Last month, Greg Selinger, the New Democratic Party (NDP) Premier of the Province of Manitoba, and two of his ministers visited Israel. Among other things, the official delegation strengthened the longtime "progressive" government's ties to the Jewish National Fund (JNF). The trip was a sad spectacle that should embarrass every Canadian who opposes racism. Indeed, J.S. Woodsworth, the Winnipeg-based founder of Canada's social democratic party, must be turning in his grave.
The province and JNF signed an accord to jointly develop two bird conservation sites while Manitoba water stewardship Minister Christine Melnick spoke at the opening ceremony for a park built in Jaffa by the JNF, Tel Aviv Foundation and Manitoba-Israel Shared Values Roundtable. During the trip Mel Lazerek, a regional JNF president, was also appointed Manitoba's special representative to Israel for Economic and Community Relations.
Manitoba's ties to this openly racist institution are shocking, but also part of a decades-old pro-Israel policy of the NDP that must be challenged by real progressives.