Mulcair denies his caucus is anti-Israel
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, June 1, 2012 9:11PM EDT
SASKATOON - Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is rejecting complaints from B'nai Brith Canada that there is an anti-Israel sentiment among his members of Parliament.
"I firmly reject any such affirmation with regards to our caucus," Mulcair said Friday in Saskatoon after he spoke to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
B'nai Brith, a Jewish human rights organization, expressed concern in a news release Thursday about what it called anti-Israel propaganda in the party.
It chided deputy leader Megan Leslie for "selectively promoting several anti-Israel events on her NDP website," including Halifax Israel Apartheid Week. The organization said the event promotes hatred and intolerance on university campuses and criticized her for referring to the "illegal occupation" of the Palestinians.
The Jewish organization also took another deputy leader, Libby Davies, to task for presenting a petition in the House of Commons calling on the Harper government to change its position on Israel.
The Conservative government has shown almost unequivocal support for the Middle Eastern country.
Frank Dimant, CEO of B'nai Brith Canada, called on Mulcair to quash anti-Israel sentiment in his caucus.
"We are calling on the NDP leader to formulate a definitive, principled party stance regarding the Jewish state, to fully condemn the growing demonization of Israel within his party and to ensure that the NDP does not allow itself to be misused to spread anti-Israel propaganda," he said.
Mulcair said the NDP's support for a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians does not mean the party is anti-Israel. He didn't indicate he would make efforts to rein in his MPs.
"We have a very strong position: that's a two-state position," he said. "It has been a consistent position of the NDP."
Mulcair said he is very close to the Jewish community across Canada and has stated his support for Israel many times, something Dimant acknowledged in the release.
Mulcair's wife is Jewish of Turkish heritage.