Vancouver activist stands up for MP Libby Davies over Israel remarks

Efforts to reprimand Vancouver East MP Libby Davies over comments about Israel are unfortunate, says a local anti-war activist and writer.

“I think Ms. Davies should be commended for speaking her mind and she has always stood up for human rights and, in this case, specifically for the human rights of the Palestinian people,” Derrick O’Keefe told the Straight today by phone.

In a YouTube video recorded earlier this month, Davies, the New Democrat party deputy leader, stated her belief that the occupation of Palestinian territory began in 1948, the year Israel declared independence.

The remark drew criticism from NDP Leader Jack Layton, and the federal Liberals argued it revealed skepticism about Israel’s right to exist.

Davies has recanted and apologized. She did not respond to a request for an interview.

O’Keefe, co-chair of Vancouver’s StopWar Coalition, described the episode as a “sign of the imbalance in the public sphere in Canada”.

“Canada is really unique in the world to have so few elected parliamentarians speaking out about Palestine,” he said. “For the NDP to be going in this direction now, I think looks bad because you have governments and political parties all over the world speaking out more strongly than ever against what Israel’s been doing.”

O’Keefe also said the “tempest in a teapot” surrounding Davies’ comments has diverted attention from a deadly raid by Israeli forces last month against a flotilla trying to break a blockade of Gaza.

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Steve H

Jun 15, 2010 at 6:28pm

It's time for Libby to go, she has become a real embarrassment to Canada.

However, before she goes she should come clean about her expenses.

East Van Guy

Jun 15, 2010 at 8:05pm

Libby Davies is awesome. She has represented my views so well, for so long. I love her. She should not step down at all over this.

Steve E

Jun 15, 2010 at 8:08pm

Libby has the right to express her opinion. All of these religious divides are just a politically correct way to engage in discrimination.

It's really about time to label all that religious claptrap as superstition and move on. It's a big task with all of that gullible ignorance behind it; but think of the alternative - the vitriol directed at Libby is just a taste of policy directed by religion.


Jun 15, 2010 at 8:35pm

libby is one of the hardest working mps. she thinks outside of the box on so many issues. she provides that alternative perspective -- and that is what is needed in parliament.

i support libby and i think she's been an amazing politician.


Jun 15, 2010 at 9:25pm

10 out of 10 to Libby for standing up - her ilk are few - to Canada's detriment Compared to the shameless toedying to Isreal's interests by Harper and others she shines like a star!


Jun 15, 2010 at 9:30pm

I personally think what she said was awful, but I'm glad she came out and said it. I think a lot of people share her views but are affraid to publically say so. This is a sensitive subject... and rightly so... so as a result, people tend to soften their view when speaking publically. Telling the world that you think the state of Israel is essentially illegal says a lot about what a person thinks and how they view morality in the world. I wish more people who share this opinion would do the same.

Grant S.

Jun 15, 2010 at 9:40pm

Ms. Davies let the cat out of the bag: many in the left don't believe that Israel has the right to exist. Does Ms. Davies understand why Israel (and of course Palestine at the same time) was granted state status? Sadly she is echoing Hamas in their refusal to acknowledge that Israel has the right to exist. How has the left gone so far in sympathizing with Islamo-facism at the expense of liberal democratic values?


Jun 15, 2010 at 9:47pm

No,I strongly feel she should not have to resign. This is, after all, a democracy with freedom of speech and she was elected.

By the way I am a life long Zionist Jew, and I believe Libby, a typical ultra leftist kook has in fact a deep seated hatred of Israel. In addition she proved she is as stupid as mud, a person not informed of basic history like the difference between 1948 and 1967.

But as I say freedom of speech and democracy 100% mandate she stay in office.


Jun 15, 2010 at 10:58pm


David Wiesenthal

Jun 16, 2010 at 12:20am

Libby Davies was not genuine in her apology. Her comments were clearly antisemitic. Hate speech is not acceptable in Canada.