Canada's Vote at the United Nations
Honourable senators, this past summer, a monumental step forward was taken to advance the peace process in the Middle East. Two Gulf countries, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, opened diplomatic relations with Israel. Other Arab states are expected to follow — if not in the coming months, then in the coming years — including Sudan, which signed a normalization agreement in October.
These developments herald an extremely positive new era of peace and acceptance for the State of Israel. These agreements also signal a new attitude in the region — one in which the political, economic and human rights deprivations of the Palestinian people are understood to be the fault of the stale and stubborn Palestinian leadership.
Unfortunately, the Trudeau government used the situation otherwise. For the second year in a row, it has voted at the UN in favour of a one-sided resolution that supports Palestinian self-determination without acknowledging that Israel has the same right. It is a well-known anti-Israel ritual at the UN that takes place annually, but this is only the second time in 20 years that the Canadian government has voted in favour of the resolution. Both times occurred under the direction of Prime Minister Trudeau.
What is so odd, other than breaking with a 20-year tradition of being fair-minded, is that before proceeding to vote for the resolution, the Trudeau representatives at the United Nations detailed the resolution’s many shortcomings and pointed out that it unfairly targeted Israel. By voting in favour of the anti-Israel resolution, Canada took a side against the United States and Israel, and stood instead with North Korea, Syria, Iran and Venezuela.
As the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs put it:
That decision is not only contradictory, it flies in the face of Canada’s principled opposition to other resolutions in the unbalanced Question of Palestine basket of resolutions that are tabled annually at the U.N. . . . .
Honourable senators, this is not simply the complaint of a Conservative senator about a Liberal policy. Michael Levitt, until very recently, was a Liberal MP in good standing in the Trudeau government. He stepped down on September 1 to become the President and CEO of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies. Here is what he had to say about the Trudeau government’s vote:
We are dismayed by Canada’s decision to undermine its longstanding policy of rejecting one-sided and prejudicial anti-Israel resolutions at the UN. By supporting this resolution, Canada is providing ammunition to those who seek to delegitimize and demonize the State of Israel, which ultimately sets back the prospects for peace in the region.
Honourable senators, I am standing today in support of Michael Levitt of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal, CIJA, B’nai Brith and members of Canada’s Jewish community who are hurt and disappointed by the hostility expressed by our government against Canada’s friend and ally, Israel.