Unfortunately, there is no alternate viewpoint to Baird’s among Canada’s political leaders…. The sad truth is that as the Conservatives have become more and more unbalanced in their support for extremist Israeli actions, opposition parties, fearing a Zionist reaction, have also been thrown off balance. On this key issue they have become nothing more than parrots, sitting in a cage of their own making, chanting, “Israel has a right to defend itself.” —Jim Manly
Jim Manly, a man of sterling integrity, a retired United Church minister and former federal member of the NDP speaks a painful truth as did the great Toronto star columnist Haroon Siddiqui in Sunday’s Star.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and, to a lesser extent, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair have fallen in line with Stephen Harper’s support of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza.
None questions the Israeli killing and maiming of hundreds of civilians, including women and children.
All echo the formulation that, given the barrage of (ineffective) Hamas rockets, Israel has a right to retaliate (bombing by air, shelling from the sea, mounting a ground invasion, levelling houses, hitting hospitals, mosques and schools run by the United Nations, and disrupting electricity, water and sewage systems).
Manly, 81, is a two-term former NDP Member of Parliament. In 2012 was jailed for nearly a week in Israel after taking part in an international solidarity mission aboard the Estelle, which challenged the Israeli government’s blockade of Gaza. His son Paul frustrated at the Party’s failure to speak strongly about this criticized the party.No criticism allowed.
It has become obvious that the former champion of the oppressed the NDP has been muzzled by leader Tom Mulcair. It has sickened many longtime members .
Politico columnist Andrew Mitrovica pretty well summed up the political correctness in his column of July 20 (”Is Mulcair another Harper with a beard?”)He detailed the shocking elimination of Manly’s talented son Paul as NDP candidate in Nanaimo Ladysmith. The issue ISRAEL. The israel lobby hangs like an incubus even over the NDP.
The following poem flew around the internet
MULCAIR IS OUR LEADER
Mulcair is our leader. We shall not speak; He maketh us to toe the Zionist line; He turneth from the suffering of Gaza and standeth firm for Israel.
Yea, tho’ he tramples on NDP Policy Yea, tho’ the people of Gaza are dragged though the Valley of Death We shall speak no evil, For Mulcair is over us; His caucus and whip, they muzzle us.
Surely Mulcair and Zionism shall follow us All the days of this session And we shall be covered with the shroud of silence forever.
National Director Ann McGrath tried to stamp out this growing brush fire by assuring the faithful that Israel had nothing to do with with Manly’s rejection. Few bought the booswa.
Taken together, the NDP’s decision to bar Manly from the nomination is absurd, cynical and, frankly, heartless — not the image the NDP has carefully cultivated for the past 50 years or more.
On July 15 the Independent Jewish Voices challenged the NDP
We are chagrined that the NDP has yet to speak out against Israel’s bombing of civilians in Gaza. These are war crimes, since it is clear that Israel has used its precision-guided missiles to target families’ homes, hospitals, schools, ambulances, and even a centre for disabled children. The horrific images coming out of Gaza should elicit strong and immediate condemnation from any individual or organization that is concerned about human rights.
Why then, we are wondering, has the NDP failed to condemn these atrocities? Since Israel’s bombing of Gaza began last Tuesday, the NDP has failed to release any formal statement condemning the massacres that the bombing has caused. While we appreciate the NDP’s call — despite coming after a week of Israeli bombings — for a ceasefire, we are deeply disturbed by the NDP’s language in this statement.
It is indeed lamentable to see the lack of courage here. But it is understandable. The “powers and principalities” which St.Paul wrote about, the “mysterium iniquitatis” (the mystery of evil) is evident when institutions, corporations and yes, political parties with noble intentions, seem to lose their bearings and begin to succumb to expediency, popularity, consensus, realpolitik. They are invaded by death. They lose fire and noble intent. The church of course is not exempt here, a point I will make in the future. The principalities seemingly have a life of their own, apparently autonomous from human control. Survival now becomes the raison d’etre and a political party, born of transcendent idealism becomes just another tired institution.
To steal a line from the Book of Proverbs (29:18)
Where there is no vision the party perishes.