'Defending Israel Key to Fighting Anti-Semitism'

Canada's Multiculturalism Minister says his country defends Israel 'not because it's popular, but because it's the right thing to do.'

Ari Soffer,

Canadian Minister of State (Multiculturalism), Tim Uppal
Canadian Minister of State (Multiculturalism), Tim Uppal
Ari Soffer

Supporting Israel is part and parcel of the fight against anti-Semitism, and other countries should learn from Canada's example in doing so, a Canadian minister has said.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva at the 5th Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, Minister of State for Multiculturalism Tim Uppal said it was "only natural" that the Canadian government should send a senior delegation to the event.

He cited Canada's role as a safe haven for Jews fleeing persecution in the past, including some 40,000 holocaust survivors "who came  to the country, established themselves and really helped helped build the country into what it is today."

Apart from that, Uppal said Canada was immensely proud of its roughly 330,000-strong Jewish community, and its contribution to Canadian life.

"We have a strongand vibrant Jewish community right across the country and it has contributed to Canada in every single way... Economically... but also towards our social fabric and culture itself."

But Uppal, who is the first ever turban-wearing Sikh to serve as a cabinet minister, admitted his government was concerned about anti-Semitism not only globally, but also in its own backyard, citing Bnei Brith reports in a rise in anti-Jewish hate crimes.

He said apart from enforcement, authorities were seeking to tackle anti-Semitism "through education and interaction between different communities."

But he emphasized that in his view, one crucial element of Canada's fight against anti-Semitism is its commitment to defending the State of Israel.

"I think one thing that can serve as an example to everyone is our strong support of Israel," he said.

"We as a country, as a government, do this not because it's popular - we know it's not popular - but because it's the right thing to do," he stated.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's staunch support for Israel is a key factor in that policy, but Uppal stressed it is a position shared by many other ministers, including himself. 

"It comes first from the prime minister, who has a strong belief in supporting Israel, but also so many of us ministers in government who support Israel because it's the right thing to do."

The biennial Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism took place this week in Jerusalem on May 12-14, and was co-sponsored by the Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Affairs ministries.