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On Monday, the House of Commons will vote on an NDP motion to recognize the state of Palestine and to prohibit the sale of arms to Israel. The motion is unlikely to pass. But it speaks to how views on Israel and the Palestinians have hardened in this country since the Hamas atrocities of Oct. 7.

The non-binding motion calls on the federal government to “suspend all trade in military goods and technology with Israel,” and to ”officially recognize the state of Palestine.” It also calls for an immediate ceasefire and the release by Hamas of hostages. The resolution recognizes Israel’s right to exist and advocates for a two-state solution to the conflict.

Any day that a parliamentary resolution calls for a boycott of arms sales to Israel and for recognizing a state of Palestine ”marks it as a dark day,” said Shimon Fogel, chief executive officer of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, in an interview.

He finds it “shocking” that the NDP would recognize Palestine as a state. “Effectively it is a reward to Hamas,” he said, for Hamas governs Gaza.

NDP MP Heather McPherson disagrees. “Hamas is a terrorist organization. Canada should never work with Hamas,” she told me. The motion, she said, simply reflects reality. “How on Earth can Canada claim, and all parties support, the idea of a two-state solution when we don’t recognize that two states exist?”

The NDP caucus, led by Jagmeet Singh, is expected to lend its full support to the motion. The Conservative caucus, led by Pierre Poilievre, will certainly oppose it.

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet has supported Israel’s right to defend itself, but many Bloc MPs are strongly pro-Palestinian. The Bloc, which tends to vote as a block, may support the NDP motion, though this is not certain.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet will almost certainly oppose the motion. But what of the rest of the Liberal caucus?

Liberal actions in the wake of Oct. 7 and in the face of Israel’s war against Hamas have left the party estranged from just about everyone. In trying to walk a balanced line through the middle of this dispute, the government has offended supporters on both sides.

One example is funding for UNRWA, the United Nations agency that assists Palestinian refugees. In January, after Israel accused UNRWA workers of participating in the Oct. 7 attacks, Canada, the United States, the European Union and other countries suspended funding.

But last week, International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen announced Canada would resume funding the agency, which surprised and displeased the Israeli government. Liberal MPs Anthony Housefather and Marco Mendicino opposed lifting the suspension. They and other Liberal MPs can be expected to vote against the NDP motion.

But Salma Zahid, Jenica Atwin and numerous other Liberal MPs are expected to vote in support.

Similarly, the Liberal government supported Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas, but then voted in support of a ceasefire at the UN.

Those actions have confused and upset many within Canada’s Jewish community, but have failed to impress many within the Muslim community. The National Council of Canadian Muslims issued a letter stating that no member of Parliament would be welcome at any mosque during Ramadan unless they supported an immediate ceasefire and boycott of arms sales to Israel. That would likely exclude most Liberal MPs.

The tragic events in Israel and Gaza from October till now are bitterly dividing Canadians in communities, on campuses, and in the House of Commons. There have been attacks on both mosques and synagogues. Many of the chants at protests in support of Palestinians sound, to these ears, blatantly antisemitic. Muslim Canadians say they feel targeted by hate as well.

Ms. McPherson knows that I do not support the NDP resolution, which to me jeopardizes the security of Israel and gives aid and comfort to Hamas.

“This conversation is extraordinarily difficult,” she observed. “There is so much pain within the Jewish and Israeli community. There is so much pain within the Muslim and Palestinian community. This is not an easy conversation and this is not going to be an easy vote for any member of Parliament.”

On this we can both agree.

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