human rights doesn’t promote “peace”. But without human rights, how can there be peace? Read more.

Last week, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh sent out an email to supporters setting out his party’s thirteen demands regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Singh’s email has upset CIJA, the largest pro-Israel lobby group in Canada. It claims Singh is undermining “peace” and a “two state solution”. Without even trying to respond to any of Singh’s clear demands, CIJA has launched a petition inviting its members to complain directly to Singh for being so “one-sided”. It claimed the UN and Amnesty International reports on which Singh based his email are “biased, one-sided, and widely condemned.” (In fact, they were only condemned by Israel and pro-Israel organizations.)

Here are Singh’s demands which so annoyed CIJA:

New Democrats are asking the Liberal government to: 

  • respond to reports from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Israeli human rights NGOs and the United Nations and accept their recommendations to states 
  • refer the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to the International Criminal Court 
  • increase pressure on the Israeli government to stop its plan to annex Palestinian territory in violation of international law 
  • condemn the construction of illegal settlements, demolitions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, and evictions from East Jerusalem, including Sheikh Jarrah 
  • call on Israel to end forcible displacement of villagers in Masafer Yatta  
  • increase funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which supports Palestinian refugees 
  • condemn Israel’s undemocratic nation-state law 
  • condemn the Israeli government’s attacks on civil society in Israel and Palestine, including the recent designation of six Palestinian human rights groups as “terrorist” 
  • condemn the ongoing blockade of Gaza and increase Canadian humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza  
  • condemn military detention of Palestinian children, and reaffirm support for the Convention on the Rights of the Child  
  • vote for Palestinian human rights at the United Nations 
  • end all trade and economic cooperation with illegal settlements in Israel-Palestine 
  • suspend the bilateral trade of all arms and related materials with the State of Israel until Palestinian rights are upheld 

Singh’s letter was a clear condemnation of Israel’s actions and of the Trudeau government’s acquiescence in Israel’s violation of the human rights of Palestinians.

Demands like these have been made before by individual NDP MPs, including its courageous Foreign Affairs critic Heather MacPherson, but an email from NDP party leader Singh was clearly a step change in the NDP attitude toward the Israel/Palestine issue.

CIJA counterattacks

The NDP, like the Liberal Party, still supports the idea of a 2 state solution to the Israel/Palestine issue. But Singh rightly points to the Liberal government hypocrisy as it has done very little in the face of daily Israel acts which undermine the possibility of ever creating a Palestinian state.

Several of Singh’s demands aim directly at pressuring the Trudeau Liberals to take a stand as Israel continues to make a mockery of the notion of a 2 state solution. Here are four aimed specifically at that issue:

  1. increase pressure on the Israeli government to stop its plan to annex Palestinian territory in violation of international law 
  2. condemn the construction of illegal settlements, demolitions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, and evictions from East Jerusalem, including Sheikh Jarrah 
  3. call on Israel to end forcible displacement of villagers in Masafer Yatta  
  4. condemn the ongoing blockade of Gaza and increase Canadian humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza  

These practical steps should be endorsed by any government or group genuinely trying to save a two state solution.

But why, then would CIJA, which claims to support a two state solution, react so strongly? Why doesn’t CIJA announce it AGREES with Singh’s demands?

Singh’s letter clearly touched a nerve because, while CIJA has claimed for many years to support a 2 state solution, it has never called out Israel on any of the many steps Israel has taken to undermine that possibility. In practice, CIJA acts as a defender of Israel, no matter what. Sadly, Canada has largely acquiesced to CIJA pressure.

While meant as a criticism of Singh, the final line in the CIJA letter is inadvertently very clear: “Singh’s approach….” concludes CIJA, “is asking the Government of Canada to overturn decades of Middle Eastern policy and diplomacy.”

OFIP agrees with Singh. It is time for Canada to drop its duplicitous Middle East policy and begin to forge a new one based on equality, human rights and democracy – for all.


Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.

Want to learn more about us? Go to http://www.ottawaforumip.org

7 comments

  1. Singh’s 13 point demands are reasonable, humane and necessary if peace is to ever be achieved . Attacks on these goals are hypocritical, undemocratic and self serving.
    What should be condemned is Israel’s never ending abuse & violation of Palestinian rights. In what world would so much blatant injustice be allowed?

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Anyone who opposes equality has no standing to speak on moral issues.
      Cija, bnai brith are organizations devoted to supremacy. White supremacy to be frank. Let’s not pretend that zionists or Israel sees all Jews as equal.
      That’s not to single out one group. Racists/bigots exist everywhere
      Christianity, Hindu(tva), Islam.
      But groups such as cija, bnai brith, jnf,nif must have their charitable status revoked. Their activities are not even remotely charitable. Indeed they are contrary to the Canadian charter of rights.

  2. The NDP holding the balance of power in parliament are in a position to effect major change on this Palestinian issue but since they have abdicated their power to the Liberal government by now joining them at the hip ,this is all just words .

  3. Why lie and state that all of Singh’s demands annoyed CIJA – Why be so dishonest? One reason people claim you are an antisemite is because you promote disinformation.

    CIJA wrote:

    Like you, I was outraged when I read this email from Jagmeet Singh outlining the NDP’s new policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The letter begins innocently enough by articulating support for a position all of us – and all political parties – can and should get behind: a peaceful two-state solution.

    However, rather than proposing constructive, informed ideas on how to achieve this laudable objective, Mr. Singh presents ill-informed, fringe positions copied and pasted from the anti-Israel playbook. The NDP apparently now believes that the Palestinians have no agency and no responsibility. This racism of low expectations is absurd.

    Singling out Israel as exclusively responsible for the current impasse is as absurd as it is unhelpful. The Palestinians do have agency and they must be part of the solution. Suggesting otherwise moves us further from peace – to the serious detriment of Israelis and Palestinians alike.

    The only hope for enduring peace is through direct negotiations between the two parties.

    We have reached out to Mr. Singh privately, directly, and unambiguously, highlighting the factual errors in his letter and the baseless and irrational logic that underpins his party’s new position.

    You can do the same.

    1. hello Mr. Sigman,
      Thanks for your contribution. You claim that it was a “lie” to say that CIJA was annoyed by all of Singh’s demands. Maybe i missed something. Which demand did they say they supported?

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