Open Letter to Don Davies, NDP MP for Vancouver Kingsway
We were shocked and disappointed when we saw an ad for you in the regional Zionist paper “Jewish Independent” Dec. 7, 2012 (page 28) where you sent your “Best wishes to all members of the Jewish Community and Happy Chanukah”. You were the only NDP MP to do so, in the company of ads from the pro-Israeli advocacy organization “Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs” (CIJA), the racist “Jewish National Fund”, Liberal MP Joyce Murray, BC Premier Christy Clark, and finally, a full back-page colour ad from Stephen Harper and all his MP cronies in BC.
The so-called Jewish Independent is a right-wing Zionist paper. In the 2008 federal elections, it endorsed and supported the Conservative Party and your opponent Salomon Rayek. Ironically, we celebrated your win then as a victory for democracy over the meddling and influence of the pro-Israel lobby. However, it seems we were mistaken and the Zionist lobby in Canada succeeded in their new policy of not “putting all of one’s eggs in one basket” (to quote the Jewish Independent Editorial “Post Election”, Oct. 24, 2008). This paper has also supported the war on Iraq, supports Israeli ethnic cleansing and war crimes against the Palestinian people, and is a mouthpiece for successive Israeli governments and the Canadian Zionists in general.
Paying for an ad in this Zionist paper is a blatant attempt to cross our global picket line against Israeli Apartheid and shows a callous disregard of the Palestinian call for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions”.
We expect such a hostile act against the Palestinian people to come from right-wing businesses, corporations and parties, but we do NOT expect it from people who claim to be progressive and our allies, and especially not from someone who we know is well aware of the suffering and tragedy of the Palestinian people.
Also, Mr. Davies, you should know better than to imply or claim that Zionists and their papers represent the Jewish community; in fact, such posturing is a major contributor to modern day anti-Semitism. If you really want to reach out for your constituency, and to those progressive Jews who have backed you and your NDP party, then you should advertise in a paper like the Jewish Outlook, the Jewish-Canadian paper that supports progressive causes in Canada and all over the world, including peace and justice in Palestine/Israel.
HEU and BCNU Also Cross the Picket Line
We were also outraged that two trade unions advertised in the same issue of the Jewish Independent: the Hospital Employees’ Union (page 42), and the BC Nurses’ Union (page 60). In fact, this is not the first time the Hospital Employees’ Union has advertised with this Zionist paper, and it is also not the first time that other Canadian unions have advertised in this paper. Some of those unions stopped this practice after we brought it to their attention and we thank them for that. We also call on them now to come out publicly in support of the BDS movement and follow the lead of their sister union, CUPW.
As the Holocaust survivor and human rights advocate, the late Israel Shahak put it: the litmus test for any progressive is where he/she stands on the Palestinian issue.
We expect and demand that progressive unions, organizations and parties and their members support and join our global picket line against Apartheid Israel – and definitely not cross it.
Chairperson, Canada Palestine Association
Host, Voice of Palestine