New Democrat MP Libby Davies criticized for comments about Israel

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      Vancouver East MP Libby Davies is facing pressure to resign as New Democrat deputy leader over recent remarks she made about Israel that were posted on-line.

      Davies has said she believes the Middle East state’s occupation of Palestinian territory began in 1948—the same year Israel declared independence—and described it as “the longest occupation in the world”.

      She also stated support for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions aimed at Israel, according to a YouTube video recorded during an anti-Israel protest held earlier this month in downtown Vancouver.

      The federal Liberals denounced the comments today (June 15), arguing they imply Israel has no right to exist. They also pressed NDP Leader Jack Layton to ask Davies to resign as deputy leader.

      “Ms. Davies is the deputy leader of a political party that aspires to reflect and represent the views of Canada on the international stage,” Bob Rae, the Liberal foreign affairs critic, said in a statement

      “She called this ”˜the longest occupation in the world’. That simply is untrue, and reflects a complete disregard for the facts,” Rae added.

      Davies apologized last week on her Web site, and Layton has reportedly described the comments from the YouTube interview as a serious mistake, and indicated they are not in line with NDP policy.

      “I have always supported a two-state solution to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and have never questioned Israel’s right to exist and the Palestinian’s right to a viable state,” Davies said in a June 11 statement.

      She described the reference to the year 1948 as a “serious and completely inadvertent error”. She also said: “I reject the allegation that I hate Israel, and I reject the assertion that I said that Israel is illegitimate or an abomination. Neither are true.”

      UPDATE (June 16): The Straight earlier posted an edited version of the interview with Vancouver East MP Libby Davies from YouTube. The original, longer version of the clip now appears below.

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      Jun 15, 2010 at 3:27pm

      These smear campaigns are truly atrocious. Libby Davies & Helen Thomas get blasted left and right for a few comments they make, while Harper, Obama, Netanyahu and friends get a totally free ride as they support blatant violations of international law. It's completely ridiculous.

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      Jun 15, 2010 at 4:39pm

      With any luck, this will be the beginning of the end for Libby Davies. She's done a lousy job representing our riding.

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      Kyall Glennie

      Jun 15, 2010 at 5:07pm

      I'd love to know what Bob Rae thinks of the flotilla murders, denounced as such by the UN Secretary General. Funny. I see his views on the matter are strangely missing from this dialogue. Of course, that's the point of this distraction: ignoring Canada's responsibility to strongly condemn our international friends when they obviously break the international laws we establish to build peace.

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      Jun 16, 2010 at 7:38am

      I am not, and never will be an NDP supporter. Like most intelligent Canadians however, I fully agree with Ms. Davies

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      Jun 16, 2010 at 8:43am

      ===>>> Kyall Glennie

      An excellent question. Don't hold your breath waiting for an answer.

      And I really would like to know why the media pay so much attention to every utterance by either Bob Rae or Ujjal Dosanjh. It's quite out of proportion to their apparent position and standing in Parliament. Why the special treatment?

      Rod Smelser

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      Kevin Bosc

      Jun 16, 2010 at 9:17am

      Offhand comments from politicians show a lack of concern for the moral structuring of a political party. Punditry is best left to pundits. Not politicians.

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      Judy Cunningham

      Jun 16, 2010 at 11:26am

      Libby Davies should resign. She has represented the Downtown Eastside for a long time and the people have seen nothing but her riding falling further and further into a sinkhole.She embodies the concept of "The Emperors New Clothes" to the nth. degree.

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      Jun 16, 2010 at 11:49am

      The reason Davies said that 1948 was the year when the Israeli occupation started was clearly not because she disagrees with the existence of Israel within its UN approved 1948 borders, but because of her ignorance regarding the history of the region. She meant 1967, when Israel took over the West Bank and Gaza as a result of the Six Days War and territorial peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt. So she should not be blamed for denying Israel's right to exist. As a politician she should be held responsible though for her active political involvement in a subject she knows very little about.

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      Lawrence Boxall

      Jun 16, 2010 at 12:21pm

      We can expect more of these smear campaigns in the future because the supporters of Israeli impunity and defiance of international law have run out of plausible excuses for Israeli actions. They are desperate, the tide is turning, and now the frightening truth of what they have wrought mocks their denials.

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      Jun 16, 2010 at 1:52pm

      Hey Conroy, Your condescending attitude is a perfect example of why the liberal viewpoint is lacking in clear dialogue and support. First, you assume that most Canadians support your view. Then you display your arrogance when you backhandedly say that anyone who doesn't agree with you is not intelligent. I was a liberal supporter for years, but the manner in which liberals automatically jump on any left leaning bandwagon without actually learning about the issues reminds me of how children view the world. Yes, Israel makes mistakes, but they do not support the total annihilation of another race of humans. By the way, when you support Hamas, that is exactly what you do. Grow Up!!!!

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