March 20, 2017

CANADIAN OPINION SHIFTS FROM PRO-ZIONIST VIEWS, March 1-15, 2017, issue of People's Voice


Despite efforts by the corporate media and the leaders of major political parties in Canada, public opinion tn this country is shifting away from pro-Zionist positions. That seems to be the indication of two recent important developments. 

First, the membership of the Green Party of Canada (GPC) has ratified a resolution which calls for economic pressure and potentially sanctions on Israel for its failure to repect the human rights of Palestinians. The resolution was ratified with over 90% support, according tO Canadians for Justice & Peace in the Middle East. (CJPME).

Although the resolution was passed at a party convention in early December, a newly instituted on-line ratification process gave all members the opportunity to vote on the resolution. This makes the Greens the first party in Parliament to call for sanctions on Israel for its abuses of Palestinian rights. (Others which don't currently have MPs, such as the Communist Party of Canada, are long-time official supporters of the "Boycott, divestment, sanctions" campaign.)

Among other things, the resolution calls for:

- A ban on products coming wholly or partly from illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories

- A renegotiation of the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, to exclude products from the settlements, and to ensure properly that the "Made in Israel" label apply only to those producs made entirely in Israel proper.

-The termination and indefinite suspension of all military and surveillance trade between Israel and Canada.

- The repeal of a 2016 parliamentary motion condemning Canadian individuals and groups promoting BDS.

Although sometimes referred to as a "BDS" resolution, the resolution actually avoids using the specific phrases, "Boycott, divestment, sanctions.: But it does mirror the concerns and objectives of the BDS movement, specifically mentioning, "government sanctions, consumer boycotts, [and] institutional divestment."

In other news, a recent survey reflects growing public criticism of Israeli policies. Of those who expressed an opinion, 46% of respondents said they had a "very negative' or "somewhat negative" view of Israel, while only 28 percent had a "very positive" or "somewhat positive" view. Most (61%) also said the Canadian government is generally more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian (only 16 percent held this opinion.)

The survey found that most agreed that criticism of Israeli government policy is not anti-Semitic. Of those who expressed an opinion, fully 91 percent agreed that criticism of Israel is like criticism of any other country, and is not necessarily anti-Semitic.

This contrasts sharply with Canada's parliamentarians, who frequently suggest that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. Political party leaderships often believe that a strong defence of Palestinian rights would erode support for their parties. But this survey suggests that the opposite might be true, that demanding Israel's respect for Palestinian rights could attract voter support, and that members of the parties in Parliament should be more confident in calling for policy changes.

(The above article is from the March 1-15, 2017, issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading socialist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5L 3J1.)

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