Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
The left is not anti-Israel

National Post
Mon 05 Jun 2006
Page: A16
Section: Editorials
Byline: Pat Martin

I am proud to say that, unlike CUPE Ontario, my union, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, has significant investments in Israel through its benefit and investment plans. I will certainly be encouraging our leadership to ignore any appeal to join CUPE Ontario’s misguided boycott of the Jewish state.

Israel is a modern and progressive multi-party democracy with a free and independent trade union movement, freedom of speech and religion, and a profound and frequently tested committment to human rights. If anything, the state of Israel deserves the support of the international labour movement for fostering and encouraging these values in spite of overwhelming adversity and relentless attack.

There are plenty of places in the world that deserve to be singled out for some co-ordinated action by labour: governments that assassinate labour leaders, allow forced or child labour, or deny women the right to vote or go to school. Israel is not one of them.

As a trade unionist and an NDP MP, I do not want to be associated in any way with the Ontario CUPE resolution on Israel, nor do I want anyone to think that the labour movement, the NDP, or the left generally, is anti-Israel.

Pat Martin, MP, Winnipeg Centre