Friday, January 9, 2009

Jack Layton, where are you?

I hope everyone takes the time to send letters to their elected officials. I received a response from the Prime Minister's office this morning to the letter I wrote, so they do read our letters. This is the letter I just sent off to Jack Layton, the leader of the NDP party in Canada, with a copy to the NDP MP of our region.

Jack Layton's email:

Dear Honorable Leader Jack Layton,

I have been an NDP supporter for many years, but increasingly have become concerned over the last few years of the NDP's public statements (or not!) on the Middle East, Palestine and Afghanistan. I was, and am, deeply angered about past statements that parrot Conservative and Liberal leaders equating Hamas with a terrorist organization. Hamas is, rather, the duly elected government of the Palestinian people expelled into the Gaza Strip through the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

Peter Kent, the Minister of Status of Foreign Affairs and Michael Ignatieff, the acting Liberal leader, have both recently issued statements to the press blaming Hamas for the deaths of Gazan civilians and for the increasing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. They exonerate Israel by saying it is acting to defend itself. This is outrageous manipulation of history and Canadian complicity in creating one-sided propaganda whose effect is to continue the suppression, oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people.

As a NDP supporter, I demand that the NDP step up into the public and restore Canada's humanitarian face, and rid it of its lying face. It is important as each minute Palestinian lives are on the line, that you, Mr. Layton, as the leader of the NDP, make clear that the Gazan people are UNDER SEIGE. The rockets of the Hamas, which are wrong, too, are the RESULT of aggressive bombardment and occupation and the only RESISTANCE left to a beleaguered, abandoned people. The world's complicity through silence or white-washing "balanced" language is continuing the deaths, as evidenced by the deliberate targeting of the UN aid convey and the killing of UN workers and NO ACCOUNTABILITY placed on Israel. This is not the first time Israel has targeted and killed UN workers--recently in Lebanon, they did this and got away with it, because of IMPUNITY. No punishment. No penalty. Just business as usual. Canada continues to support this terrible biased propping up of the state of Israel where Palestinians are denied full citizenship, denied their human rights in the occupied territories.

As Libby Davies, NDP MP for Vancouver East has written in her open letter to PM Harper:

"The lack of leadership from the Canadian government is shameful in the face of such events."

Where are the voices such as Libby Davies' who dare to speak out? Where are the voices that make clear the unequal power relations of this terrible crisis? Where are the voices that will expose the continuing 60 year long oppression of the Palestinian peoples? Where are the voices to demand that EXISTING UN resolutions be followed? Where are the voices that dare to speak out calmly, clearly and firmly that the people of Palestine are the victims not the perpetrators of their own deaths and oppression?

Honorable Jack Layton, please don't let your silence, like Obama's, turn into complicity with the status quo of injustice and death for Palestinians.


Anonymous said...

Here is the official statement from the NDP website:

NDP Statements
New Democrat statement on the situation in the Middle East

Mon 29 Dec 2008

Canada's New Democrats condemn the unacceptable escalation of violence in the Middle East causing death and injury to so many civilians in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

It is a tragedy that hundreds of civilians have again become the victims of violence in this conflict. The continuing airstrikes by Israel on civilians in the Gaza strip and the ongoing rocket attacks on Israeli civilians are serving to compound the existing civilian disaster and further harm chances for a negotiated peace.

We call on the Government of Canada to immediately call for an end to the aerial bombing of Gaza, the blockade of aid to civilians and the indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel. Indeed, the government must urge both sides to agree to end the current hostilities immediately, reinstate the ceasefire and return to the peace process.

The Government of Canada should also work to ensure that medical and food aid is provided to the civilians of Gaza through U.N. agencies.

New Democrats believe that Canada must pursue a balanced approach to the Middle East crisis, in keeping with Canadians' deep desire for peace in the Middle East and are ready to work with the new administration in the U.S. towards a lasting peace in the region. This goal cannot be achieved while citizens in such large numbers are being killed and endangered

northshorewoman said...

thank you for posting. While this is a place to start for the NDP, it is not enough. First, we need Jack Layton and all NDP reps to step out into the press and make public statements.

2nd, these statements have to stop the "balanced sides" discourse that continues in an illusive way to make the Palestine/Israel "sides" that of 2 equal partners with equal share of the blame.

Indeed, the government must urge both sides to agree to end the current hostilities immediately, reinstate the ceasefire and return to the peace process."

This is just the sort of soft blather that I rail against. Instead, it needs to be clear:

Israel must stop its aggression. Israel must be held accountable for 60 years of oppressive policies and practices.

Israel, let us not forget, has the upper hand as the colonial power.

Let us not as Canadians forget about how (neo)colonial power is used.

Merche Pallarés said...

Interesting debate, you're right, Canada should have a stronger view and condemn Israel's criminal actions straight out. However, as you have probably noticed, very FEW governments are brave enough to denounce Israel outright. Actually, I think the only one has been Venezuela. The silence of western governments is very revealing of what I say, we are under Zionist power, and the different leaders are simple puppets. Very sad, very sad. Hugs, M.

Jesse Zimmerman said...

Please, has this letter been sent to Jack? I want to get 100 people from the NDP to add their names to it and I'd love to send it to him.

Please e-mail me asap at if you like this idea.

Free Palestine

northshorewoman said...

Hello Jesse, yes I did send this letter to Jack, to my local NDP MP, Bruce Hyer. I received a response from Hyer's assistant, who said he also forwarded my letter to Paul Dewar, the NDP foreign affairs critic.

Please use my letter or parts of it, and use it if you like to take up an action as you plan. You can include my name.

On thursday, Jan 15, Bruce Hyer, the local NDP MP is holding a town hall at LU in THe Study at 6 pm. Those in town might wish to show up there, too.

Anonymous said...

Jack Layton Town Hall
Date: Friday January 16th
Time: 7 - 9pm
Location: East York Community Centre
1081 1/2 Pape Ave, Between Torrens and O'Conner
Post questions on this issue for Jack here and those of us who are attending can ask them.

Anonymous said...

Did you receive an answer to your Letter to Jack Layton?