Reading between the lines of Jagmeet Singh

by humblesmugdotme

I’ve noticed, recently, that Jagmeet Singh’s campaign has started to profess the same confidence the candidate himself expresses; the same kind of confidence that the mainstream media took to when it became known that Singh would run to become the next leader of the NDP. I remember wondering whether Singh would be expected to return favours for such coverage. I like to consider the issue of Palestinian human rights a litmus test, personally, and I was happy to hear Jagmeet oppose a vicious anti-BDS motion some time ago. But it doesn’t feel right that Jagmeet Singh puff pieces keep getting pumped out, because everybody knows how the media reports on those who intend to challenge Israel’s status quo. 

Perhaps Singh isn’t a total fake, but clearly he’s in a position where temptation and power could override his moral integrity. Should one not wonder about his trustworthiness when he received an endorsement from the foreign affairs critic with a history of pandering to the JNF? Or when one of his advisors is apparently some sort of conservative hawk? There’s this defensiveness from Singh supporters that he is not to be compared to Justin Trudeau. As anyone can tell, Trudeau insults the intelligence of his critics and poses for pictures with those others who couldn’t be bothered. Singh, similarly, Tweets solidarity with the people of Gaza on one day, and is endorsed by a pro-Israel ally the next. Meanwhile he rides bikes in unbuttoned shirts and brags about being the only NDP leadership candidate who can draw crowds big enough to win a federal election. Maybe I’ll just spell it out: I think he’s insulting peoples’ intelligence. 

CJPME released surveys by NDP leadership candidates. I lucked out with an early scoop to find that the report only confirms what is blatantly clear about this next leadership election. Angus’s heart is in the right place, but his suggested foreign policy regarding the middle east does not go far enough. Caron, tellingly has been courted by blatant Israel apartheid apologists (and meanwhile testifies that religion and state should be separate). 

And then there’s Singh. For each question, there is a scale of 1-5, from which a candidate could choose to indicate their level of support for the issue or policy. Niki, for example, chose 5 to demonstrate that she believes the Canadian government should “take steps to support BDS.” Meanwhile Jagmeet Singh could not even be bothered to pick a number to show how strongly he felt about the issues. In fact, these are some of his responses to questions asked in the survey….

On whether he supports BDS, Jagmeet Singh concludes: “I am open to considering the use of sanctions in response to human rights violations.”

On sanctioning Israel’s illegal settlements, Jagmeet is “also open to considering a ban” on imported goods. 

On solving the Israel-Palestine conflict, “I would consider supporting the use of targeting sanctions against Israel.”

(Note that these are not all of the questions and answers, and he did write his support for Palestinians’ human rights and cultural development. What I’m trying to get at is, it’s easier said than done, and if he’s serious, he should tell us how he’ll get it done.)

Is being “open to considering” confidence-inducing? In fact, in some comments sections, whoever answered for Jagmeet (because honestly maybe he didn’t even bother to fill it out himself) didn’t even end their sentence with a period. Bad grammar and a disregard for the survey’s request for candidates to pick between 1-5 to demonstrate their feelings towards issues? Is Jagmeet Singh taking Palestine solidarity activists seriously or is he just being used to split the vote on the left–or worse? Look at Niki Ashton–she isn’t “open to considering” anything. She knows who the oppressor is in the Israel-Palestine conflict and she supports BDS. Jagmeet seems to promise that he’ll come through on contentious issues such as this, but here, he’s hesitant to put forth concrete policies. That makes me suspicious, and gives me even more of a reason to vote for the more genuine candidate.