Standing up for Social Justice

As previously mentioned, two very contentious resolutions were put forward at the 2016 Green Party of Canada Convention. Even if you were unable to attend, you can watch recordings of The Real News Network’s livestream in a convenient WRGreens YouTube playlist.

For me, the choice was summed up by what Lisa Barrett said in this quotation [found in this video]:

"The Green party supports social justice and human rights, and those should never be compromised. And if they had been when we were boycotting South Afruca, Nelson mandela would have died in jail. It worked, and I think iof we hold string, we will be leaders among Canadian political parties in showing the courage to say, we did it once, we can do it again. Let's stand up or social justice." - Lisa Barrett - GPC Shadow Cabinet international Affairs Critic

During the resolution workshop on Saturday, a proposed amendment to the “Revoking the Charitable Status of the Jewish National Fund Canada (JNF)” resolution that would remove any mention of the JNF, making it generic was put forward, but voted down because it substantively changed the original intent of the amendment. The workshop voted to pass the original resolution and send it on to a plenary vote, where the amendment was reintroduced and pushed through.  The Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions resolution was indeed grounds for spirited debate, both in the workshop and the plenary.
Because both resolutions dealt with Isreal, the chief arguments against them were accusation of antisemitism.  As I understand it, since they were announced there was a strong campaign to stop both resolutions.  The idea that any Canadians should be prevented from even discussing human rights is reprehensible to me, personally.
What it boils down to is that sanctioning a nation that uses its power to commit human rights violations against a captive population is a defense of human rights, not an antisemitic attack.  This is a human rights issue, a sphere in which Canadians used to aspire to lead the world.   Foreign policy does not enter into it.

On Sunday, August 7th, at the 2016 Green Party of Canada 2016 Convention, the Green Party leader of Quebec, Alex Tyrrell reported:

“The Green Party of Canada delegates have just voted to endorse Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli government at the federal convention in Ottawa!

Congratulations to all the party members, who worked hard to advocate for human rights in the face of harsh criticism, intimidation and smear campaigns carried out by the Israel lobby.

There is no excuse, justification or reason to permit the Israeli government to continue their reign of terror against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.”

The National Post article  offers a reasonably balanced view of the issue. (Although the comments below make up or it.)

The way [Green Party president, Ken] Melamed sees it, the fact the issue was being debated at all was a sign of how democratic the Green Party is. Other political parties don’t even touch topics like these, he suggested.

If grassroots within the Green Party of Canada membership want to debate something and bring it into the policy book — no matter how controversial — there’s nothing stopping them.

—”Greens add support for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel to official party policies

Haaretz reports: “Canadian Green Party Votes to Support Boycott of Israel: The resolution was opposed by party leader Elizabeth May, who said the vote was ‘a position that I can’t support.’

Unlike an actual anti-Semitic attack, this resolution is not forever, instead it will last only “until such time as Israel implements a permanent ban on further settlement construction in the OPT, and enters into good faith negotiations.”

BE IT RESOLVED that the GPC supports the use of divestment, boycott and sanctions (“BDS”) that are targeted to those sectors of Israel’s economy and society which profit from the ongoing occupation of the [Occupied Palestinian Territories] OPT;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GPC will support such a form of BDS until such time as Israel implements a permanent ban on further settlement construction in the OPT, and enters into good faith negotiations with representatives of the Palestinian people for the purpose of establishing a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GPC opposes all efforts to prohibit, punish or otherwise deter expressions of support for BDS.

— Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

The article CJPME: GREEN PARTY BDS RESOLUTION SUPPORTS HUMAN RIGHTS makes no secret that Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East supports this outcome.

While Canada does indeed need to clean our own house and really truly address our own truth and reconciliation process, that does not preclude standing up for civil rights elsewhere.

I am proud to be a member of the only major Canadian political party to stand up for social justice in Israel.

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