Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Iggy Pops Off

Calling the bombing of a village in southern Lebanon an Israeli war crime might help put Michael Ignatieff back in the good books of the Said & Chomsky crowd (and certain GTA ridings) as well as letting him show his face around Harvard again should plans not work out here.

But it doesn't help around Thorn Aviv Thornhill, which is why his Toronto campaign co-chair has quit:

Thornhill MP Susan Kadis withdrew her support for Ignatieff on Wednesday, after he accused Israel of committing a “war crime” during its bombardment of Lebanon last summer.

“Michael is an intelligent person and I would think that he would have a better handle on the Middle East given his years of experience on human rights and international law,” Kadis said in a written statement.

Kadis was reacting to Ignatieff’s appearance on a French-language television program Sunday, in which he said that Israel’s bombing of the Lebanese village of Qana was a war crime. Dozens of civilians died in the attack.

Ironically, the controversy erupted as Ignatieff was attempting to explain a previous gaffe about Qana.

Last summer, Ignatieff told the Toronto Star that he was “not losing sleep” over the civilian deaths in Qana — an insensitive remark which he later admitted was a mistake.

In an apparent bid to over-compensate for that initial gaffe, Ignatieff said Sunday that he should have shown more compassion for the Qana victims.

“I was a professor of human rights and I am also a professor of the laws of war and what happened in Qana was a war crime and I should have said that. That’s clear,” he told the popular Radio-Canada program, Tout le monde en parle.

Dr. Ignatieff is learning to trim and shade without shame, whether his own previous words can contradict him or not.

But that he feels the need to do so on this issue is also indicative not only of his own newfound political flexibility, but also of the drift of hard-core anti-Israeli sentiment from the periphery to the centre of the Liberal Party.

Losing a campaign co-chair is not a great loss to the Ignatieff campaign. Every leadership campaign has more chairs than Ikea, to make sure that every interest group in the party is represented.

But it does show that Ignatieff is trying to nail down his left flank before one of the other three amigos marches right around it.

Source: Toronto Star

1 comment:

Neo Conservative said...

Iggy just needs a little "hair of the liberal dog."

It fixed Stephane Dion right up.