July 15, 2014

We must force Harper to reject war crimes in Gaza (Upcoming protests)

by Drew Garvie

July 11th Protest in Toronto
As Palestinian casualties approach 200 deaths from one week of the intense Israeli bombardment of Gaza, actions and protests across the globe are demanding an end to the Zionist murder of civilians.

The Young Communist League of Canada - Ligue de la jeunesse communiste du Canada released a statement yesterday condemning condemning "Operation Protective Edge" and calling for a just peace in Palestine.

In the statement it points out that the Conservative government has fully endorsed the ongoing war crimes being committed in Gaza: "as an imperialist country, member of the criminal alliance of NATO and colonizer of Indigenous territories, Canada seized this occasion to reiterate its unconditional support of Israel - more and more vocal under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. Its diplomacy has been only focused on one side of this conflict, emphasizing the launching of rockets by Hamas, while supporting all the deaths and illegal operations by Israel’s occupation army".

Indeed, John Baird and Stephen Harper appear to be reading the same speeches as Netanyahu. Baird has called out the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights' criticism of Israel's attack and Harper has been vocal in encouraging "solidarity with Israel". Leading Conservative cabinet member Jason Kenney has taken to social media and reposted Israeli 'Defense' Forces propaganda criticizing Palestinians use of "human shields", while Israel deliberately and openly targets residential neighbourhoods in one of the most densely populated places on the planet.

The YCL-LJC statement points out that "it is also noteworthy that no political party sitting in the federal Parliament condemned this operation, showing their commitment to Canadian imperialism’s interests". To date no party in the legislature has even expressed a clear position that the Israeli bombs need to stop, let alone addressing the root cause of the ongoing Israeli occupation and Apartheid policies.

The NDP has rightfully come under fire from Palestine solidarity organizations for its July 14th statement where it expresses "concern" about the situation, while clearly condemning the Hamas rockets (which have not resulted in any casualties) and vaguely calling for a ceasefire, without any real comment on Israel's murder of hundreds of civilians in the last week. It is striking that it took the NDP a week to come out with any statement at all besides a statement from early July where it clearly condemns the kidnapping and murder of three teenage Israeli settlers. Israel used this kidnapping-murder to arrest 400 Palestinians, in an action that has been called "collective punishment" by Amnesty International.

There also appears to be internal censorship within the NDP which is holding back MPs with a history of supporting Palestinian human rights. Charlie Angus, MP from Timmins Ontario, posted a statement clearly critical of Harper's Zionism and support for Israeli crimes. It was removed in a matter of hours from social media.

This is one more case study in the obvious shift in the NDP leadership towards appeasing imperialist sections of Canadian Big Business. Support for austerity policies in the recent Ontario elections, are connected to a rejection of international policies for peace and disarmament.

All this means that all pressure on Harper to drop his uncritical support for war crimes must come from the street and from extra-parliamentary struggle. Fortunately, there have been large advances in organizing the Palestine solidarity movement in Canada over the last decade, especially through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which as found new support among young activists.

It is up to us to get out on the street as much as possible in the coming days in order to provide full solidarity to the Palestinian people in their struggle against Zionist Apartheid and occupation.

In South Africa, the same forces of international reaction who had supported Apartheid were forced to change their tactics and their tune as democratic movements triumphed there. It is possible!

Please visit this website for a regularly updated list of protests around the world. Here are the upcoming ones in major centres in Canada:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
   Tuesday, July 15
11:00 AM
 Queens Park

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada   Wednesday,  July 16
7:00 PM
Alberta Legislature Building

Montreal, Quebec
   Wednesday,  July 16
5:30 PM 
Metro Mont-Royal

Windsor, Ontario, Canada
   Friday,  July 18
4:30 PM
 City Hall Square, Windsor

Calgary, Alberta, Canada   Friday,  July 18
6:00 PM 
City Hall

More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1505147226381900/

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada   Friday, July 18
4:00 PMMore info: https://www.facebook.com/events/774482935908543/

Vancouver, BC Canada (unceded Coast Salish territories)  Saturday, July 19th
2:00 PM  Vancouver Art Gallery (Robson Side @ Hornby & Robson)
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/649461088464555/
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
   Saturday,  July 19
1:00 PM
 Effort Square, 105 Main Street E

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
   Saturday,  July 26
2:00 PM 
Queens Park Legislative Building
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/910802972279851/

Montreal, Quebec   Monday, July 28
5:00 PM Israeli Consulate, Westmount Square
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/335745323246105/
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada    Saturday, August 9
6:00 PM Mississauga Celebration Square
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1480697442177557/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular  

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