In front of a split audience in the sanctuary of the Beth Emeth synagogue on Wilmington (personal note: I had my bar mitzvah here), the ex-hockey guy’s eyes hardened as he advocated no truck or trade with the “terrorists” in the democratically elected Hamas government in Gaza.
Then he offered this shocker: “Stop all aid that flows into Gaza. While that may seem a harsh measure that will hurt Palestinian civilians… it is the right thing to do at this time.”
Hey Ken, exactly when did the collective punishment of civilian populations become the "right thing to do"? Perhaps Mr Dion can shed some light on the always contentious issue of policy toward the troubled region and in particular the militaristic over-reach of the Israeli government. Are the Liberals willing to side with the criminally excessive "measured response" that the Harper party approves of? Are crimes against humanity part of the Liberal Party of Canada platform?
We hypocrites in North America have the unfailing ability to talk out both sides of our fat faces when it comes to platitudes about democracy and freedom. When the beleaguered souls in the Palestinian Authority voted for a Hamas government our government's anti-democratic response was to decry their choice and withhold aid and support. All the while we have propped up an Israeli regime that defies human rights, UN sanctions and maintains an illegal and provocative occupation of the West Bank. In all of our privileged ignorance we sat in judgement, labelling Hamas terrorists. And we are partly right in that assessment. Hamas is responsible for terrorist acts against the state of Israel. Just as the state of Israel is responsible for ongoing terrorist acts against the Palestinians. Israel is just another bad neighbour in the region, ask the Lebanese how they feel about the contradictory folks next door.
It is in those contradictions that the problems lie. There is so much to admire about the Israeli people, their struggles and successes. The people of that land are resourceful, brilliant and inspiring. They flourish in a harsh environment, bringing life to desert. Yet within the nation there is a complex social, spiritual and political culture that weighs influence heavily toward the extreme right. They are armed to the teeth as year after year, decade on decade, the U.S. pours billions of dollars of military aid into their hands. And they have been all too willing and intemperate in the use of that massive firepower.
And just as Israel presents contradictions of positive and negative, so too does Hamas. On the one hand they are indeed responsible for carrying out terrorist acts. But they are also highly effective at bringing services and support to the people of the region. The Lebanese have been forced into the difficult position of aligning against Hamas, who have enormous influence within that nation because they are so effective at delivering food, aid and medicine to those in need. They are the ones that much of the civilian population looks to for defence. They are the ones that seem able to restore and maintain infrastructure and stability.
One of the issues of this election campaign has been that of splitting votes on the left, as though the Liberals somehow reside to the left of centre in a magical alternate universe. They are perhaps a jog to the left of the Harper Cons but until they come forward and eschew this sort of fanatical devotion to the worst elements of authoritarian, militaristic excess, they're just a softer side of the extreme right. Dryden's statement is no more constructive than if he were to declare that he supported random missile strikes into Israeli territories.
The people of Canada and the riding of York Centre deserve better than this. I call for Mr Dryden to renounce these statements or remove himself from the campaign. As Canadians, we can not afford to advocate for crimes against humanity. Whatever moral high ground we pretend to crumbles beneath us when we allow such statements as Dryden's to stand unprotested. Should Mr Dryden refuse to do the right thing, I call on the voters of York region to deliver a message by voting with their consciences and choosing another representative to serve their interests.
UPDATE: Doc Dawg has picked up on this issue as well. His post elicited a response from the Liberal Party of Canada's sycophantic attack poodle Jason Cherniak:
"You're going to go after a Canadian hero? Ok..."
Well isn't that precious. In Jason's hermetically sealed little bubble, it is just fine to advocate for crimes against humanity if you're a "hero". Well here's a news-flash Cherniak, Dryden was a goalie. That's it. Unless you want to count lawyer and we all know how heroic lawyers are. I await a statement from the grown ups of the Liberal Party of Canada. Does Stephane Dion and the Liberal Party of Canada support Mr Dryden's stated position? Does the Liberal Party of Canada support the collective punishment of civilian populations? I can see the number of choices at the ballot box shrinking... A B C (or L)
Jumped the queue here as I am interested to gather reactions to this issue. If Jason Cherniak is a mouthpiece for the Liberal Party of Canada does this reflect the position of Mr Cherniak's other heroes?