Support for Universal Human Rights Is an Absolute

A recent headline stated: “NDP Cautiously Differentiates Itself from Tories and Grits on Palestinian Human Rights.” The article made it seem as if there were a beacon of hope within the right-wing political scene of federal Canadian politics. The NDP (New Democratic Party) poses as a left-of-center party but its support for militarism, its staunch support of the racist regime in Israel, and its adherence to the capitalist system belie any pretense at left-wing politics.

An election is upcoming, and the article finds that NDP leader “Thomas Mulcair and [MP] Paul Dewar have taken positions on human rights for Palestinians in the last few weeks that differentiate them from both the Harper Conservatives and the Trudeau Liberals. Their statements are cautious, but positive. They will no doubt attract fierce criticism from the Israel lobby.”

The fact that a political party would cautiously differentiate itself from probably the most biased pro-Zionist party supporters of any nation state on the planet speaks poorly for any morally scrupulous political party.

Israel is about to bulldoze the West Bank town of Susyia. If Israel had occupied Newfoundland (which has been occupied by European invaders since John Cabot sailed by) and then proposed to bulldoze the small city of Corner Brook, would Canadian politicians of any stripe act with caution as to the sentiments of the Jewish Israeli lobby (to call it an Israel lobby is deceitful because the 20% of Palestinian-“Israelis” are not lobbying on behalf of Zionism)?

So what does the NDP’s cautious position on Palestinian human rights entail?

The NDP leader Mulclair, an unabashed Zionist, calls for the “unimpeded provision through Gaza of food, fuel and medical treatment, and intensified international arrangements to prevent arms and ammunition smuggling.” If Canada were being laid siege to would Mulclair be satisfied with a tepid call for an end to the siege?

An excuse is offered for Mulclair’s sliver of human rights concern: “Mulcair is now actually eyeing the Prime Ministership, and his every statement is being vetted with a fine toothed comb.”

The other major parties are not offering a scintilla of concern for Palestinian human rights, and apparently Mulclair does not want to differentiate too mightily from the other parties.

Why? Is it concern over losing votes with the Canadian electorate? This cannot be since polls, without questionning their validity, indicate a split over support for Jewish Israelis and Palestinians. So at worst the NDP would garner half the votes on the issue and could claim a principled position on human rights. The fact that the NDP does not do this would seem to indicate that the party is merely playing politics, and posturing on human rights for Palestinians is just a tactic for electoral success.

What does the NDP’s political posturing on human rights reveal?

Integrity demands that politics do not trump human rights. A steadfast adherence in support of human rights for all human beings is a sine qua non of political integrity. Playing cautious with support for human rights is patently morally bankrupt.

Kim Petersen is a former co-editor of the Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be reached at: kimohp@gmail.com. Twitter: @kimpetersen. Read other articles by Kim.