OTTAWA – Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae made the following statement today on the comments of NDP Deputy Leader Libby Davies in regard to the State of Israel.
Ms. Davies is widely reported to have said "(the occupation started in) ’48. It’s the longest occupation in the world.” She also stated she supported boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel.
“The comments of Ms. Davies are more than just a ‘serious mistake,’ as the Leader of the NDP now maintains. To deny the State of Israel’s right to exist and to propose an international campaign of boycotts, divestments and sanctions against a legitimate member of the world community for over sixty years is to reveal a level of hostility and ignorance that is truly breathtaking.
“These are not the off-the-cuff ramblings of any ill-informed or biased person. Ms. Davies is the Deputy Leader of a political party that aspires to reflect and represent the views of Canada on the international stage. In this role, fully cognizant of her responsibilities, she stated that Israel has been occupying territories since 1948, the year of its independence. The logical implication of these comments is that Israel has no right to exist.
“She called this ‘the longest occupation in the world.’ That is simply untrue, and reflects a complete disregard for the facts.
“This is a position that is more than just ‘unacceptable.’ This rhetoric is responsible for more than ‘confusion,’ and an ‘inadvertent error,” as Ms. Davies now suggests.
“The appropriate decision, given her stature and responsibilities with the NDP, is for Mr. Layton to ask for her resignation as Deputy Leader and for Ms. Davies to issue an apology to all Canadians. Nothing short of that will do."