Musings —08.16.2016 01:00 AM—
Dear Green Party leader Elizabeth May:
You seem like a good person. You seem to be honest. You are the kind of thoughtful person we need in public life.
So, you should quit.
Now, that may sound a little contradictory. That (on the one hand) you are good, honest and thoughtful, but that (on the other) you should resign the leadership of the Green Party of Canada. But it isn’t contradictory at all.
Because the problem isn’t you. The problem is the lunatics, bigots and conspiracy theorists who now make up your party. The problem is that they are pulling you down. And they are ensuring that the Green Party will never be anything more than what it presently is.
Which is – without you – nothing.
After your party’s latest move – a suicide note it called a “policy” – you told the Ottawa media you are taking a period of reflection. You told the assembled reporters that you need to decide if you should continue as leader of the Green Party.
Firstly, and most seriously, there is an argument to be made that your party is anti-Semitic. That’s a serious allegation, and we don’t make it lightly. But it’s pretty accurate.
A few days ago, at your biennial convention in Ottawa, your party voted to support the use of divestment, boycott and sanctions – known by its antiseptic acronym, as BDS – against Israelis. BDS is what its name implies – a tool to hammer Israeli citizens with boycotts and divestment and sanctions, and effectively starve them into submission. To punish them at a personal level for the alleged omissions of their government.
The resolution said: “BE IT RESOLVED that the GPC supports the use of divestment, boycott and sanctions (“BDS”) that are targeted to those sectors of Israel’s economy and society which profit from the ongoing occupation of the [occupied territories]…”
Anticipating what would happen next, your fellow party members added this: “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GPC opposes all efforts to prohibit, punish or otherwise deter expressions of support for BDS.”
Sadly, the Green Party’s BDS motion was one of two foreign-policy statements that targeted the Jewish state at your convention. The other one called on the Canada Revenue Agency to revoke the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund. (For planting trees. We are not making this up, as much as we wish we were.)
Anyway. Some facts are in order about BDS – which might more appropriately be described as bully, deceive and smear.
That’s because BDS is, as you are aware, essentially racist. Its leadership, in the main, do not support Israel’s right to exist – or even the idea of Israel. The movement’s founder, Omar Barghouti, has denied that Israelis are a people – or even that they have any collective rights as a people.
As such, he has accused average Israelis of “massacres” and “ethnic cleansing” – things that are the most serious of crimes, as you know, practiced by the likes of the Nazis and ISIS.
Barghouti couches his opposition to Israel’s existence in exquisitely benign terms. But, as the New York Daily News editorialized after publishing one of his many open columns, Barghouti is tremendously “skilled as a propagandist,” and also one who “piles falsehood upon falsehood to present Israel as relentlessly oppressing the Palestinians in violation of human decency, and to hold Israel exclusively responsible for the ills afflicting them.”
And that is the problem, Ms. May. BDS holds only average Israeli to a higher standard – a standard that is not observed by any of the anti-democratic states that surround it. A standard that no other country in the world, in fact, is being asked to observe in the same way.
Another problem is this: the Green Party’s BDS position – and BDS generally – seeks to replace dialogue and debate with punishment.
When implemented, it hurts average Israeli citizens – and the Palestinians who work with them in Israel, because many Palestinians do. The factories in the disputed territories? They overwhelmingly employ Palestinians, as you know.
The main pro-Jewish lobby group in Canada was rightly appalled by your party’s resolutions. While that organization effectively became an extension for the propaganda of the former Conservative government, it got one thing right. It said that BDS “seeks to censor and blacklist Israelis, [and is] fundamentally discriminatory and utterly at odds with Canadian values.” Because it targets average Israelis. Average folks.
Proof of this is found, regrettably, in the words of your most senior people. Your party’s justice critic, for instance, effectively called for Israelis to be punished. Previously, he had called Israelis terrorists (when they aren’t) and expressed affection for Hamas (who are).
This mindset is revealed in that last part of the Green Party’s now-infamous resolution – the part that condemns any Green Party who has the temerity to oppose the BDS resolution. Namely, you.
That, you see, is the main problem with the Green Party’s BDS stunt, Ms. May. Internationally, no one particularly cares a whit what a minuscule Canadian political party – a party with a single, solitary seat in the House of Commons – has to say. You lack the means to defeat governments or change policy in any meaningful way. You don’t matter so much, legislatively.
What matters is this: the Green Party resolution – particularly that last part – is aimed at you, not Israel. Your fellow Greens knew you vehemently opposed the resolution, but they added that last bit to say that they don’t really support you in return. Oppose us, they said, and you are no longer part of us.
That’s the problem with BDS, too. It seeks to win through division and punishment. It seeks to drive average people apart, when they are the ones needed to create a peaceful and just Middle East.
The Green Party doesn’t like the Jewish state, Ms. May. And, now, it’s apparent they don’t like you much, either.
You are a good and decent person. A thoughtful person.
Your party, officially, is not.
Time to leave them to their resentments and their seething hatreds. Time to quit, and join with those who want to bring people together, not drive them apart.