Montreal, February 18th, 2018
To the NDP Establishment and its organizing committee,
The NDP has bailed out on bringing a strong resolution supporting Palestinian human and civic rights to the NDP convention floor. (https://ricochet.media/en/2130/palestine-resolution-narrowly-stopped-from-hitting-ndp-convention-floor). It got lost in a backroom somewhere. I cannot say that I am surprised. Nothing has changed since I was a candidate for the NDP in the 1988 federal election (Laprairie riding). The NDP Establishment was then, and for that matter always has been, decidedly pro-Israel to the entire evacuation of the Palestinian question. My longtime and late Palestinian friend, Rezeq Faraj ran for the NDP in the riding of St-Jean in 1988. (He took 20% of the vote). The only reason he was able to get the nomination was because then National Co-President of the NDP, Michel Agnaieff, backed Rezeq’s candidature to the hilt. He also supported me (the friend of the Palestinian) in my candidature. For the NDP Establishment (individuals like Lorne Nystrom), Rezeq was “a problem for Ottawa.’
In short, the NDP Establishment is in no way different from that of the Liberal Party of Canada or the Conservative Party of Canada or of the U.S. Democratic or Republican parties when it comes to the question of Palestinian rights. Let me tell you this: Israel has put into effect over the years a rigid system of institutionalized segregation known as apartheid. I have studied it; I have been to the West Bank; I have seen it with my own eyes. There is no question of fence-sitting on the question of apartheid. One is against it or openly or tacitly in support of it. Whether or not the NDP is openly or tacitly in support of Israel’s apartheid system is a moot point. Qui tacit consentit.
The fact is, one cannot run in two directions at the same time, yet the NDP appears to believe that this is possible. The NDP’s backroom shenanigans don’t fool anyone, especially not me. If there is a saving grace, it is that there is a clear cleavage between the NDP’s grassroots members and its Establishment as borne out by the last-ditch effort of your party’s Establishment to railroad the resolution on Palestine. As Genevieve Nevin, a member of Independent Jewish Voices and NDP delegate tp the convention put it: “It is clear that the party Establishment did not want this resolution to pass, so it ranked it near the bottom of the list and stacked the re-prioritization room with party operatives, including members of the caucus who voted against it.” Even the weakened amendment, introduced by Helene Laverdière , representing what is more or less the status quo , was slowed down to have the clock run out so it could not be added. No one is fooled.
Your Establishment is on the wrong side of history. When the NDP comes looking for support from this corner come the 2019 election, I will invite the numerous supporters of Palestinian human rights here in Quebec to take stock of your Establishment’s record on the Palestinian question.
There are a number of individuals in the NDP whom I respect for their forthrightness and integrity. None of them are NDP Establishment figures. I am letting you know that this letter to you will be forwarded to all those supporters of Palestinian human rights with whom I am in contact, both locally and overseas. As the Biblical adage goes: as ye sow, so shall ye reap.
Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU)