Top Jewish groups in Canada have expressed disappointment after the country voted in favor of an anti-Israel UN General Assembly resolution earlier this week.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), the advocacy arm of the Jewish Federations of Canada, called the move a “betrayal.”
“It contradicted explicit commitments made by liberal candidates during the recent election to maintain the principled opposition to the twenty annual resolutions whose sole purpose is to isolate and delegitimize Israel,” said CIJA co-chairs Joel Reitman and Jeffrey Rosenthal.
Since 2006, both conservative and liberal Canadian governments had rejected the resolution in question, which comes up for a vote annually.
Sponsored by North Korea, Egypt, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe and the Palestinian Authority, the resolution called for “an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967” and the preservation of “territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” It also criticized Israel’s West Bank security barrier.
B’nai Brith Canada slammed Canada’s backing of the measure.
“In our view, the core of the conflict remains the refusal by Palestinian leaders and their supporters to recognize the Jewish People’s indigenous ties to the Land of Israel,” said B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn. “This is what the UN — and Canada — should be condemning.”
“We call on Canada and the rest of the international community to press the Palestinian Authority to return to the negotiating table, and to stop harmful practices such as rewarding terrorists and their families,” he added.
Meryle Kates, executive director of the pro-Israel organization StandWithUs Canada, wrote her group was “stunned and disheartened” that Canada has joined “oppressive regimes like North Korea to condemn Israel at the UN.”
“The resolution harshly criticizes Israel’s security barrier, with no acknowledgement that it was built to stop a brutal wave of suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians during the Second Intifada,” she noted. “It makes no mention of the 450+ rockets fired at Israel earlier this month by the Islamic Jihad terrorist group. It also effectively labels the Western Wall and Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem ‘occupied Palestinian territory,’ denying the history and rights of the Jewish people to the holiest site in Judaism.”
Liberal MK Michael Levitt expressed his concern about the vote on Facebook, arguing that UN anti-Israel resolutions “unfairly singled out Israel of condemnation, ignoring the crimes being perpetrated by many of the resolutions’ sponsors.”
“For example,” he pointed out, “Assad’s Syria was the subject of just one resolution, compared to eight targeting Israel. The situation in Venezuela, where the illegal Maduro regime is starving millions of Venezuelans and causing the largest refugee crisis in our hemisphere’s history, was entirely ignored.”
The sudden shift by Canada raised questions about whether the vote was a response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s declaration on Monday that Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank did not violate international law.
One Canadian government official confirmed that the move was meant to send a message to the US.
Rumors also circulated that Canada’s last-minute switch was meant to curry favor with Arab states as the country vies for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2020.
“This resolution will do nothing to bring Israelis and Palestinians together for peace talks,” Kates said. “All it does is harm the Canadian government’s moral standing at home and abroad.”
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