It's safe to support terrorists again

Politicians showed poor judgment on Sunday by associating with Hezbollah sympathizers

Manifestation pour la paix au Liban

It has taken 36 years since the body of cabinet minister Pierre Laporte was found in the trunk of a car where it had been left by the members of the Front de Liberation du Quebec who had kidnapped and murdered him. But it's finally becoming respectable again in Quebec to express support for terrorists.
On Sunday, the leaders of the Parti Quebecois and the Bloc Quebecois, a Liberal member of Parliament and one of the co-spokespersons for Quebec Solidaire marched together at the head of about 15,000 other Quebecers for "justice and peace" in Lebanon.
Somewhere behind them, among those of Lebanon, Quebec and Canada, flew more than one flag of Hezbollah. (For the benefit of the reporters for some other media who apparently missed it, it was the one with the green assault rifle on the yellow background).
Now, it is true that Israel has at least shown a callous indifference to the civilian population of Lebanon caught in the crossfire between its armed forces and Hezbollah's fighters.
But there is no doubt that when Hezbollah kills or maims civilians, Israelis and others, as it has been doing since long before the current escalation, it is not by accident. It has earned its place on the Canadian government's official list of terrorist organizations.
And that's why Andre Boisclair, Gilles Duceppe, Denis Coderre and Amir Khadir showed not only political opportunism on Sunday by literally positioning themselves out in front of a popular cause in Quebec, that of sympathy with the Lebanese people. By allowing themselves to be associated with sympathizers of a terrorist organization, they also showed poor judgment.
To their credit, Duceppe and Coderre, at least, called for the disarming of Hezbollah along with an immediate ceasefire in their speeches at the conclusion of the march. They might have been responding to a challenge issued the day before by the Quebec-Israel Committee in full-page ads in some Montreal dailies (including The Gazette), calling on leaders of the march to condemn terrorism.
For that, the two politicians were booed by part of the crowd, which seemed to be overwhelmingly anti-Israel, including some Hasidic Jews, who oppose the existence of Israel on religious grounds.
And Boisclair deplored excesses "in the tone of some slogans or on a few placards," without elaborating.
But none of this should have come as a surprise to anybody who had read the statement issued last Thursday and signed by the politicians, among others, announcing the march. For if it did not invite Hezbollah sympathizers to participate, it also contained nothing to discourage them from doing so.
The statement was almost ridiculously one-sided against Israel. While it described in some detail the death and destruction caused by Israel, not only in Lebanon but also in Gaza and the West Bank, it did not even mention terrorism or Hezbollah.
At most, it conceded that "there are Israeli civilians who are also paying the price of this war," without specifying that the price was death and injury inflicted by deliberately aimed Hezbollah rockets.
While it allowed Israel a "legitimate right to live in security," it stopped short of recognizing that country's right to defend itself or suggesting how its right to security might otherwise be ensured.
It called for the respect of "all" United Nations resolutions on the Middle East conflict. Presumably, that includes Security Council Resolution 1559, which in 2004 called for the "disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias," which includes Hezbollah. But if so, then why did the statement dare not say so explicitly?
After the statement was made public, Duceppe tried to say it criticized Hezbollah as well as Israel. But he was contradicted by two other signatories, Coderre and Henri Masse, president of the FTQ labour organization. And they were right.
Maybe Duceppe and the other politicians who signed the statement were in too much of a hurry to get out in front of a crowd to read what they were signing - and to think about who might be in the crowd.

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