Politicians Scold Davies for Remarks on Israel's Existence

Published: June 17th 2010
in News » Local

Libby Davies
Pic: YouTube

The denial of Israel’s right to exist has been implied by NDP House Leader Libby Davies who, in an interview during an anti-Israel rally in Vancouver on June 5th, said that Israel has been occupying Palestine since 1948, the nation’s year of independence. This was a reply to a question asking when she believes the occupation started after she made a remark calling Israel an occupying force. The interview is posted on YouTube (below) and clearly shows Davies answering the question with “48! It’s the longest occupation in the world and people are suffering. I have been to the West Bank in Gaza twice and I’ve seen what’s been going on there myself.”This statement has caused political uproar, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper as well as Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae denouncing her statements calling them “extremist” and her position “unacceptable.”


During the Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday, Harper called upon NDP leader Jack Layton to distance himself from Davies’ statements and resign Davies’ position as House Leader. In his statement, Harper also mentioned the incident with Helen Thomas who previously told Jews to “get the hell out of Palestine” and go back to Germany prior to her resignation. Now Harper says that Davies should do the same. He says: “The only person hiding the truth here is the leader of the NDP who has a deputy leader and a house leader who says that Israel’s existence inside its pre-1967 boundaries is an occupation. Mr. Speaker, this is a fundamental denial of Israel’s right to exist. It repeats the same kind of comments made by Helen Thomas on which she was forced to resign and the member of the NDP should be forced to resign as well.”


Davies has posted an apology for her statements after members of her party denounced her for them. One of these NDP members was the party’s very own deputy leader, Thomas Mulcair. He prompted Davies to apologize for not only her statements about Israel’s “occupation” but also regarding her support of boycott divestment sanctions, a movement that calls for the boycotting of Israeli products. Mulcair called this support “egregious” and said: “we take decisions together, parties formulate policies together and to say that you’re personally in favour of boycott divestment sanctions (BDS) for the only democracy in the Middle East is, as I’m concerned, grossly unacceptable.”


Despite this, Davies’ apology does not include an apology for her support of BDS; it only states that the statement regarding Israel’s “occupation” was “a serious and completely inadvertent error; I apologize for this and regret any confusion it has caused.” She adds, “I have always supported a two-state solution to the on-going Israeli-Palestinian conflict and have never questioned Israel's right to exist and the Palestinian’s right to a viable state.”


Related articles: (Libby Davies, NDP, Stephen Harper, Bob Rae, Jack Layton)
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