Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Ignatieff and Israel

Which federal party leader said this about Israel back in 2002?

When I looked down at the West Bank, at the settlements like Crusader forts occupying the high ground, at the Israeli security cordon along the Jordan river closing off the Palestinian lands from Jordan, I knew I was not looking down at a state or the beginnings of one, but at a Bantustan, one of those pseudo-states created in the dying years of apartheid to keep the African population under control.
Could it be the same leader who now says:

On university campuses across the country this week, Israeli Apartheid Week will once again attempt to demonize and undermine the legitimacy of the Jewish state. It is part of a global campaign of calls for divestment, boycotts and proclamations, and it should be condemned unequivocally and absolutely.
Apartheid is defined, in international law, as a crime against humanity. Israeli Apartheid Week is a deliberate attempt to portray the Jewish state as criminal.

Why, yes it is! Now to be fair to Iggy, a lot has happened in the intervening eight years. On the one hand, the "Crusader fort" like settlements that reminded the then public intellectual of apartheid-era Bantustans have grown in size, a wall has been built which not only surrounds the Palestinians of the West Bank but because of its fjord like route, actually cuts off many people in the West Bank from others in the West Bank and, oh yes, there was that war in Gaza. So can Iggy honestly say the situation that existed in 2002 that reminded him of apartheid no longer exists? No. What has changed is not the situation on the ground for Palestinians but the self-interest of Michael Ignatieff. As a Liberal leader Iggy feels the need to prove his pro-Israel credentials in light of his previous criticism of the regime. But don't worry, I'm sure that after Iggy has ended his adventure in electoral politics he will rediscover the plight of the Palestinians and wring his hands appropriately.

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