NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Heather McPherson made the following statement
“Over the past week, thousands of Israelis have protested in the streets against dangerous ideologies articulated by Israel’s newly elected government, in which far-right extremist Members of the Knesset have been given key cabinet roles including in the ministries of Defense and National (Public) Security.
Potential changes articulated in the coalition agreements are profoundly alarming, leading many Israelis to protest against them. Religious pluralism and democratic institutions like the Attorney General’s office and the Supreme Court are under attack. Israeli health care workers have spoken out against proposed new laws that would discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in hospitals and businesses. Israeli civil society organizations have warned of shrinking space for human rights advocacy. And Jewish communities around the world, including in Canada, are speaking out against these extremist positions.
At a time when all efforts should be focused on peace, human rights, and justice, experts are also warning that some of the commitments made by this new government may lead to an escalation of the conflict and violence between Israel and Palestine which could result in further loss of life of innocent Palestinians and Israelis. The year 2022 was already the deadliest for Palestinians and Israelis in recent memory – yet the dangerous and racist rhetoric spewed by some members of the new Israeli government suggests that the situation, particularly for Palestinians living under occupation, will only get worse. The planned expansion of illegal settlements not only contravenes international law but also threatens any future efforts for peace and a two-state solution. It’s also a move that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed to oppose – yet Canada’s Liberals have been silent.
At a time when far-right groups are gaining ground around the world and we are witnessing rising antisemitism, Islamophobia, targeting of LGBTQ+ communities, and violations of human rights of vulnerable minorities everywhere, it is more important than ever that Canada speak up and oppose extremist views – no matter where they come from.
New Democrats believe in a two-state solution that is achieved by working with partners for peace in Israel and Palestine. We believe in respecting international law, supporting peaceful co-existence in viable, independent states with secure and agreed-upon borders, an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and an end to violence targeting Palestinian and Israeli civilians. Canada must do everything it can to work towards these goals.
Today, we are calling on the Liberal government to strongly condemn the extremist policies of this new Israeli government. The Canadian government must explain what concrete steps it will take to address this very dangerous moment that threatens the lives and human rights of Palestinians and Israelis alike.”