This is a special edition of a series of opinion columns written by Josh Lieblein for The CJN.
As I’m about to argue in my upcoming postmortem of the (mercifully) soon-to-be-concluded Conservative Party of Canada leadership contest—where Pierre Poilievre is looking at a decisive and commanding victory—consensus and compromise in Canadian politics are speedily becoming quaint and antiquated notions.
This trend is the express will of the majority of active partisans, who have decided that settling is for weaklings, quislings, and suckers. Powerbrokers, mumbling about building bridges and big tents, are experiencing ever-diminishing returns as they try to preserve the natural order of things.
And someone at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs didn’t get the memo.
In response to yet another New Democratic Party emission that puts the blame on Israel for everything that’s going wrong over there, they issued yet another action alert encouraging you to lend your name to some prewritten collection of paragraphs urging leader Jagmeet Singh to reconsider his stance.
The NDP is, of course, not owning this letter as being political ground they are willing to stake an official claim to. Oh no. You must remember that they have entered in some weird arrangement with the governing Liberals whereby they will vote with that party for an indefinite period while berating them for insufficient progressivism.
(Bizarre, I know, but like I said—compromise is turning off more people than it turns on these days!)
Thus, it would be the Liberal Party’s job to “increase pressure on the Israeli government to stop its plan to annex Palestinian territory in violation of international law,” among other things. This can be expected to happen approximately never, because (as the NDP letter takes pains to point out!) the terminally risk-averse Liberals are all about supporting the status quo.
But does this information make you feel safer? Do you feel reassured, now that CIJA has weighed in? Do you think the NDP will have a change of heart and halt their long slide towards making BDS an article of faith for membership in that party? Do you imagine that the NDP will be able to guarantee the safety of their Jewish members and “call out Israel for breaching international law and violating the human rights of the Palestinian people” at the same time?
Of course I understand that everyone involved has to make the good-faith token effort to halt the inevitable. But we’ve had enough turns of this screw to establish that the perception (at least) that the majority of NDP folks regard Israel as the sole aggressor, and they will have a party where that version of reality is reality. Even as the Laith Marouf situation continues to play itself out they continue to tell themselves (or not) that they can keep anti-Zionism from crossing that very, very thin line into outright antisemitism.
But again: I can hardly observe that the CPC has lost all patience with failed attempts at centrism on one hand, and deplore the NDP listening to its heart on Middle East politics on the other.
As a result, I have come around to the idea that CIJA does not need to waste its time (and our money) concern-trolling the NDP for “infantilizing” the Palestinians any more than the NDP itself needs to waste its time worrying about the opinions of people who engage in nasty whataboutism on the issue.
At some point, the NDP will need to abandon the warm safety of this compromise-arrangement they have with the Liberals—and vocally project the will of their members to a voting public.
Having released this letter, they can scarcely expect their people will forgive them if they modulate their tone when the writ is issued.
When that day comes, not so long from now, we might see the same commitment to “human rights” from the NDP. Or we won’t.
Josh Lieblein can be reached at [email protected] for your response to Doorstep Postings.