Home Daily Brief Canada’s Voting Record on Israel at the UN Should be Commended, not Condemned says HRC in Hill Times

Canada’s Voting Record on Israel at the UN Should be Commended, not Condemned says HRC in Hill Times

by Mike Fegelman
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In a commentary published by the Hill Times on June 16, HRC Research Analyst Jakob Glogauer argues that “Instead of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with bigots and antisemites against the world’s only Jewish state, Canada advocates for freedom, and equality with its UN votes, the majority of the time.”

Read HRC’s latest commentary.

Canada’s voting record on Israel at the UN should be commended, not condemned

Canada’s UN voting record regarding Israel has been based on its democratic freedoms, its efforts to uphold the rule of law, and for its outstanding record of human rights. In no way should Canada not be elected to the UN Security Council (UNSC) simply because of an alleged “anti-Palestinian” voting record, because that’s simply not true.

From prime minister to prime minister, Canada has not recognized any so-called “State of Palestine” as part of its foreign policy.

The generally pro-Israel voting record has nothing to do with race, religion, or creed; rather, it has all to do with similar values and traditions that are common between the two nations.

Time and time again, Canada has ensured the human rights and dignity of the Palestinian people, regardless of its vote at the UN, not because of anti-Israel bias, rather because it is the right thing to do. By staying true to principled values, Canada should be viewed in a positive light for its support of peaceful and democratic causes.

Instead of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with bigots and anti-Semites against the world’s only Jewish state, Canada advocates for freedom, and equality with its UN votes, the majority of the time.

According to the IHRA definition of antisemitism—which Canada adopted last year—denying the right to Jewish self-determination in their ancestral lands (a key concept of Zionist ideology), as well as calling Israel a racist state, is considered anti-Semitic. By voting in support of Israel, Canada actually stands in solidarity with other members of the international community against antisemitism, the world’s oldest form of hatred.

For 14 years, from the last days of Jean Chrétien and the early days of Stephen Harper, Canada always voted “no” on major votes regarding Israel’s mere existence. While this record changed in November of last year, voting in favour of an anti-Israel resolution, the overall record of Canada supporting Israel is principled and, besides this outlier vote that first appeared last year, the majority of Canada’s Israel-related votes at the UN are supportive of Israel and the values it represents.

Canada’s potential seat on the UNSC would bring a diversity of thought and opinion regarding how to treat Middle East policies and allow for meaningful discourse on these topics at such a prominent international body. By sitting on the council, Canada should use the opportunity given to further advance pro-Israeli causes, such as recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, which the United States and Guatemala have already done.

In 1979, then-prime ministerial candidate Joe Clark even promised to move the Canadian embassy to Jerusalem as a sign of Canada’s steadfast support for Israel, though unfortunately, this initiative did not come to fruition.

By acting as an ally of Israel as well as voting in favour of resolutions that recognize Israel’s sovereign rights to Judea and Samaria (West Bank), Canada acknowledges that the Jewish people are in fact indigenous to the land. Canada’s support for the Jewish people’s indigeneity conveys the more-than-3000-year truth that there has been an established Jewish presence in Israel throughout world history.

The simple fact is: Jews are indigenous to Judea.

In supporting Israel’s right to exist from its inception, Canada demonstrates that it’s standing on the right side of democracy and human rights, but also of history. Indeed, Lester B. Pearson supported the Jewish people’s claim to the land, as he was able to comprehend the fact that Zionism is not only an ideology, but rather an element of Judaism that the majority of the faith subscribes to.

During the early stages of Israel’s independence, the highest levels of Canadian leadership clearly saw that standing with Israel, meant standing with the Jewish people, at home and abroad. In the present, whether it be at the UN or at any other international institution, Canada remains a strong friend, ally, and partner of Israel’s, in support of its existence as both a democratic and a Jewish state.

When the UN Partition Plan was introduced and proposed, the land was not given simply to the Zionist movement, it was given to the Jewish people. The new Israeli government then ensured it was truly the Jewish homeland by enacting laws to allow for the right of return for any Jewish person in the diaspora.

Time after time, the Palestinians refuse a state of their own, even with generous concessions from Israel. After 72 years, it is obvious that the international community has lost its patience in Palestinian leadership to negotiate any sort of final agreement. This was evident at the announcement of the Trump peace plan earlier this year, where representatives from Bahrain, Oman, and the UAE attended, signifying that there is in fact support from Israel’s Arab neighbours for everlasting peace.

Canada should use the UNSC candidacy as a venture to spread light on their positive support for Israel, and worldwide Jewry at large. Instead of the U.S. being the only ally of Israel at the table, Canada can join the U.S. in being a second and a much-needed ally of Israel’s.

Ultimately, Canada’s record of defending Israel and the Jewish people from discrimination should be given the utmost respect and dignity, rather than an unnecessary barrage of condemnations, when considering their opportunity to sit on the UN Security Council.

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