Home Opinions Ideas From Yoni’s Desk: The NDP rejects BDS. But what about the Greens?

From Yoni’s Desk: The NDP rejects BDS. But what about the Greens?

Elizabeth May
Federal Green party Leader Elizabeth May

When the Ontario legislature voted last December on a motion rejecting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, the results were near-unanimous, with 49 votes in favour and only five votes in dissent, all cast by members of the provincial New Democratic Party. But while the vote, marking Ontario as the first province to rebuff BDS, was seen as a major win for the Jewish community, questions remained about where the Ontario NDP stood on the matter.

Last week, we got a more definitive answer when the provincial New Democrats became the latest Canadian political party to take a stand against BDS. As Ron Csillag reports this week, the riding association in Niagara Centre put forward a resolution at the NDP’s recent policy conference calling on the provincial party to “actively campaign for the right of return for all refugees, an end to Israeli settlements and Israel occupation of Palestinian lands, a halt to the armed aggression, the bulldozing of homes, the destruction of olive groves and farms, the assassination of political leaders and activists by the Zionist state, and demand the removal of the apartheid wall across the West Bank.”

But the resolution never even made it to the floor of the conference, a strong signal that the party had little interest in debating the issue.

The Ontario NDP vote comes on the heels of last year’s House of Commons motion condemning BDS, which was brought forward by the opposition Conservatives, backed by the governing Liberals and passed by a margin of 229-51.

And yet, as Canada’s major political parties publicly reject BDS, and with it anyone who calls Israel an apartheid state, one party continues to stand in stark contrast. That would be the Green Party of Canada.

Green Party of Canada logo. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Last summer, the Greens came under fire for passing a policy resolution supporting “Palestinian self-determination and the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions.” As a result, Elizabeth May said she was seriously considering stepping down as party leader.

But that claim was called into question just months later when the party posted an updated BDS policy supporting “only non-violent responses to violence and oppression, including economic measures such as government sanctions, consumer boycotts, institutional divestment, economic sanctions and arms embargoes,” and calling for a ban on products made “wholly or partly within or by illegal Israeli settlements, or by Israeli businesses directly benefiting from the illegal occupation.” May was one of its sponsors.


In fairness, May and the Greens aren’t the only Canadian politicians who have failed to publicly dispute BDS. After all, the Conservatives’ anti-BDS House motion, which the Greens opposed, was also dismissed by some NDP and Liberal MPs, many of whom argued the resolution would stifle free speech.

Even so, the Greens are the only ones who have shown any consistent support for BDS. And that makes it hard not to wonder why May and her party still fail to comprehend what Canada’s other political parties are increasingly showing they understand implicitly – that BDS is patently unfair, and that those who demonize the Jewish state have less and less of a voice in Canadian politics.

  • Vince Fiorito

    As a Green Party delegate, I felt compelled by my conscience to vote in support of freedom and justice. My feelings are not based on hating anyone, but on decades of reports from human rights groups like Amnesty International, B’tselem, Human Rights Watch and others documenting horrific oppression and injustice without a foreseeable end. I don’t support either side’s belligerents. I am on the side of everyone who wants to live in peace. Read our policy and you will see it’s designed to punish only those who benefit from oppression and injustice. Peace be with you, Yoni Goldstein.

  • Ilananaimo

    As a member of the Green Party of Canada, who is Jewish, was born and raised in Israel, and served in the Israeli army for 3 1/2 years, I voted in favour of the new resolution in Calgary in December, where I also spoke in support of the resolution.
    This resolution is not anti semitic, nor anti Israel! And it represents a position that is held by other Jews and Israelis (granted not by a majority of either group).
    I go to Israel to visit my family almost every year (was there for three weeks this past April). I have family members and friends in Israel who are involved in protests against the extreme right wing Netanyahu government, and against the occupation.
    Sadly I believe that the occupation and the Netanyahu government are the biggest threat to Israel’s future as a democratic state.
    I also believe that those in Canada who work to stifle debate and political action against the occupation and the settlements are feeding anti semitism and the widely held and very dangerous belief that Jews hold a disproportionate level of control over the political climate in Canada.

  • Vince Fiorito

    Freedom for everyone who wants to live in peace. Justice for all victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    • TerrorIsEvil

      Well, start by defending the real targets of Islamic aggression, conquest, war and terrorism and quit misidentifying and fantasizing over who are not . Start by shaming the perpetrators of crimes against their own people. crimes against humanity and crimes against their own women and neighbors – the Islamic terrorists and their ridiculous left-wing supporters who seem to have some kind of Lawrence of Arabia love affair complex with totalitarianism and violence .

  • Vince Fiorito

    I judge individuals by their actions, not groups of people by their religion.

    I recommend you check out this Israeli human rights group.

  • Vince Fiorito

    Israeli forces unlawfully killed Palestinian civilians, including children, in both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), and detained thousands of Palestinians from the OPT who opposed Israel’s continuing military occupation, holding hundreds in administrative detention. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained rife and was committed with impunity. The authorities continued to promote illegal settlements in the West Bank, including by attempting to retroactively “legalize” settlements built on private Palestinian land, and severely restricted Palestinians’ freedom of movement, closing some areas after attacks by Palestinians on Israelis. Israeli forces continued to blockade the Gaza Strip, subjecting its population of 1.9 million to collective punishment, and to demolish homes of Palestinians in the West Bank and of Bedouin villagers in Israel’s Negev/Naqab region, forcibly evicting residents. The authorities imprisoned conscientious objectors to military service and detained and deported thousands of asylum-seekers from Africa.

  • Vince Fiorito

    The path to peace starts with admitting the truth. I support Amnesty for everyone who tells the truth about what they did, no matter how awful or cruel. Then comes reconciliation and justice for those who refuse to admit the truth. Peace will come after the oppressed know freedom and justice,

  • Dimitri Lascaris

    You are grossly mischaracterizing my argument. I never called to “give away Israel to the Arab Islamists”. This is a figment of your imagination. Moreover, a great many Palestinians are not “Islamists.” A very large proportion of Palestinians are either Christians, secular or moderately Muslim. Finally, if your point is that Palestinians are ruled by religious fanatics, who do you think rules Israel? Those who say (as many of Israel’s politicians do) that ‘God promised us this land’ and therefore we Israelis have the right to forcibly dispossess Palestinians of their homes are, by any rational measure, religious fanatics.

    • TerrorIsEvil

      It is hard to respond to a person who sees Israel’s leaders
      as morally equivalent to Islamic terrorists who run Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah, etc. That puts you among the very radical left-wing fringe of the spectrum.

      That makes you an anti-Semite in my view because your objective is to tar and demonize Israel, her people and government as the fringe when, in fact, every Israeli government has had to defend itself and survive in the same way on a small strip of land bombarded by many Islamic nations out to crush the Jewish state because it is Jewish and because Islam
      cannot accept anything other than Muslims unless they are dhimmis and unless Islam is the ruling force.

      The Islamists cannot even accept other people and tribes
      within Islam as is evident in the Shia-Sunni genocide taking place today (killing hundreds of thousands of Muslims and minorities); a genocide which you seem blind to. Israel has found ways to survive and not be victimized which pisses you off, right? Yes, it has to be militaristic but that what it takes in
      a brutal neighborhood. Israel has also been both smart and dumb – smart in that it has developed the most humanitarian ways to deal with the wars (still raging) against it and dumb for the same reason – her enemies sometimes do not take it seriously and do not want to end the conflict because Israel is too western in its approach to the war and too based on the rule of law which its enemies do not follow – they follow brutal sharia law.

      Also, if you think that the Middle East is a multicultural melting pot with many people and religions, you need to do a reality check. Minorities have no part (increasingly less in the 21st century) in the Islamic Middle East. Women do not even have a significant role and are abused – seen and used as property. Polygamy and slavery still take part in some areas and I know because I have been there as a teacher – I respect and
      admire the people but do not respect their politics and Islamic religion which is filled and founded on with hate, antisemitism and violence.

      Why do you not obsess over the Greeks, the Irish, the
      French, the Dutch, the Swedes, the Canadians? Why not leave your hate out of Canadian politics? What about the reserves in Canada, the no-go zones in Europe, and the terrorism striking the Middle Eastern continent which people have been told by media is of no importance or significance?

      What you are trying to do is find a Canadian Political Party
      (or two) to make into the base of Israel hatred. There is a lot of money and support for your efforts from Middle Eastern sources, George Soros foundations and other places. It is probably very lucrative for you and your friends to try and hijack the Greens or the NDP, right?

    • TerrorIsEvil

      The Arabs got most of the British Mandate when Jordan was stripped away from the mandate and given to the Arabs.

      It is up to the Arabs to recognize that the Jordanian King and the Arab countries must give citizenship to their own refugees whom they are responsible for after rejecting the partition long before 1948 when they were carrying out pogroms against the Jews – a precursor to modern antisemitic terrorism.

      Then the Arabs went to war against the Jews. They are officially still at war with the Jews. Why would Israel give more of their own land (as they made the mistake of doing in Gaza) to anyone, especially to people who want them dead (mostly Islamists with a few minorities mixed in but in that situation Muslim rule always wins out – as it has in the 56 countries where Muslims now are in the majority – they evict or kill to gain that majority).

      Conquest to the Muslims is a step-wise process where they take, take, take until their enemy can no longer survive and then they take it all. They always have useful idiots helping them in this process – today they have you in Canada giving them a helping hand.

  • Dimitri Lascaris

    You are inventing arguments that I did not make and would never make. I condemn terrorism unequivocally. In addition, I wrote that the settlements – not Israel itself – violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. Finally, I believe in a complete separation of religion and state in all countries. This is one of the many reasons that I have repeatedly condemned the brutal autocracy of Saudi Arabia – a regime to which Canada and other Western governments provide enormous military, economic and politic support. In fact, the same Conservative and Liberal politicians who support Israel without qualification – for example, Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau – support the sale of weapons to the Saudis, one of the world’s worst violators of human rights.

    • TerrorIsEvil

      The Green Party ought to stick to matters like inventing new reasons why mankind should be blamed and then taxed to death for global warming or global cooling or climate change (whatever label the weather forecast of the day will support).

      Inventing reasons why Jews should be kicked out of their 3500-year home with propaganda is none of your business and the Green Party can do what Israel does with respect to condemning other countries and allies – it does not interfere and it does not make problems for its allies.

      Abbas recently showed Trump some maps dating back to the 1930’s to make his case that Arabs have lost land. However, back then there were no “Palestinian” people and the land was occupied and ruled over by Turks. When the partition came about, the Arabs rejected every version of the plan and went to war against the Jews. They wanted it all and they got most of it because Jordan was taken away from the mandate and given to the Arabs – Jordan is the “Palestinian” state.

  • Jordan Thornton

    Nobody’s ‘demonizing’ the so-called ‘Jewish state’ here. Just responding to the most blatant, longest-running injustice of our time, one which anyone interested in peace and human rights has a duty to speak out and stand against. Demonization is what apologists for the far-right Israeli government – perhaps the most radical, racist, rejectionist in the state’s brief history – and its brutal, criminal policies must resort to, since they know they cannot honestly defend these things, or refute the reasoning of the steadily-growing opposition to them.

    The Israeli government has made a conscious choice to perpetuate a military, political, and economic campaign to deny the Palestinians their right to self determination and steal their land and resources, in brazen defiance of the UNSC and systemic violation of the very laws intended to prevent such a situation.
    History has proven that belligerent, ideologically-driven governments like this will not listen to reason, and measures like those utilized by BDS have helped to compel change. The world has often responded to those who challenge the world and the Rule of Law using such measures. And then some.

    Interesting that none of those speaking on the rejection of BDS has ever given a convincing explanation, offering only vague, often contradictory statements and repeating Israeli government/lobbyist Talking Points. Such actions, taken to prevent a rogue foreign regime from the consequences of its crimes, in exchange for political support, to stave off attacks, and often campaign contributions, smack of corruption.

    • TerrorIsEvil

      Israel is a miracle of the modern age. People like you who want to bring it down and give it away are expressing their antisemitism through lies, exaggerations and wishing that Israel did not exist. To understand Israel’s legitimacy is easy – just read the mandates and the agreements made by the powers of the day back in the 20th century. To accept Israel requires you to drop your leftism, your ingrained hate and your wish for Israel to be annihilated by the same forces currently rampaging, killing, and destroying the Middle east today. If you lives there and if you actually had the knowledge of the history and politics of the region, you might be singing a different tune. They do not have the same luxury as you and I to spew garbage in the safety and security of Canada, thousands of kilometers away from the reality of Islamic conquest (though it is being imported at a rapid rate in Trudeau’s Canada).

      • Jordan Thornton

        In other words, you have no viable counterpoint to offer. But thanks for reinforcing my point for me.

        • TerrorIsEvil

          Have you read the mandate? Whenever I ask that question I get blank stares as the Israel destroyers do not like to read or look at anything concrete that gives specifics as to why the Jewish people own their own country in the same spot of their ancient homeland where they have resided for 3500 years.

          One of the great scholars (not Jewish BTW) is Canadian Dr. Jacques Gauthier, “an expert in the field of international law, which has done during 20 years a research regarding the question who owns Jerusalem?”

          If you have the time, please watch this:


          • Jordan Thornton

            Zionism is not synonymous with ‘the Jewish people’, and none of that addresses what I said above, or justifies Israel’s ongoing defiance of the UN and systemic violation of the very laws intended to prevent such an injustice.

          • TerrorIsEvil

            So you are saying that the one and only Jewish state is not connected to Judaism?

            Are you also saying that people who recognize Israel as an historical, biblical and legally mandated state are wrong?

            the Jewish state that is the central feature of the bible. The only people who believe that there is no connection between the Land of Israel and Jews are people who want to sacrifice Israel to terrorists because they hate Jews – you’re one of them.

            How does your hatred help anyone, including Arabs, who have plenty of land and resources and are being held back by their own beliefs in conquest, antisemitism, anti-Christianity, and are presently at war with themselves too? That internal war inside Islam is being ignored by the people pretending to be against war. It is one of those inconvenient truths that leftists are blind to…to their own peril.

          • TerrorIsEvil

            People who tell Jews that Zionism and Judaism are different and who
            want to separate Jews from their home, force them to leave Israel, would
            be the first ones to tell Jews to leave America, Europe or Canada were Islamsists coming after them in Israel (with war, atomic bombs and
            terrorism)to create another Holocaust in Israel.

            The leftists who so eagerly embrace Muslims in the EU and America when
            other Muslims chase them out or slaughter their own in Syria, Iraq,
            Libya and many other places, would do all they can to block Jews from
            living in their own land or moving to other lands.

            Leftists never question their own ownership of land in places where they are
            recent historical newcomers without any indigenous claims.

  • Jordan Thornton

    This was not seen as a victory for the Jewish community, which is growing increasingly critical of Israeli policy. Only for the Israeli government, far-right, and their representatives in Canada. Since these organizations seek the perpetuation of a criminal injustice at the root of the conflict that poses the only real threat to Israelis as well as Palestinians, their work is arguably anti-Israel as well as anti-Palestinian, anti-Rule of Law, and anti-peace. And the Greens only “came under fire” from the same.

  • TerrorIsEvil

    According to you, how much land does Israel have to donate to establish peace with Arabs? Will any hudna last if they do start giving away land or will it be a step-wise process of cleansing the land of Jewish people?

    Does it go according to the Mandate in which case Jordan will have to be re-negotiated as part of the land available for re0distribution?

    Does it go according to how much the Arabs want because as we know they want it all – if 22 regional Islamic states and several terror entities are not enough land for the Arab world, then how do you figure tiny Israel in its entirety tossed in will satisfy them?…and why do you want to satisfy the Islamic world and appease them in the first place? What have they done for you to enjoy such a great amount of help via your propaganda and efforts to make the Greens so Israel-denying and Israel-harming?

    Does it go according to Israel’s security needs which I know you do not care about in all your talk of “justice” and “fairness”? If so, then Israel must have the high ground because it is living in a sea of enemies ready at any moment to spring with new war and terrorism?

    Or does it go by ancient biblical descriptions which means a greater Israel than envisioned by the Mandate?

    Who has the right to give away or modify the Land of Israel? Many will tell you that nobody but G-d can decide.

  • Jordan Thornton

    It is those trying to defend and perpetuate the criminal injustice at the root of the conflict that poses the only real threat to Israelis as well as Palestinians that are arguably anti-Israel. And Israel’s far-right, through its lobbyists, certainly does meddle in our political affairs to the same end.

    • TerrorIsEvil

      If you consider “criminal injustice” to be the existence of Israel and your anxiety over the lack of another new terror state in its place, then that is a non-starter because you are demanding another Holocaust as a precursor to an Islamic “peace” or takeover without Jews in Israel (a re-established country the Saudi king started out recognizing but that quickly ended after they began planning to erase Israel).

      Recall, Obama tried to meddle in Israel’s election and now they are in high gear trying to oust Trump…the left are the meddlers and anything that goes against their politics is met with propaganda, violence, and through their leftist media parties such as the NYT.

      You can have your world where Islamic rules prevail – go live in any of the 56 Islamic countries and start a new life. Warning: Always have the suitcases packed and be ready to escape.