Libby Davies, NDP leader, is asking all Canadians to denounce the current bloodshed in Gaza but will not speak to the media about her own views on the conflict between Palestine and Israel. While this in keeping with strict rules that the only people allowed to talk to the media are the leader and the party critic, Davies has been somewhat more vocal on social media.
A B.C party activist recently claimed to have been on the receiving end of NDP punishment for alleging that he party leader kept MPs muzzled on Middle Eastern issues and he came under strong criticism from Davies. She said that it doesn’t help when false information is spread, referring to the activist who was blocked from seeking nomination for the Nanaimo-Ladysmith for the 2015 elections.
The NDP has long been divided by the Middle East and part leader, Mulcair, has recently released a statement that was intended to redress the balance towards the Israeli-Gaza conflict. He claimed that the NDP were concerned and horrified at what is happening, saying that too many civilians have already lost their lives. He also said that it was not acceptable for Jihadi militants and Hamas to fire rockets at innocent Israeli civilians. He went on to say that Hamas is a known terrorist organization and that Israel was right to put up a defense against attacks.
However, social media posts by Davies seem to suggest that she doesn’t share his approach. She says that Ottawa should be “upholding international law and human rights” although it isn’t clear whether she was referring to attacks on Israeli citizens, Gazans or both. She says that she is not happy that Canada is criticizing the UN for talking about the loss of innocent life in Gaza saying that the law must be upheld and violence must be ended, no matter how that violence is meted out.
Her reference was to criticism from John Baird, Foreign Affairs minister, of a resolution from the UN Human Rights Council. That resolution authorized an inquiry to take place into abuse in Gaza and Baird says that the council is ignoring terrorist attacks from Hamas. Davies is now asking her followers to sign a petition to end violence on both sides.
In 2010, she caused upset when asked if she thought Israeli occupation of Palestine started in 1948 or 1967 – she chose 1948, seemingly saying that Israeli state creation of that year was, in fact illegitimate. She also says she is the “strongest pro-Palestine” MP and that other MPS were scared of discussing any measures that could be used to protect Israel. She went on to say that if you are seen as being against the occupation of Israel, you are anti-Semitic. She later apologized for her comment regarding 1948, claiming it was in error and she never questioned the right of Israel to exist.
Mulcair claims that he has confidence in Davies, despite the fact that she is a strong left-winger and has no plans for the immediate future to let go of that role. Although there are rumors that she won’t be running in the next election, she claims otherwise, saying that she plans “to hang in there”.