Amidst Israel’s slaughter in Gaza, Canadian NDP Leader Kowtows to Israel Lobby

Canadian Social Democratic Leader Jagmeet Singh. (Photo: OFL Communications Department, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Yves Engler

Amidst Israel’s slaughter in Gaza, the divide between Jagmeet Singh and NDP supporters, as well as his caucus, has become glaring.

On Tuesday Singh once again followed the Israel lobby in smearing internationalist, social justice, minded activists. In response to faux outrage instigated by the former head of the fascistic Jewish DefenSe League Meir Weinstein, Singh claimed that an anti-genocide march that passed by Mount Sinai Hospital “targeted” the Toronto institution “because of its ties to the Jewish community”.

The baseless claim contributes to anti-Palestinian racism and distracts attention from Canada’s complicity in Israel terrorizing 1.5 million people in Rafah.

Five days earlier he echoed another anti-Palestinian outburst when he criticized activists who posted a series of messages on and around the riding office of disgraced BC minister Selina Robinson.

“The targeting of MLA Selina Robinson’s office with hateful messages is wrong,” Singh posted on X. But there was nothing “hateful” posted and the Coquitlam police reported that the activists even removed the posters and chalk after videoing their action. Incredibly, it was Singh’s only post on X about the anti-Palestinian bigot who was forced from the BC NDP cabinet by grassroots pressure.

Outside a bowling hall in a Montreal on Sunday I tried to ask Singh whether he agreed with South Africa that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza. He refused to answer and a member of his RCMP detail told me I didn’t have the right to “bother” the NDP leader, pushing me away and knocking my phone out of my hands.

This was in stark contrast to NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice who minutes before Singh arrived took my questions. Boulerice agreed that Canadian charities that funnel money to the Israeli military should lose their charitable status, Canadians fighting in Gaza should be investigated for war crimes and that South Africa has a strong case that Israel is committing genocide.

Boulerice’s position aligns with NDP supporters. A recent Angus Reid poll found that NDP voters were 5 times (68% to 14%) more likely to say “Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians” than “Israel is not committing genocide”.

Singh’s anti-Palestinianism is longstanding. In October he participated in an Israel lobby conference with advocates of genocidal violence against Palestinians. The two-day conference organized by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and Canada’s Jewish Federations was co-sponsored by the explicitly racist Jewish National Fund and included a slew of leading anti-Palestinian speakers.

In one of Singh’s more crass displays of anti-Palestinianism, the NDP leader refused to mention the long oppressed group when asked about resolutions submitted to the 2021 NDP convention regarding “Canada’s relationship to Israel and the Palestinian territory”.

Instead of responding to the question, he mentioned “anti-Semitism” four times. Asked again by the CBC interviewer about “resolutions that in a sense condemn Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians”, Singh again failed to mention Palestine or Palestinians. Instead, he talked about “increased hate crimes also against people of the Jewish faith”. Singh’s complete erasure of Palestinians was hard to listen to and prompted a massive backlash.

In 2020 he refused to endorse a pledge, supported by 70 MPs, to oppose Israel’s plan to annex the Palestinian West Bank. Similarly, Singh explicitly rejected a 2018 call from 200 prominent individuals, labour leaders and party members — including Noam Chomsky, Linda McQuaig, Roger Waters and Maher Arar — for the NDP to withdraw from the Canada Israel Interparliamentary Group.

Open Letter: A Call for the NDP to Withdraw from the Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Group

At the party’s 2018 convention Singh mobilized his family and dozens of members of his community to vote against allowing debate on the modest “Palestine Resolution: renewing the NDP’s commitment to peace and justice”, which was unanimously endorsed by the NDP youth convention, many affiliated groups and two dozen riding associations.

Singh has been decidedly deferential to anti-Palestinian lobby group CIJA. In 2021 he stoked a CIJA attack against leftist NDP MP Niki Ashton and Singh previously participated in a remarkable CIJA  “antisemitism” smear against Dimitri Lascaris, one of Canada’s most effective advocates for Palestinian rights. Prior to becoming leader of the party, Singh went on a CIJA-sponsored trip to Israel.

At best, Singh seems unprincipled. Any step he’s made against Canada’s contribution to Palestinian dispossession is due to pressure. As such, activists must be constantly questioning and challenging Singh on the issue.

Even from an electoral standpoint, the NDP leader’s constant kowtowing to the Israel lobby makes little sense. The same Angus Reid poll discussed above found 44 percent of Liberal supporters agreed that “Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians”. Shouldn’t the NDP target those voters?

Given his behaviour, anyone associated with the party should be asking whether Singh is the right leader today.

 – Yves Engler is the author of Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid and a number of other books. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. Visit his website:

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
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  1. The New Dems are severely out of touch with their base. Given the expressions of bigotry by Jaggy, Selena Robinson, and the Ontario provincial party’s censure of Sara Jama, we must ask why we should vote for these supporters of genocide and apartheid.

    The Greens at least send representatives to our local Palestine solidarity rallies, and are making a case for my giving them my vote.

  2. And Marit Stiles, Ontario NDP leader, kicked out MPP Sarah Jama because she expresse her love of Palestine. I have not a word about this from Singh. The same disease: from Canada and NDP to the UK and Labour. Sadly, Singh and Sterner would get along. Ever since NDP ex-leader Tom Mulcair who cut the heart out of the NDP – by quietly erased Socialism – the party has been the Liberal party painted orange (that colour is NDP). Singh is a parliamentarian – a rare commodity in Canada today – and he won’t fall for personal attacks. He pushes for important bills for all Canadians but: Zionist Lobby has a grip on the Canadian political system. That is internationalal interference (NOT China/Russia)

  3. There goes my support for the NDP! Very disappointing, Singh. Kowtowing to the US line, just like the Liberals. Thank you, Greens, for coming out to rallies in Saskatoon and speaking in support of Palestinians.

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