To: Mr. Thomas Mulcair, NDP Leader of the Opposition
We are writing on behalf of the Seriously Free Speech Committee (SFSC) to protest the attempts by B’nai Brith to stifle free speech on the Israel/Palestine issue within the NDP caucus. Headed “Stop anti-Israel bias within NDP Caucus”, the press release is clearly intended to frighten NDP MP’s from responding to the ever increasing support for the implementation of international law in Israel and support for Palestinian Human Rights.
We congratulate you on rejecting the charges levelled by B’nai Brith. There is substantial evidence that Israel commits daily violations of Palestinian human rights by humiliating Palestinians at hundreds of roadblocks and obstructions, imprisoning Palestinians under administrative detention and by establishing “facts on the ground” through continued extensions of the illegal settlements. We encourage you and the NDP caucus to speak out frequently and forcefully on these issues.
Unfortunately rather than exposing these assaults, the NDP continued to participate in the voluntary Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA) even as the CPCCA’s credibility was shredded by Palistinian activists, civil libertarians, and academics including the withdrawal of the Bloc. The CPCCA’s mandate was to extend the definition of antisemitism to include criticism of Israel.
Megan Leslie is to be congratulated for her moral courage in speaking out on behalf of Palestinian human rights and not being intimidated by those who seek to suppress free speech on this issue.
The Vancouver-based SFSC was founded in 2008 to defend activitists who were being sued by Canwest for producing a parody of The Vancouver Sun’s one-sided coverage of Palestine and Israel. We have subsequently broadened our activity to defend individuals and organizations who are being attacked because of their crticism of Israel and their defense of Palestinian human rights. Part of our work will be to continue to monitor the NDP’s support for a socially just solution to the illegal occupation.
Brian Campbell and Anne Roberts
Co-Chairs, Seriously Free Speech Committee