I think this is what is meant by the term "own goal."
"Palestinian activists, alongside non-Arab activists, have worked tirelessly to make opposition to Zionism a central part of the left's political culture," he writes.
A central part of the left's political culture.
I've noticed that, too, although I wouldn't be quite as quick to blame (or praise) Palestinian activists for this state of affairs. Nevertheless, it makes Engler happy. But: "Unfortunately this has not been the case." And this is the important part.
Engler provides several useful examples of just how "unfortunately" the Canadian labour movement and the main institutions of the Canadian Left have behaved with respect to Israel down through history. What his evidence clearly demonstrates is the breadth of the Canadian Left's historic commitment to Israel, and its fervent commitment to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, from the very beginning.
In Engler's view, the NDP doesn't quite deserve full marks yet, owing to NDP MPs who occasionally visit Israel and the party's "distasteful" failure to emphatically and unambiguously collude with the antisemitic agenda underway in the "Durban" process. But what the hell. You can't get all you want, all at once.
And such progress! Nowadays, Canadian Labour Congress president Ken Georgetti can be counted on to scoff when the Taliban are called "brutal insurgents," preferring the ennobling term "Afghan resistance movement" instead. And only a few years ago, the CLC president was Dennis McDermott, who was unafraid to say this sort of thing:
I love the labour movement with a deep and abiding passion, so what I am about to say does not come easy. Anti-Semitism is a very latent disease. It can lie dormant and well concealed for long periods of time. Given a convenient pretext it can suddenly erupt, spewing its malicious pent-up venom in all directions.
The pretext now is the notion that Israel is the aggressor. So out come the poison pens of the resolution writers. Come down on Israel like a ton of bricks and, by association, Jewish people everywhere. Make ridiculous accusations and parallels, describe Israeli policies as being everything from genocide to apartheid. Then on the last line of the resolution, to justify your neutrality and lack of bias, put in a whimper like, 'please stop the suicide bombings.'
Something has changed, and to further make his case Engler might have noted that even the Communist Party of Canada once regarded Israel with affection. Engler could have similarly rejoiced in the ubiquitous evidences that history's dustbin is also shaping up to be the destiny for the Left's historic demand for a just peace between the Jews and the Palestinians, in two states - the old dream of the Socialist League of Palestine for a classless society and a bi-national state for Jews and Arabs in a single federation.
If my meaning isn't obvious by now, let me be clear: What Engler's essay amply demonstrates with conclusive evidence is that this thing that has become a central part of the left's political culture in Canada is wholly antithetical to and outside the central traditions of the Canadian Left and its institutions.
Like I said: Nice boots.