Jun 15 2010
Probably the best thing to come out of this weird incident with NDP Deputy Leader Libby Davies is the end of an unofficial two-track policy on Israel. With the statement from Thomas Mulcair, the NDP’s other deputy leader, the idea of Israel as an apartheid state is definitively ejected from mainstream political discourse in this country.
Let’s take a quick look at Mulcair’s statement as recorded in the National Post:
“No member of our caucus, whatever other title they have, is allowed to invent their own policy,” said Mr. Mulcair. “We take decisions together, parties formulate policies together, and to say that you’re personally in favour of boycott, divestment and sanctions for the only democracy in the Middle East is, as far as I’m concerned, grossly unacceptable.”
If the NDP caucus truly believes this, then it’s a sea-change for public discussion of foreign policy vis a vis Israel and the Palestinians in this country. The ideology behind boycott and divestment campaigns against Israel are firmly relegated to the land of 9/11 Truthers, Creationists and the more nefarious minds behind the Rhino party.
For political pragmatists like myself, the BDS campaign has always been an extreme phenomenon that never carried any official support from any legitimate political party or their rank and file, or at least shouldn’t have. Yet there’s no question that NDP rank and file were far more likely to have sympathy with the “Israel Apartheid State” view than their Liberal or Conservative party counterparts (and nobody really cares what Bloc members think about this stuff, anyway).
Now, many NDP members, particularly those a little higher up in the food chain, are forced to confront the reality that the BDS ideas they’ve flirted with for years are simply not part of the NDP platform — and really never have been. If NDP supporters want to retain ties to BDS, it will have to do so in a fairly clandestine manner; in the same way that when some Conservatives decide to make a statement about pro-life abortion politics, they do so in a private venue amongst their close colleagues. The days of NDP MPs like Libby Davies coming out overtly in favor of a controversial BDS campaign are now over.
That is to say, those days are over if the NDP really do mean what they’re saying.
Libby Davies Puts Her Foot In It