Friday, September 23, 2022

My letter to the leader of the federal New Democratic Party of Canada

Dear Mr. Jagmeet Singh, MP,                   September 23, 2022

This is Dr. John Soos, a Vancouver-based clinical psychologist. I have a long-standing personal and professional interest in Palestine - as a human rights advocate and as a psychologist who has been to the West Bank and Gaza on numerous occasions. I have personally seen the devastating impacts of the ongoing grave human rights abuses, including violent, state-sponsored military actions such as night-time raids and abduction of children in the West Bank, and indiscriminate, deadly aerial bombardments in Gaza. In addition to witnessing such atrocities, I have conducted training seminars for my Palestinian mental health colleagues on the treatment of psychological trauma stemming from decades of oppression, military occupation and siege. The reality on the ground is truly heart-breaking. 

Orchestrated Israeli propaganda campaigns are designed to obfuscate this harsh reality and indeed invert reality by claiming that Israel is the victim when in fact invading Israeli troops are violently subjugating the indigenous Palestinian population on a regular basis. All of us who have criticized Israeli policies have had to endure bad-faith, false accusations of antisemitism and I am certain as a result of your principled, courageous statements, you too will be vilified. Please remain steadfast and do not allow yourselves to be manipulated. 

I am just sharing this bit of context to underline the importance of recent NDP policy proposals on Palestine-Israel. They are a welcome development, and I applaud your integrity and compassion completely. I want to therefore thank you for taking this important approach and ask that you stay firm in your commitment to international law, human rights and common decency that have always characterized New Democratic values. 

Specifically, I’m pleased to see that the NDP is calling for increased pressure on the Israeli government to stop its plans to annex Palestinian territory. This is urgently needed considering the rapid expansion of Israel’s settlements on the ground. As you know, land theft and population transfer - in the form of Jewish-only segregated settlements are war crimes and hideous, unacceptable reminders that Apartheid and colonialism is an ongoing reality in Palestine-Israel. 

I’m counting on the NDP to advocate for human rights and international law in Palestine-Israel in Parliament. Occupation, colonialism, and apartheid are crimes against humanity and dismantling injustice is the way to attain peace, health and happiness for all persons residing there.  

Sincerely yours, 

John G Soos, PhD

Vancouver, BC

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