Canada-Israel friendship stamp
Canada-Israel friendship stampIsrael news photo: Canada Post

The United Nations has humiliated Canada and rejected its bid for a seat as a non-permanent member on the Security Council, apparently because of Ottawa’s pro-Israel stand, according to Canadian media.

Newspapers in Canada called the rejection a “humiliating” defeat for Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, considered one of Israel’s staunchest supporters. The blow to Canada, which has been a non-permanent Council member until now, reflects the growing dominance of Muslim countries in the international body.  Canada found itself in last place before the last round of General Assembly voting on the membership. Rather than face obvious defeat, Ottawa pulled out of the running.

The non-permanent members, beginning January 1, will include Lebanon, a declared enemy of Israel, Brazil, which is aligned with Iran, and South Africa, where anti-Israel groups flourish. Other members will be Gabon, Bosnia, Nigeria, India, Colombia, Germany and Portugal.

Writing in the Toronto Sun, Peter Worthington commented as follows:

“The United Nations has long been out of control as a dispassionate, objective, credible institution for peace, human rights and justice, so it’s a wonder decent countries still pay attention to it…

“Surely, it makes no sense to put Germany and Portugal on the Security Council — making four European countries represented. Besides, Portugal is a near-economic basket case, threatened with bankruptcy.

“The truth is, Canada’s vigorous, unqualified support for Israel under Harper worked against us at the UN, which regularly condemns Israel for policies it ignores in other countries… While the UN regularly votes in favor of human rights, roughly half of the 192 member states abuse human rights in some form in their own countries.

“As Groucho Marx said in a different context, he wouldn’t want to belong to a club that accepted him. Canada could say the same of the Security Council.”

The Vancouver Sun noted a week before the voting that International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan’s announcement  that Canada would try to strengthen trade ties with Israel might affect the outcome of the United Nations vote, and the analysis apparently was correct.

Van Loan declared that Canada’s ties to Israel were “very deep” and that the friendship between the two countries is “important.”