Green Party Dances With The Devil

September 1st, 2016 | C. Hudson
green party BDS

At the recent Green Party policy convention, the membership voted to make support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel the official party policy. Much has been said about this in the media and by various political talking-heads, but as an ordinary Canadian who strongly supports the state of Israel and is passionately opposed to BDS, I want to put my thoughts on record as well.

I firmly believe the BDS movement is nothing more than a vehicle for anti-Semitism. It seeks to censor and blacklist innocent Israelis without cause. It sides with the terrorists and regressive Islamist fanatics who deny Israel’s right to exist. It is blatantly discriminatory. It is not an appropriate vehicle to achieve a two-state solution with Palestine as its proponents purport; instead it is a direct attack on the only secular liberal democracy in the Middle East, an island of freedom in a sea of tyranny.

Canada’s Greens are on the wrong side of history on this issue. In February, Parliament voted strongly in favour of a motion to condemn any groups or individuals that support BDS. The motion was introduced by the Official Opposition Conservatives but received significant support from the Trudeau Liberal government. At a time when the Green Party is on the cusp of a potential breakthrough under a reformed electoral system, it should be transitioning into a practical political party. Instead, the far-left membership commandeered the ship and voted for a policy that has sent moderate members packing and threatens to undo any progress made under Elizabeth May’s leadership. Even Ms. May herself has said she doesn’t want to lead a party that supports BDS and has thought about reconsidering her own political future as a result. You know something’s wrong when the party leader can’t even stomach this policy and local riding associations across the country are shutting down.

There has also been an outcry from Jewish groups in our country. B'nai Brith said that by passing the resolution, Greens have embraced the position of terror apologists rather than side with the "democratic and environmentally friendly state of Israel”, and let’s not forget the Jewish National Fund which many Greens wanted to defund, despite the fact that it’s a charity responsible for planting trees in Israel. If Greens can’t even get behind an organization that plants trees, then all hope for the party is lost. For their part, the party brass (some of whom I know and are great people of character) are trying to do damage control and claiming the passage of this misguided resolution is a sign of just how democratic the Green Party is in comparison to their larger counterparts. Other political parties wouldn’t dare touch such controversial issues they say. I believe that’s true but maybe there’s a bloody good reason why.
Yes, the Green Party should be proud of their choice to be a party of and for the members, a party governed by the grassroots and not from the top down. That is admirable and in a time when party leaders centralize power, stifle dissent and backroom machinations interfere with local nomination contests (myself having experienced the latter personally), it is something that other parties should aspire to emulate. But some things are just not up for debate and there are certain issues that should never be on the table. When it comes to anything considered anti-Israel that is one of those issues for me.

Israel has always been very special to me. My love for Israel and the Jewish people goes back to my high school days when an elderly Holocaust survivor came to our school to give a presentation on that horrible episode in human history. His recounting of the horrors he endured, the pictures he showed us and his visible emotional torment as he remembered it all over again brought tears to my eyes. I still have the hand-outs given to all students present and I had the privilege of meeting him afterward. That experience moved me deeply and made me passionate about human rights, Israel and the Jewish people. In university I spent a good amount of my time in student government acting as the lone contrarian to the whims of the trendy far-left establishment. Universities are bastions of extreme left-wing ideology and mine had its fair share of acolytes of Marx (most from privileged backgrounds ironically). In particular, I opposed their gleeful support for the grotesquely-named Anti-Israeli Apartheid Week which was the latest anti-Israel fad sweeping college campuses. I also once filibustered a motion by giving a speech on how the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Zionist, which as you can image was horrifying to most of the modern-day Marxists seated around the table.

My decision to seek the NDP nomination in the riding of West Nova in the last federal election was one that I made only after I had watched closely to see what position the party took on Israel. It was something I was concerned about given the party’s past, but fortunately Thomas Mulcair showed unwavering support for Israel and silenced the anti-Semitic voices of the party’s extreme far-left. Under leaders prior to the late Jack Layton and his move to the moderate middle – a noble but ill-fated shift to the pragmatic centrism in the name of finally forming government that was completed by Mr. Mulcair but foolishly abandoned by the party rank-and-file when they traded it in for the impractical and economically-toxic Leap Manifesto these voices ran rampant within the party. I liked Mr. Mulcair’s competence, agreed with many domestic policy planks of the party’s election platform and found the Harper government had grown stale and reeked of the very arrogance and corruption that compelled me to first join the Conservative Party in the aftermath of the Liberal sponsorship scandal at age fourteen. I was ready for a change, as was the country, but I would only seek to carry the NDP banner if I felt assured the party had turned the page on Israel. At the time, it had.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the Greens. Instead, they just wrote a whole new book and it’s a frightening read. By playing to the worst elements of the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel extremism, the Green Party is dancing with the devil. This may be grassroots democracy, but if this anti-Semitic witch hunt of a policy was endorsed by 50% of party members, that’s a serious problem. This is dangerous and in not stopping it before it reached the convention floor, the party leadership has alienated many members who are now cancelling their memberships and, beyond that, they risk giving a home to radicals whose hateful views don’t belong in Canadian politics. Ms. May said her party doesn’t “make decisions based on what we think is going to make it more popular.” That’s admirable, but it should make decisions based on what’s right. That’s what the reasonable majority of Canadians and our great ally in the Middle East expect.