Canadian Jewish groups call on PM: Return to principled voting at UN

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government last year changed course on its voting on UN resolutions entitled "The Question of Palestine."

Elad Benari ,

Justin Trudeau
Justin Trudeau
Reuters

Three Jewish groups in Canada have joined together in formally writing to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, urging the Government of Canada to return to its principled and unequivocal opposition to the annual United Nations General Assembly basket of resolutions entitled "The Question of Palestine."

The letter, co-signed by the chairs of B’nai Brith Canada, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), was delivered to the Prime Minister on Friday, November 13 in advance of the vote this week.

“For nearly 20 years, successive Canadian governments have rejected such toxic and one-sided resolutions, declaring that they projected a distorted narrative of the conflict in the Middle East and were unhelpful in advancing peace,” said Michael Levitt, President and CEO of FSWC.

Michael Mostyn, CEO of B'nai Brith Canada, added, “This annual exercise attacking Israel employs offensive language that does not promote peace and prejudges the outcome of negotiations. Through unbalanced and prejudicial support for Palestinian self-determination, this resolution in particular denies the very same inherent right to the Jewish people. It impairs the legitimate goals and the effectiveness of the United Nations.”

CIJA CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel observed, “The unity expressed in jointly writing to the Prime Minister underscores how deeply this issue resonates within Canada’s Jewish community. We understand that Canada is looking for ways to re-affirm its support for a peaceful resolution that results in two states for two peoples. However, there are far more constructive opportunities for Canada to do so, especially given that support for this resolution perpetuates the distortion and abuse of the United Nations and its agencies.”

The three organizations noted in a statement on Monday that beginning in 2002, Prime Minister Paul Martin and Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew announced the GOC’s intention to review and re-calibrate Canadian votes at the UNGA due to the excessive and unhelpful language used and the singling out of Israel.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Minister John Baird accelerated that process and adopted a policy of uniform rejection of all resolutions in the Question of Palestine resolutions tabled annually at the UN General Assembly.

Under the leadership of Trudeau, the Government of Canada entrenched this policy during his first term in Government from 2015-2019.

Last year, Canada abruptly reversed course on "the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination" during a preliminary vote in the UN committee which deals with human rights issues.

It later voted again in favor of the resolution, which was endorsed by 167 nations. 11 countries abstained, and five voted against it including Israel, the United States, Australia, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia.

Trudeau has expressed support for Israel but has also renewed funding to UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees” that was frozen during Harper’s time in office.

He has called for a probe of Gaza violence while failing to mention Hamas’ role in the violence.



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