No, the NDP doesn’t have a ‘pathological preoccupation’ with Israel

Delegates to the federal NDP convention were unfairly and inaccurately criticized by a Canadian lobby group yesterday.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs swiftly condemned delegates for overwhelmingly approving resolution 04-10-20 (Justice and Peace in Israel-Palestine).

According to the CIJA, the adoption of the resolution betrayed the NDP’s “toxic obsession” and “pathological preoccupation” with Israel.

“This unbalanced and obsessive concern with Israel renders the NDP irrelevant on this subject and interferes with the party’s ability to address issues that should be core to the progressive agenda,” it said in a news release.

Even a cursory inspection reveals the CIJA’s claims are misleading at best and baseless at worst.

“It is staggering that, given the state of the world and the consequential issues before us, including the pandemic, the NDP placed this resolution and one other targeting the Jewish community on the list of top Foreign Policy concerns,” the group said.

But the resolution did not “target” the “Jewish community.” It focused on violations of international law and human rights, and on impediments to peace in the Middle East.

The resolution called for an end to the “Israeli occupation of Palestinian land” and “violence targeting civilians.”

It also demanded the cessation of “trade and economic cooperation with illegal settlements” and the suspension of “the bilateral trade of all arms and related materials with the State of Israel until Palestinian rights are upheld.”

How any of these measures “target” the Jewish community – in Israel, or in Canada – is impossible to grasp.

The CIJA’s accusation that the NDP showed a “toxic obsession” with Israel, or that it did so to the detriment of other international concerns, is also inaccurate.

The 20 prioritized resolutions on “Redefining Canada’s place in the world” included measures pertaining to the Francophonie, China, Venezuela, Hong Kong and Cuba. Others looked at migrant workers, immigration status, and children of undocumented immigrants.

Although delegates did rank the Israel-Palestine resolution second out of 20 resolutions in the category, their top pick was a call for international solidarity with Indian farmers.

Simply put, the CIJA’s “pathological preoccupation” claim is negated by the truly internationalist flavour of the NDP resolutions.

And while its attention-grabbing accusations did manage to get the CIJA into a Canadian Press story about the convention, the organization’s vitriol was counterbalanced by references to the positions of Independent Jewish Voices Canada and the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute.

All things considered, the CIJA may have an “unbalanced and obsessive concern” with progressive activists and politicians who support peace, human rights, and the rule of law.