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Taking the Fight to the Enemy:

Why Jewish people need to be more politically active

By Ran Ukashi

Most Canadians choose to spend their time watching non-political television programming, making Canada’s CPAC channel less than the preferred favourite of the average viewer.  However, for those who tuned into the station on May 14, 2009, they may have been surprised by what was said by NDP Member of Parliament for Vancouver East, Libby Davies.  She stood up to read out petitions of signatures brought forth by the Women in Solidarity with Palestine,  the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, and the Stanford Hall International Baccalaureate World School, asking Canada to support an investigation of Israel’s alleged attack on a U.N. school and use of white phosphorus in densely populated areas, and to condemn Israel’s “clear violation of international law and war crimes in Gaza.”

Many would be reflexively infuriated and disgusted that such a motion could be read out in the House of Commons, and rightly so, for anyone who has a fair-minded approach to what actually occurred during the Israel-Hamas Conflict earlier this year would be immediately outraged by the lopsided condemnations and wholesale exoneration of any wrongdoing by Hamas terrorists.  With that in mind, however, it is important to acknowledge that an MP is obligated to read out petitions whether or not they agree with what is written.  However, one only need to visit Libby Davies’ website to see that her personal politics are very reflective of, and sympathetic to those who submitted the petitions.

The fact that petitions condemning Israel was brought forward in the House of Commons is not a new phenomenon, nor will this be the last time that Israel is singled out, in particular, for condemnation, while those who have ruthlessly attacked Israel for decades remain unscathed by any condemnation or reprimand from these groups who are purportedly interested in “universal human rights.”  Fortunately, there are many MP’s, across partisan lines, such as the members of the Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Group, Liberal Parliamentarians for Israel, and so forth, who support Israel and realize that Israel must respond to terrorist provocation and attacks upon its citizens without qualification and without hesitation.

A crucial lesson must be learned here—not by the politicians, but by Canadian citizenry.  There is no use in condemning politicians for their personal political beliefs or for reading out petitions by their constituents, as is their duty.  What needs to be learned here is that in order to further the legitimate interests of the pro-Israel community, and the Jewish community, political organization and proactive participation in politics is of utmost importance.  Political apathy is a phenomenon that the pro-Israel and Jewish community cannot afford to tolerate.  

As the dust cleared from the Hamas-Israel confrontation, it became clear that Israel did not in fact use white phosphorous as a weapon in the conflict, and by the U.N.’s own admission it became known that accusations of Israeli attacks on a U.N. school were premature and unfounded.  Israel attacked positions close to the school which were later confirmed to be used as attack positions against Israel.  Despite the fact that these truths are now out in the open, those who are opposed to Israel on ideological or any other grounds will continue to vilify and push for the isolation of Israel.  These individuals and organizations are improving their organizational effectiveness and strengthening their lobbying efforts.  It is up to the Jewish community, and supporters of Israel from all denominations to galvanize in order to combat this growing problem.  

A call to action for Canadians, and Jewish Canadians in particular is vital in order to stem the growth of this problem.  Libby Davies is not the only MP that is hostile to Israel in the House of Commons, but the personal opinions of MP’s should not deter Jewish Canadians from making their voices heard. Ultimately, MP’s are public servants and they do pay attention to your concerns, and take them seriously.  The misconception that MP’s are far removed from the interests of their constituents and do whatever it takes to stay in power is far from reality—MP’s need your votes and are very sensitive to discontent in their ridings.  MP’s will listen to the views of constituents even if they do not necessarily agree with those viewpoints.  As such, it is absolutely vital that Jews around the country make a concerted effort to make their support for Israel and other Jewish causes known to their elected representatives.  As we can see, the enemies of the Jewish state have learned this and are actively taking advantage of their political rights to further their cause.  It is only appropriate, and more importantly, utterly vital, that Jewish groups and other concerned citizens take the opportunity exercise their democratic rights and fight for what is right.  Only by expressing our dissatisfaction with the isolation of Israel and our continued support for the Jewish State will MP’s continue to take the interests of the Jewish community seriously well into the future.


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Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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